PHIL 323 Imagination and Play
This course analyzes various aspects of imagination that puzzle philosophers and psychologists. It asks what kind of puzzles emerge when, for example, children pretend to be trains or to have a tea party, when we cry while watching a movie (although we know it is just fiction), when we resist imagining that killing babies on the grounds of their gender is good, or when philosophers believe to have disproven materialism by imagining a zombie (a creature that is identical to us except lacking consciousness). Special emphasis is put on pretend play which is considered to present one of the major skills of human mental development: Is children’s fantasy totally unconstrained? Do they know that they are only pretending? What is different in the imaginative capacities of autistic children? What happens when adults try to put themselves into another’s shoes?