Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Philosophy

Advisor

Eric Funkhouser

Committee Member

Edward Minar

Second Committee Member

Jack Lyons

Abstract

Theories of mind typically see belief and imagination as distinct cognitive attitudes. While most admit that imagination is belief-like in many ways—e.g. in its capacity to guide action, cause emotional responses, and aid in decision-making processes—the popular view is to separate the two attitudes when constructing a theory of mental architecture. The similarities are not enough for theorists to admit that the two attitudes are indistinct. Imagination, then, is construed as an “analogue” of belief, similar in many ways, but nevertheless fundamentally different. In what follows I examine these methods of distinguishing between belief and imagination. My method of examination will rely greatly on empirical evidence. This evidence, I argue, places serious doubts on common views concerning the relationship between belief and imagination. My positive view of the imagination will ultimately see imagination as a subset of belief. Belief is seen as an attitude connected to behavior, cognition, and phenomenological experience. I contend that imagination should be seen in the same light. Both, I argue, are regarding as true attitudes connected to action, cognition, and experience. To imagine, then, is to have some, but not all, of the features of a believer.

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