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Davies, J. & Bicknell, J. (2016). Imagination and belief: The microtheories model of hypothetical thinking. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 23(3-4), 31--49.

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  author = 	 {Davies, Jim and Bicknell, Jeanette},
  title = 	 {Imagination and belief: The microtheories model of hypothetical thinking},
  journal = 	 {Journal of Consciousness Studies},
  year = 	 {2016},
  volume = 	 {23},
  number = 	 {2-4},
  pages = 	 {31--49}

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This material has been published in The Journal of Consciousness Studies, volume 23, 2016, pages 31-49), the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by Imprint Academic. This material may not be copied or reposted without explicit permission. Copyright 2016 by Imprint Academic.


Beliefs about hypothetical situations need to be ‘quarantined’ from factual representations, so that our inference processes do not make false conclusions about the real world. Nichols (2004) argued for the existence of a place where these special beliefs are kept: the pretence box. We show that this theory has a number of drawbacks, including its inability to account for simultaneously keeping track of multiple imagined worlds. We offer an explanation that remedies these problems: beliefs of content imagination each belong to some number of microtheories; systems of ideas tagged as being true or false only in certain contexts.

JimDavies ( jim@jimdavies.org )