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Journal of Semantics 4: 209-222



This paper employs possible worlds semantics to develop a systematic framework for studying
the syntax and the semantics of imagination sentences. Following Hintikka's treatment of
prepositional attitudes like knowledge and perception, the propositional construction "a imagines that p " is taken as the basic form to which other sentences (such as "a imagines b", "a
imagines an F", "a imagines b as an F") are reduced through quantifiers ranging over 'world
lines', i.e., functions picking out individuals from the relevant possible worlds or scenes. This
intensional analysis is compared and contrasted with Barwise and Perry's situation semantics. It
is also suggested that the logic of imagination helps us to understand some peculiarities of
fictional discourse. For example, acts of imagination can be directed towards fictional entities
(e.g. Donald Duck, Anna Karenina) as well as real ones. Further, fictional texts, like novels, can
be thought of as occurring within the scope of an imagination operator, relative to the author or
the reader. The author of a fictional text T can be viewed as performing an illocutionary act of
recommendation of the form: Let us imagine that T!

Imagination is needed both in the creation and the understanding of fictional

texts. For Romantic poets like Poe and Baudelaire, imagination was indeed
the 'Queen of the faculties'.* It is no wonder then that imagining as a mental
activity has been discussed extensively within philosophy, psychology, and
aesthetics. Logicians have failed to make a contribution in this field, however. In this paper, I argue that a logic of imagination can be developed as a
special case of Hintikka's semantics for propositional attitudes. 1 I also
suggest that this logic helps us to understand some characteristics and
peculiarities of fictional discourse.

A logic of imagination should not be understood as a logic-in-use, i.e., as a

system of rules which our mind ought to follow in imagining. Rather it is a
systematic framework for studying the syntax and the semantics of sentences
containing some form of the term "imagine" - in analogy with the so-called
logic of perception which studies sentences constructed with the verbs "to
see" or "to perceive" (cf. Hintikka 1969, 1975; Niiniluoto 1979, 1982).
The logic of imagination in this sense is primarily a tool for understanding

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To treat imagination as a propositional attitude means that statements of the


a imagines that p,

where "a" is an individual name and " p " is a declarative sentence, are taken
to be the basic expressions for the logic of imagination. Other similar attitudes include knowledge, belief, and perception:
K a p 'a knows that p'
B a p 'a believes that p'
S a p 'a sees that p'
Let us write I a p for the statement (1).
Hintikka's general strategy is to view statements of the form

a (p's that p

as expressing a relation between the person a and the proposition ||p||

expressed by the sentence p. More precisely, let ^w<p be the class of all
possible worlds compatible with what a (p's in world w. This class may be said
to include vhe "(p-worlds" of a (relative to a's cp-ing in w). Let||p|| be the class
of possible worlds in which p is true. Then (2) is true in world w if and only if

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natural language. It can hardly be expected to solve any philosophical

disputes about the true nature of imagining or any factual disagreements
about the psychological laws that imagination in fact satisfies. Still, as a
vehicle for conceptual analysis it may enhance our understanding of the
characteristics of imagination. In this respect, it is comparable to the
phenomenology of imagination (cf. Sartre 1972; Casey 1976) which attempts
to achieve the same goal by a different method.
A phenomenologist tries to give a descriptive account of imagination by
introspectively studying selected examples of "intentional" acts of imagining, while a logician is primarily analysing language, i.e., the structure and
the meaning of linguistic expressions with the word "imagine". In spite of this
methodological difference, there is a close parallelism between the phenomenology and the logic of imagination. Again a similar situation obtains in the
case of perception (cf. Hintikka 1975; Smith and Mclntyre 1982; Dreyfus
1982). The intentionality of the acts of imagination is reflected on the level of
language as the intensionality of the descriptions of imagination. The different ways in which an act of imagination can be directed towards an object can
also be nicely captured in the logic of imagination.




It is an immediate consequence of the condition (3) that the logic for I a

satisfies the principles

I a (ADB) D (I a ADI a B)
I a (A AB) = (I a A AlaB)
I a T, if T is a tautology

While (11) and (12) seem quite natural, (13) is clearly problematic. Is it really
true to say of each agent a that he or she imagines that Bacon is Shakespeare
or Bacon is not Shakespeare? Perhaps our agent a has not ever even heard
about these two remarkable historical characters. How could they then play
any role in his or her imagination?
These questions are related to the famous problem of'logical omniscience'
in epistemic logic: K a T holds for every tautology T. Hintikka (1975) and
Rantala (1982) have shown how to avoid this undesirable consequence of (3).
Thus, Rantala's technique of impossible worlds could be adapted to the logic
of I a , so that we get rid of (13).
The problem of logical omniscience is one of the motivations for the
situation semantics that Barwise and Perry have developed as an alternative to

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i.e., p is true in all the <p-worlds in ^ W )(p .

It is essential to this analysis of propositional attitudes that the semantic
interpretation of the clause " p " cannot be fixed through ordinary conventions independently of the context. Indeed, it may depend on 'pragmatic'
factors - such as the agent a, the attitude <p, and the way in which the
individuals in " p " are presented to a (cf. Saarinen, 1982).
In particular, this means that proper names occurring in " p " do not
function as rigid designators in Kripke's sense. Suppose, for example, that my
friend Ingmar imagines counterfactually that William Shakespeare is Francis
Bacon. Then, by (3), the non-empty class of his imaginary worlds is a subset
of the class of possible worlds in which the names "William Shakespeare"
and "Francis Bacon" have the same reference. However, if proper names
were rigid, the latter class would be empty, since these names would then have
distinct referents in all possible worlds.
It also follows that a sentence with the surface form "a imagines that b is F "
cannot always be adequately formalized simply by I a F(b). In order to distinguish different ways in which b is 'presented' to a, or a's act of imagining is
'directed' to b, we shall need Hintikka's physical quantifier (Ex) and
perspectival quantifier (Hx) which quantify from outside into the context
governed by the intensional operator I a . (See Section 5 below.)

the possible worlds semantics of propositional attitudes (see Barwise 1981;
Barwise and Perry 1981). Barwise's basic idea is to analyse perception sentences with embedded 'naked infinitives' like "Esa saw Ingmar run". Let
NI(p) be the naked infinitive form of sentence p. For example. NI(p) is
"Ingmar run", when p is "Ingmar runs". Then Barwise's suggestion is as
"a sees NI(p)" is true in world w if there is a scene s in w such that a
sees s and s supports the truth of p.

A scene s in world w is 'a visually perceived situation' in w; a situation in w is a

partial submodel of w, i.e., a configuration of certain objects of w having
properties and relations to each other and located in space and time. A
situation s supports the truth of only those sentences p whose truth value is
determined by the perceived scene.
For Barwise, seeing a scene is an extensional relation between a perceiver
and a part of the world. Thus, his definition (4) implies

a sees NI(p) D p.

In Hintikka's approach, seeing is an intensional operator S a which is followed by a description of the propositional content of a's perception. Therefore,
the force of Sap is something like "a seems to see that p" or "It appears
visually to a that p", so that the principle


is not valid. For this reason, Hintikka's system is able to treat phenomena
related to the intentionality of perception - such as visual illusions and
hallucinations (cf. Niiniluoto 1979, 1982). Moreover, if we allow perspectival
quantification over events, then the Hintikka-type analysis can also give an
adequate treatment of the extensional naked infinitive perception reports.
(Cf. Niiniluoto 1982; Saarinen 1983; Vlach 1983; and Higginbotham 1983.)
Barwise's strategy (4) does not work for imagination sentences. If there
were naked infinitive imagination reports in English (such as "John imagined
Mary run"), then an analysis along the lines of (4) would lead to the undesirable result

a imagines NI(p) D p.

(Cf. Higginbotham 1983:120.) It is clear that imagination should not satisfy

the principle

Iap D p.

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To treat imagination within situation semantics, it should not be assumed

that imagined scenes are parts of the world - at least not parts of the world
external to the mind of the imaginer. However, if we allowed 'imaginary
scenes' that have a real mental existence, the relation between the imaginer
and his scenes would not be extensional - as the analysis of type (4) requires.
Barwise and Perry, in Situations and Attitudes (1983), outline a general
theory of attitudes, where 'abstract situations' are used for the 'indirect
classification' of psychological states. As this theory is intended to be applicable to such attitudes as belief, perhaps it works also for the case of imagination. It seems, however, that this approach would not eliminate the problems
that arise from the intentionality of imagination - and that the extensional
application of situation semantics has to be complemented with ideas from
possible worlds semantics.
These points can be illustrated by an example. It also serves to suggest a
somewhat modified possible worlds analysis of imagination which shares
with situation semantics the virtue that the principle (13) does not hold.
Assume I imagine that Ingmar is dancing with a blond girl. According to a
simple-minded analysis (criticized by Ryle 1949), this means that I am as it
were 'looking with my mind's eye' at a picture or a 'mental image' of Ingmar
with a blondie - and perhaps even hearing a tune 'with my mind's ear'. In the
terms of situation semantics, this might perhaps be expressed by saying that
imagining amounts to seeing a mentally existing situation - or an imaginary
configuration of some objects with some properties and relations.
Apart from the difficulties with the postulation of'my mind's eye', the idea
of a movie theatre inside my head showing mental pictures suggests a too
passive model of imagination: we are not the observers of our mental images,
but we create and recreate them through our acts of imagining. Whether these
acts are sensuous or nonsensuous (cf. Casey 1977:43), they are conceptual
relative to our 'language of thought'.
When we try to describe the content of an act of imagining, we notice that
our 'mental images' are more or less unspecific in many of their relevant
features. Is Ingmar wearing a dark suit or a tail-coat? Who is the blond girl?
Are they dancing a waltz or a tango? What is the time and place of this scene?
How many other persons are there in the dim margin area of my picture?
Hence, to describe a picture with some unspecific features is equivalent to
giving a systematic list of all complete alternatives that this picture allows
(Ingmar-in-tail-coat-with-Marilyn-Moroe-dancing-waltz-in-this-room etc.)
These complete alternatives correspond to the 'possible worlds' in t h e c l a s s ^ /
defined in Section 2.
It is instructive to compare this situation to the case where I actually see that
Ingmar isdancingwithablondgirl.Ifldon'tseeclearlywhatlngmariswearing.I
canobserve it by going closerto him. My expectations may thereby getfulfilled,
and my anticipations may turn out to be correct or incorrect. In the case of
imagination these concepts do not make sense (cf. Casey 1977:168). Still, if my
image of Ingmar is indefinite with respect to his suit, it is up to me to decide this
matter by continuingand sharpening my imaginative activity.

It is natural to assume that the complete alternatives in the classes.4 w 5 and
/4 j -corresponding to the examples of seeing Ingmarand imagining Ingmar,
respectively - are described in the same conceptual framework (cf. Casey
1977:134). Moreover, there is no reason to regard thesealternativesascomplete
possible worlds where each fact is determined (i.e., each descriptive sentence is
either true or false). For example, it is entirely irrelevant to my imagination
about Ingmar's dance whether Ronald Reagan is the President of the United
States or not. We may thus assume that these alternatives are what Hintikka
(1975,1983) calls small worlds or what Barwise calls situation-types. Condition
(3) can then be replaced by the requirement

Each alternative in.4 w j supports the truth of p.

This definition licences inferences like

Esa imagines that Ingmar is dancing with a blond girl.
.'. Esa imagines that Ingmar is dancing.
but blocks inferences like
Esa imagines that Ingmar is dancing.
.'. Esa imagines that Ingmar is dancing or the moon is cheese.


It was noted above that imagination should not satisfy the success condition

I a ADA.

If I imagine that I am Francis Bacon, it does not follow that I am Francis Bacon.
Indeed, one might even suggest an an//-5MccejJcondition for I a :


For example, in L'Imaginaire (1940) Sartre claims that there is an intimate

connection between imagination and nothingness:

"But if I imagine Peteras he might beatthismomentinBerlin-orsimplyPeteras

he exists at this moment (and not as he was yesterday on leaving me), I graspan
object which is not at all given to me or which is given to me simply as being
beyond reach. There I grasp nothing, that is, I posit nothingness. In thissense the
imaginative consciousness of Peter in Berlin(what is hedoingat this moment? I
imagine he is walkingin the Kurfurstendamm,etc.),isverymuchclosertothat of
the centaur (whose complete non-existence I proclaim), than therecollectionof

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Peter ashewasthedayheleft. What iscommonbetweenPeterasanimageandthe
centaur as an image is that they are two aspects of Nothingness." (Sartre



But is it possible to imagine a logical contradiction? If I imagine that Ingmar is

my field of imagination. This is a violation of the laws of nature (the same
physical individual appears in two locations at the same time), but it is not a
logical contradiction. And who haseverbeenabletoimaginearoundsquare? As
some people have thought that they can do this, it is possible to imagine thatone
imagines a contradiction. But still it seems clear that the principle


where 0 is the operator of logicalpossibility, should be accepted. With (12), (17)

entails the principle



Let us go back to the example where Esa imagines that Ingmar is dancing with a
blond girl. Then a well-defined physical individual, Ingmar, enters Esa's
imaginary worlds. This can be expressed by HinUkka'sphysicalquantifier(Ex)
as follows
(ExJIg^ (x = Ingmar & x dances).
Here the variable x ranges over 'physical world-lines', i.e., functions that pick
out from each imaginary world the same, 'physically cross-identified' indivi-

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However, on closer analysis it seems that this passage is not intended to support
principle (15) at all. We may agree with Sartre that his image of Peter in Berlin is
not 'given' to him in the same way ashisperceptionsandmemoriesof Peter-and
this image is probably wrong. But, it seems to me, it would be too much to claim
that this imagemust be wrong: it may happenafterallthatPeterinfactiswalking
in the Kurfurstendamm when his friend Jean-Paul is imagining that he is doing
so. Therefore, (15) as a general principle should be rejected.
It is certainly possible to imagine situations and courses of events which are
physically impossible. This is shown both by surrealist novels and films and by
science Fiction, which play with effects that arisefrom violationsof natural laws.
If OP"1 is the operator of physicalpossibility, then the following principle is not


lond girl & y dances with Ingmar).

(ExX 3y)lEsa (x = Ingmar & y is a blondie & x dances with y).
In the logic of perception, the sentence "a sees b" with a direct object
construction can be formalized in two radically different ways:


Here (10) says that something visually appears to a and a identifies it as b. For
example, "Macbeth sees the ghost of Duncan" has the form (10). A visual
illusion, where aseesb asc, can beexpressed as follows:


Thus,(ll)saysineffect that aseesbasexisting.butitdoesnottellhowaidentifies

what he sees. As Hintikka (1975) requires that a's perspectival world-linecanbe
continued toanindividualbintheactualworldonly if thereisacausalchainfrom
b to a's perception, it is natural to read (11) as "a looks atb"(cf.Niiniluoto 1979,
The counterparts of (10),(11), and (12) in the logic of imagination are






Here (13) and (15) are special cases of the formulas





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dual. On the other hand, the personal identity of the blond girl is unspecific- in
function that picks out from each alternative the blond girl in that world is a
'perspectival world-line'-it cross-identifies thosegirlswhoplaythesamerolein
Esa's field of imagination as the dancing partner of Ingmar. (Similarly,
perspectival world-lines in the case of perception identify the individuals who
play the same role in the perceiver's visual space.) If (Hx) is the perspectival
quantifier which ranges over perspectival world-lines, then we can write

where F(x) is a formula with x as a free variable.
To illustrate the expressive power of these formulas, let us first consider
Sartre's favourite example, where he imagines that Peter is walking on the
streets of Berlin. According to Sartre, perceiving Peter and imagining Peter
are two different ways in which our consciousness can be related or directed
to the same object:

Thus, Sartre imagines of Peter that he is walking in Berlin. Similarly, Esa

imagines of Ingmar that he is dancing. These sentences can be formalized by
(17) - which therefore has the reading

a imagines of b that he is an F

Hence, (14) can be read by


a imagines of b something

(14)** **a is imagining about b
The term " b " in formulas (14) and (17) is outside the scope of the operator I a ,
and its occurence is therefore referentially transparent. It also follows from
these formulas that (Hx)(x=b), i.e., b exists in the actual world.
The analogy with the logic of perception is not complete, however, since
the cross-identification between the actual world and the imaginary worlds
need not take place through causality. This is a crucially important feature of
imagination - a point that Sartre emphasizes in his example discussed above.
If I imagine Ingmar as Ingmar, i.e., as a person with his familiar appearance, then my act is of course causally related to my earlier perceptions and
memories about him, but not necessarily to his present existence. Further,
imagination is 'free' in the sense that I can also imagine what some existing
person whom I have never even seen looks like. What is more, I can imagine
Ingmar as someone else. This situation is expressed by formula (15) when
bA;, which thus can be read by

*a imagines b as c.

Here " c " occurs within the scope of I a , and hence in a referentially opaque
Assume, for example, that I am following Ingmar's lecture, and I amuse

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"The imaginative consciousness I have of Peter is not a consciousness of the image of

Peter: Peter is directly reached; my attention is not directed on an image, but on an
object." (Sartre 1972:5.)


(Hx)(3y)(x=y=the doll & Sa(x is a doll) & I a (x is Marilyn)).

If I imagine a doll as Marilyn, then I also imagine Marilyn in the sense of
formula (13): there is a perspectival world-line which picks out Marilyn from
my imaginary worlds. Thus, (13) and (16) have the natural readings

*a imagines b.


*a imagines an F.

Here 'b' occurs in a referentially opaque position. Unlike (14) and (15),
formulas (13) and (16) do not entail that b exists. They thus cover two kinds of
cases: imagining a thing or person which also has real existence (Ingmar,
Marilyn, a horse, etc.), and imagining something 'purely imaginary' or
fictitious (the present king of France, Anna Karenina, a unicorn, etc.).
Formulas (13) - (17) illustrate different meanings that the direct object
construction "a imagines b" may have. It is important to note their common
feature: they are all defined in terms of the operator I a which takes propositional that-clauses. Hence, what Casey (1976) calls imaging is a special case of

Sartre points out that "cases may be cited in which I produce an image of an
object which has no real existence outside of myself. But, he adds, the
chimera does not exist even "as an image" (Sartre 1972:5). On the other hand,
Brentano would say that an imagined unicorn - towards which our act of
imagining is "directed" - had "intentional inexistence." In his analysis of a
"naive hallucination", where Macbeth sees a dagger before him and believes
what he sees, Smith (1983) comes to the conclusion that Macbeth's perception has "no object". More precisely, he rejects the alternatives that the
objects of naive hallucinations could be existent objects, nonexistent objects,
objects in possible worlds, sense-data, intentional objects, or objects that
exist only insofar as they are perceived.

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myself by imagining that he is Alfred Tarski. To do this, I need not have any
picture of Tarski in my mind - 1 just stretch my imagination to think that the
lecturer who looks like Ingmar is Tarski. Then it is true to say that I
non-sensuously imagine Ingmar as Tarski. There is no causal connection
between Ingmar and my perspectival world-line in this case.
On the other hand, suppose I sensuously imagine a doll as Marilyn Monroe. In this case, there is a causal connection between my earlier perceptions
and memories of Marilyn and my image of Marilyn, but not between the doll
and rrjy image. There is also an interesting overlap of my fields of perception
and imagination: when I see the doll as a doll, but imagine that it is Marilyn,
we have the following situation



One interesting aspect of imagination has so far been ignored in our

discussion. Consider some fictional character, like Walt Disney's Donald
Duck or Anna Karenina in Tolstoy's novel. While it is never possible for me
to perceive Donald Duck (I can only see pictures and films about him), I can
imagine various things about him - e.g., that he enters this room now.
Similarly, I cannot see Anna Karenina, but I can imagine what she looks like.
In such cases, Donald and Anna not only play a role in my imaginary worlds
in the sense of formula (13), but I also seem to be able to imagine of them
something in the sense of formula (17). In other words, it seems that acts of
imagination can be directed towards fictional entities as well as real ones.
This idea leads us directly to the notorious problems within the semantics
of fictional terms. Assume I imagine of Anna Karenina that she has green
eyes. This cannot be formalized by a sentence of the form (17), i.e., by

(Hx)(x=Anna Karenina & I a (x has green eyes))

since (18) entails that Anna Karenina exists in the actual world.
We also stumble on the problem of 'intentional identity' (cf. Saarinen
1979): if you and I are both imagining something about Donald Duck, in
what sense are our acts directed toward the same object? As Donald does not
exist in the actual world, this cannot be formalized by

(3xXHyXx=y=Donald Duck & I a (x is ...) & I a (y is ...)).

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Smith attributes to Hintikka the view that Macbeth's hallucination is

"intentionally related to at most one object in each of the many possible
worlds compatible with what is presented in the experience". But instead of
saying that a perception is "directed toward something in each world compatible with what the subject sees", Hintikka (1969,1975) himself has repeatedly argued that the proper counterparts of 'sense-data', as the objects of
perception, are the perceptual world-lines? These 'entities' are intensional in
the sense that they do not belong to one world - to the actual world or to any
single possible world. There is thus an important difference between saying
that perception is multiply directed to objects in several possible worlds
(Smith's interpretation) and that perception is directed to a world-line. There
are quantifiers that range over world-lines, but still these lines exist nowhere'.
The status of 'mental images' in the logic of imagination is similar to
Hintikka's reconstruction of sense data in the logic of perception. To assume
that such intensional entities exist in one world would be just as objectionable
(cf. Ryle 1949, Ch. VIII) as the corresponding existence assumption about
sense data.



Let us imagine that T!

As a recommendation, (20) is neither true nor false; and as an imagination

statement it does not commit a to defending the truth of T.
This analysis is compatible with the possibility that a nevertheless intends
to convey some interesting truths by his story: even if the actual world is not a
model of T, the text T may have logical consequences p which are actually
true. These truths need not even be consciously thought by a - he may only
have an 'intuition' that the story T entails something vitally important about
the world or about human nature. Thus, in spite of the facts "a imagines that
T" and "T entails p", it need not be the case that "a imagines that p". This
follows from our treatment (9) of imagination statements.
In writing the text T, the author attempts to describe the propositional
content of his imagination. In terms of Section 2, this means that he should

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It seems to me that we have to make a distinction between private and

public fictional entities. If I now create in my mind some fancy character, no
one is able to refer to it or to direct any mental acts towards it. But I can make
this private 'entity' public by giving a name to it, by describing or drawing it,
and by telling or writing stories about it. This is precisely what Tolstoy did
with Anna Karenina and Disney with Donald Duck. After they published
their descriptions of Anna and Donald, other people could then refer to these
fictional creatures.
Hence, two persons can think different thoughts about the same Donald
Duck, but only in the sense that their mental acts are causally related to the
same public descriptions and drawings of Donald. And it is only through
these Donald-descriptions in the actual world that my perspectival Donaldworld-line can be linked with Disney's own Donald-world-line.
These remarks suggest the following treatment of fictional discourse. Let a
be the author of a. fictional text T (such as a short story, a novel, or a play),
where T is conceived as a conjunctive sequence of sentences. For simplicity,
we assume that Tdoes not contain any non-fictional sentences, i.e., assertions
which do not belong to the fictional story of T. Then in publishing the text T
its author certainly is not asserting that T is true in the actual world. John
Searle (1979) suggests that a is (nondeceptively) pretending to assert that T.
However, with explicitly fictional stories it does not seem to me at all
plausible to say that the author 'pretends' to assert anything or 'pretends to
refer' to something.4 Instead, a is making a sincere attempt to describe
something that he has first imagined in his own mind.
Indeed, if a is the author of T, then it must be true to say that a imagines that
T (cf. Haapala 1984) - or at least that a has imagined that T. In writing and
publishing the story T, the author is then transforming his private imaginary
characters to public ones. So a is really engaging in the illocutionary act of
recommending his readers to share his imagination, i.e., a's act has the
following form:


University of Helsinki
Dept. of Philosophy
Unioninkalu 40 B
00170 Helsinki 17

This paper is a revised version of a paper which appeared under the title "Remarks on the Logic
of Imagination" in G. Holmstr5m and A.J.I. Jones (eds.): Action, Logic, and Social Theory(=
Ada Philosophica Fennica vol. 38 (1985), pp. 183-202.
1. For my first attempt to develop a logic of imagination, see Niiniluoto (1983).
2. It seems to me clear that imagining-how is also reducible to imagining-that. For example, to
imagine how it feels to dance with Marilyn Monroe, I imagine that I dance with Marilyn - with
3. Fora treatment of hallucinations within Hintikka's logic of perception, see Niiniluoto (1979).
Smith's distinction between "naive", "neutral", and "hip" hallucination would require that the
belief operator B a is combined with S a . If this is done (cf. Niiniluoto 1979), then we can express
the difference between the terms "the dagger now here sensuously before me" and "the dagger

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specify the class ,4 w j of his imaginary worlds. Through his work, he thus
"projects" - as Wolterstorff (1980) says - a class of possible worlds. It hardly
ever holds, however, that Aw T is simply the class Mod(T) of the models of T:
the author a narrows down the class Mod(T) with a set of contextual
presuppositions P a (cf. Lewis, 1978), which contains at least factual assumptions about the world and semantical conventions about the language of the
text T. The class of possible worlds projected by the author a is then
Mod(T&P a ). Everything that is true in this class, i.e., follows logically from
T&P a , is true in the fiction T. Everything that is false in this class is false in the
fiction T. It follows that there is a class of sentences true in some elements of
M(T&P a ) and false in others. These sentences are indetermined in the fiction
A different class of possible worlds Mod(T&P^) is projected by a reader b
who reads the text T with his own presuppositions P^, where P^ and P a may
be more or less similar to each other. In reading about the fictional characters
that a made public through T, the reader b may then usehis own imagination
and produce a more or less vivid private image of the fictional world described by T. In this way, each reader of a literary work of art will have an active
role in 'constituting' for himself the imaginary world that this work speaks
The communication between the author a and the readers b of a fictional
text T is made possible primarily by the shared presuppositions in P a and P^
which help the reader to understand the intended meaning of the author.
Through the public character of the text T, the author and the readers are able
to think about the same fictional objects. But, as the presuppositions P a may
be partly unconscious to the author a, an interpreter b may claim, as it often
happens, that he understands the text T better than its author.

actually now here sensuously before me" (cf. Smith 1983:108).
4. Searle rejects the view that "fiction contains different illocutionary acts from nonfiction"
(such as 'telling a story'), since this would commit us to the claim that "words do not have their
normal meanings in works of fiction" (Searle 1979: 64). This is a mistake, since ordinary words
may have the same meanings in two different illocutionary acts, e.g., in assertions and questions.

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