Philosophy Colloquium: Hannah Kim
Imagination and the limits of fictionality
The Spring 2022 Philosophy Colloquium Series presents Hannah Kim (Macalester College).
Abstract: Philosophers argue that imagination comes with varying degrees of sensory accompaniment. “Propositional/suppositional imagination” involves imagining that something is the case and lacks sensory aspects while “objectual/enactment imagination” involves imagining a particular object or bringing forth a selected mental state. If this distinction holds, imagining per se doesn’t require mental picturing. And this matters for philosophy of fiction because it shows how a content can be fictional without being objectually imaginable.
Setting aside the related question of whether there’s a special connection between fiction and imagination, I’ll show that skepticism about impossible, empty, and unlimited fiction is really about objectual imagination, which isn’t necessary for fictional truth. Not all fictional content needs to be imaginable in a phenomenologically robust sense. I’ll mostly focus on visual imagining, but the point generalizes to other senses; something’s being fictional doesn’t depend on its being richly imaginable.