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Imagination and Belief: The Microtheories Model of Hypothetical Thinking

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Beliefs about hypothetical situations need to be 'quarantined' from factual representations, so that our inference processes do not make false conclusions about the real world. Nichols (2004) argued for the existence of a place where these special beliefs are kept: the pretence box. We show that this theory has a number of drawbacks, including its inability to account for simultaneously keeping track of multiple imagined worlds. We offer an explanation that remedies these problems: beliefs of content imagination each belong to some number of microtheories; systems of ideas tagged as being true or false only in certain contexts.

Keywords: aesthetics; beliefs; counterfactual reasoning; hypothetical reasoning; imagination; philosophy of art; philosophy of mind

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Cognitive Science, Carleton University, 2202B Dunton Tower, 1125 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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