Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

The rational imagination and other possibilities

Ruth M. J. Byrnea1

a1 School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. rmbyrne@tcd.ie http://www.tcd.ie/Psychology/Ruth_Byrne/

Abstract

In this response I discuss some of the key issues raised by the commentators on The Rational Imagination. I consider whether the imaginative creation of alternatives to reality is rational or irrational, and what happens in childhood cognition to enable a rational imagination to develop. I outline how thoughts about causality, counterfactuality, and controllability are intertwined and why some sorts of possibilities are more readily imagined than others. I conclude with a consideration of what the counterfactual imagination is for.

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    Précis of The Rational Imagination: How People Create Alternatives to Reality Ruth M. J. Byrne School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland rmbyrne@tcd.ie http://www.tcd.ie/Psychology/Ruth_Byrne/
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