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Revisiting Modal Imagination


Ross Jensen

University of Utah, US
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Conceivability arguments are quite common in philosophy. Given the continued prevalence of such arguments, the philosopher would do well to consider whether the inference from conceivability to possibility is in fact justified. In this paper, I reject Alex Byrne’s skeptical arguments against David Chalmers’s account of modal imagination. I suggest that, in regard to mental imagery, Byrne’s account of sensuous imagination is committed to the dubious claim that mental images are sufficient to individuate imaginings, whereas Chalmers’s account is not. On the contrary, in order to be successful, some imaginings must involve or co-occur with further, non-imagistic features or faculties that are necessary for their individuation. I briefly consider some such possible features and conclude that modal imagination as conceived of by Chalmers does not reduce to sensuous imagination. Consequently, the reliability of modal imagination as a guide to possibility is not necessarily undermined by Byrne’s broader critique of sensuous imagination.

How to Cite: Jensen, R., 2014. Revisiting Modal Imagination. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 6(2), pp.9 (61–68). DOI:
Published on 04 Jun 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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