Field Trips for Philosophers?

A post by Saam Trivedi.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination - Albert Einstein

As is well-known, unlike our colleagues in the sciences, social sciences, and other fields, philosophers do not often take field trips for their research.  Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if they could go regularly to the San Francisco Bay area or Paris or Greece or China, say?  Patagonia or the Kalahari, anyone?  The Himalayas, maybe?  In what follows, I will indeed propose some field trips for philosophers, though I have something much humbler in mind than the exciting destinations mentioned above. 

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Holiday Hiatus

The Junkyard will be on hiatus for the next month.  We will return in mid-January with new weekly postings.  We have an exciting lineup for 2018, with posts from Saam Trivedi, Dennis Sepper, Heidi Maibom, Samuel Kampa, Emine Hande Tuna, James Young, Jennifer McMahon, Anna Abraham, Jennifer Gosetti-Ferencei, Claudia Passos, Dan Cavedon-Taylor, Daniel Dor, Michela Summa, Julia Jansen, Kathleen Stock, Shannon Spaulding, Natalie Fletcher, Melvin Chen, Talia Morag, Thomas Szanto, and many more.

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The imaginarium of politics

A post by Dimitria Electra Gatzia and Brit Brogaard.

In Terry Gilliam’s film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Doctor Parnassus and his ragtag crew travel as sideshow performers luring audience members up on stage and through a magical mirror into the imaginarium, where Doctor Parnassus guides their imagination. Once there, they are presented with a choice between difficult and transient perseverance and “the fabled bliss of ignorance,”[1] mirroring Doctor Parnassus’ own wager with the devil, first winning what appears to be alluring immortality by attracting twelve disciples, and later regaining his covetable youth and beauty in exchange for his daughter’s soul. Deeply infatuated with a young woman Doctor Parnassus chooses youth in exchange for his daughter’s soul but later regrets and engages in yet another wager with the devil: his daughter’s soul in exchange for the souls of five strangers. When gullible spectators choose blissful ignorance rather than difficult and heartbreaking perseverance Doctor Parnassus captures their soul. Doctor Parnassus regretted his rash choices of what initially appeared to be unrivaled among alternatives. But is that the fate for all of us? Can we ever choose and not regret? How do we make choices when their real outcome is only disclosed once the choice has already been made?

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Legal Imagination

A post by Simon Stern.

Just as, according to some realtors, aluminum siding covers a multitude of sins, so “the legal imagination” has been invoked to cover a variety of proposals for bringing imaginative resources to bear on the practices of judges, lawyers, and litigants—involving, for example, the need for judges to cultivate their empathetic capacities; the skill of thinking outside the doctrinal box to develop novel litigation theories and strategies; the adaptation, for legal use, of creative techniques recruited from other intellectual and artistic endeavors; and the importance, for lawyers, of using literature to understand people from other backgrounds, so as to become more proficient in effectively representing clients from all walks of life.

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Moral Imagination and the Problem of Reception

A post by Mavis Biss.

Theorists interested in moral innovation have drawn attention to the ways in which agents, individually or collectively, may imaginatively modify conventionalized moral understandings to conceptualize their experience more accurately and reconceive their possibilities for moral action. Yet the actions of morally innovative agents may be widely interpreted as moral failures, and because shared intelligibility is tightly linked to moral justification, it seems that failed reception may undermine the moral innovator’s attempts to act virtuously. If, as some have argued, social uptake is partially constitutive of moral success, then failed reception entails moral failure. In contrast, one might hold that social uptake is crucial for psychological stability and moral assurance, but cannot determine the meaning or moral content of an agent’s action. I call the problem of explaining the relationship between social recognition and moral action “the problem of reception.” It is a problem for any moral theory that recognizes a role for moral imagination, understood not as a form of moral perception but rather as the capacity to revise or extend the criteria for expressing moral virtue in action.

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Imagination, Transparency, and Attention

A post by Cain Todd.

It seems plausible to think that visual experiences are in some way transparent. There are various ways of articulating the claim, and various theoretical motivations for defending it. But the basic idea is that, when introspecting our visual experiences, reflecting on what it is like to have them, our descriptions primarily – or perhaps solely – report on the objects and properties that those experiences are experiences of. In other words, few or no properties intrinsic to the experiences themselves are revealed to us, and we are only aware of their representational content.

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Vision and Visual Imagery

A post by Dominic Gregory.

One idea that pops up every now and again, in philosophical thinking about perception, is that the imagination plays a part in ordinary vision. Here is a natural starting-point for that idea: we often experience the things that we see as having properties that we don’t literally see to be instantiated.

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Desire, Imagination, and the Guise of the Good

A post by Uku Tooming.

There is a conception of desire, call it the Guise of the Good view (GG), according to which having a desire involves representing its content as good or valuable. For instance, when I want to eat ice cream, I treat the prospect of eating ice cream as good in some sense. I here identify the content of desire with its satisfaction condition and take the latter to be a state of affairs which would obtain when the desire were satisfied. GG can then be rephrased as a caim that having a desire involves representing its satisfaction as good. This view has a respectable philosophical ancestry, going back at least to Plato, and it still has its proponents today.

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Is imagining from the inside just what you imagined?

A post by Margherita Arcangeli.

A key notion in many discussions on imagination is that of imagining something “from the inside”. Wollheim (1974) underlined that such a notion is so abused in philosophy, that one might not trust it. Although imagining from the inside can be intuitively interpreted as imagining involving a “point of view” or perspective within the imaginative scene, this notion deserves much more attention, since it can yield different and more technical meanings. The main goal of this post is precisely to rehabilitate this notion by disentangling three meanings which, I think, often overlap, and are even confused in philosophical debates.

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Constructive Imagination

A post by Sofia Ortiz-Hinojosa.

Anne T. King is an interior designer. She has a variety of specialized skills and kinds of knowledge which make her good at her job. She has knowledge of the prices and various features of building materials, home decor, and furniture. She is familiar with the locations of good shops for home goods. She has the contact information of reliable craftsmen. Anne also possesses an aesthetic sense for color and composition, business acumen, people skills, and, most importantly, the capacity we call a “good imagination”.

What does her “good imagination” consist in?

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Book Symposium: Langkau Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary From Julia Langkau: Extreme Intentionalism and Testimony-In-Fiction

In the last part of chapter 3, Stock applies her view, extreme intentionalism (the thesis that fictional content is determined by the author’s intentions), to the question of how true beliefs we acquire through reading fiction can be justified.

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Book Symposium: Engisch Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary from Patrik Engisch: If Only Imagine...

The focus of my commentary is Stock’s account of the nature of fiction, as developed in Chapter 5 of Only Imagine. To begin with, I take Stock’s account as fitting with a popular line of thought in contemporary philosophy of fiction that claims that in order for one to competently engage with a fiction one should meet the normative demand, unique to fiction, that its content be imagined. I shall call this the Normative View (NV).

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Book Symposium: Arcangeli Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary from Margherita Arcangeli: Only Suppose

I am very happy to have had the chance to take a critical look at Kathleen Stock’s just-published book Only Imagine. During the Symposium I focused on the last chapter of the book, which touches on topics that are at the centre of my philosophical interests. In “Back to the Imagination”, Stock offers a new account of supposition. In my commentary I will consider how her account relates to other views about supposition.

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Book Symposium: Klauk Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary from Tobias Klauk: Stock on Fiction and Imagining

Kathleen Stock has written an engaging and thoroughly interesting book, which was a joy to read and to discuss. In this commentary, I shall concentrate upon chapter five on the notion of fiction.

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Book Symposium: Klenner Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary from Niels Klenner: Moderating Extreme Intentionalism

Kathleen Stock’s extreme intentionalism takes the authorial intention to be both necessary and sufficient for a proposition to be true in fiction. This is what makes her view extreme. Should we follow Stock in being extreme?

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Book Symposium: Introduction from Kathleen Stock

This week at The Junkyard, we host a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  Today we begin with an introduction from Kathleen, followed by the first commentary and reply.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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In my book Only Imagine, I start with a fairly basic question, the answering of which, I argue, has many implications: for the nature of fiction, imagination, and more besides. This is: how can we best characterise the practice of interpreting what happens in the plot of a novel or story (or what is “fictionally true” in that work, as it’s sometimes called)?

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The Homogeneity of the Imagination

A post by Luke Roelofs.

In ‘The Heterogeneity of the Imagination’, Amy Kind argues that no single mental faculty can do all the work imagination has been assigned by philosophers. I can’t address every point Kind makes, but I’ll sketch a case for the homogeneity of the ‘imagination’ appealed to in the four contexts she focuses on.

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No introspection please!

A post by Bence Nanay.

What do philosophers do when they think about imagination? You may think they close their eyes, visualize an apple and then try to think hard about what they experience when they do so. Well, some (many?) philosophers of imagination do in fact do this at least to establish some of their premises. The aim of this piece is to argue that they really should not!

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Implicit Imaginative Resistance?

A post by Eric Peterson.

Following Liao (2016), we can say that imaginative resistance is roughly a phenomenon where otherwise competent imaginers fail to comply with a request to imagine some proposition.  In the literature on imaginative resistance, philosophers tend to focus on particular propositions that are purported to be a cause of resistance. These can be referred to as “puzzling propositions”.  Examples of these puzzling propositions are the often cited “Giselda” (Walton 1994) or the last sentence of Weatherson’s (2004) “Death on a Freeway.”  In this short blog post, I want to explore a different kind of puzzling propositions—implied puzzling propositions.

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