Presented by Daniel Nolan (University of Notre Dame)

When invited to imagine various scenarios by being presented with fictions, people frequently resist. This "imaginative resistance" in responding to fictions is often taken to tell us a lot about the limits of conceivability. I will argue that imaginative resistance is often much better explained by unfamiliarity with imagined scenarios than any representational or structurally cognitive limits. With training and experience, much more can be accepted to be true in fictions than you might think, including many scenarios widely agreed to be conceptual impossibilities. If it is true that this wide range of scenarios are conceivable, it becomes correspondingly less plausible that conceivability lines up with possibility. I will argue that using our ability to conceive, or to imaginatively engage with fictions, may play some role in modal epistemology or other epistemological tasks, but a rather limited one, and the keys to our modal epistemology must be sought elsewhere.


Forgan Smith Building (01), St Lucia campus

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