On Ruth Byrne, The Rational Imagination

Go Grue!

Recently I have been reading Ruth Byrne’s book The Rational Imagination (2005). The book turned out less relevant to the things I am interested in. To make sure it wasn’t a total waste though, I would like to raise a worry I have with the general argumentative strategy of the book.

The Rational Imagination is really two books in one. The descriptive book summarizes many interesting results of the psychology experiments Byrne and her associates have done on how people’s counterfactual reasoning tends to be influenced. When thinking about how things might be different, people tend to focus on short-term consequences of actions, long-term consequences of inactions, controllable events, and enabling (as opposed to causal) relations. Ch. 3-7 presents interesting empirical results that should be of interest to philosophers interested in modal epistemology. The normative book promises to argue that counterfactual reasoning is rational, but I am not sure she…

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About Kate Thwaite

I love writing , conversation, art, wild flowers, music and air.And books
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