Imagination, Fiction, Narrative: Contemporary discussions in philosophy of mind and cognitive science
The goal of this seminar is to elucidate how the mind responds to narratives, and in particular fictional narratives. We will discuss various contemporary answers to several inter-related philosophical questions about narratives and our engagement with them. We will also reflect on the bearing of this discussion to methodological issues in history (e.g., the nature of historical explanations) and philosophy of science (e.g., historical explanations in evolutionary biology).
Participating in class. Leading the discussion of two papers or book chapters during the semester.
Here is a sample of the issues to be discussed:
- Why people tell narratives. Engagement with narratives.
- The narrative connection (what makes a series of events into a narrative).
- Fictional characters.
- Fearing fictions.
- Morals in fictions: Imaginative resistance.