Imagination and the distorting power of emotion

Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (8-10):127-139 (2005)
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Abstract

_In real life, emotions can distort practical reasoning, typically in ways that it is_ _difficult to realise at the time, or to envisage and plan for in advance. This fea-_ _ture of real life emotional experience raises difficulties for imagining such expe-_ _riences through centrally imagining, or imagining ‘from the inside’. I argue_ _instead for the important psychological role played by another kind of imagin-_ _ing: imagining from an external perspective. This external perspective can draw_ _on the dramatic irony involved in imagining these typical cases, where one_ _knows outside the scope of the imagining what one does not know as part of the_ _content of what one imagines: namely, that the imagined emotion is distorting_ _one’s reasoning. Moreover, imagining from an external perspective allows one_ _to evaluate the imagined events in a way that imagining from the inside does not._

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Peter Goldie
Manchester

Citations of this work

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