Do Imaginings have a Goal?

Global Philosophy 33 (1):1-17 (2023)
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Abstract

The paper investigates whether imaginative states about propositions can be assessed in terms of fittingness (also known as correctness, appropriateness, aptness). After characterizing propositional imaginings and explaining the idea of fittingness, I present some considerations in favour of the no conditions view: imagining seems to be the sort of action that cannot be done unfittingly, and imaginings have no external cognitive nor conative goals in light of which they could be unfitting. I then examine the local conditions view, that there can be fittingness conditions on imaginings, but that these are inherited from the mental projects in which imaginings can play a role. Given that there are virtues of the imagination such as creativity and spontaneity, and given that imaginings are subject to purposive mechanisms, and given that there are cases in which it is unfitting to fail to imagine, I endorse the general conditions view, on which imaginings have a goal, and therefore fittingness conditions, even outside the context of mental projects. I then examine 4 versions of the general conditions view and argue that imaginings aim to make contents available to mental projects.

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Marcus Hunt
Concordia University Chicago

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