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RESISTING IMAGINATIVE RESISTANCE

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Abstract:

Recently, philosophers have identified certain fictional propositions with which one does not imaginatively engage, even where one is transparently intended by their authors to do so. One approach to explaining this categorizes it as ‘resistance’, that is, as deliberate failure to imagine that the relevant propositions are true; the phenomenon has become generally known (misleadingly) as ‘the puzzle of imaginative resistance’. I argue that this identification is incorrect, and I dismiss several other explanations. I then propose a better one, that in central cases of imaginative failure, the basis for the failure is the contingent incomprehensibility of the relevant propositions. Why the phenomenon is especially commonplace with respect to moral propositions is illuminated along the way.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0031-8094.2005.00419.x

Affiliations: University of Sussex

Publication date: 2005-10-01

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