Dr. Lucas Thorpe
Istanbul 34342, Turkey
Phone: (+90) 212 359 6558
Professor Timothy Williamson
Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford
The Cognitive Value of the Imagination
Monday May 23rd 16.30-18.30
Abstract: Common stereotypes make imagination and knowledge opposites: knowledge as concerned with fact, bound by reality, and imagination as concerned with fiction, unbound by reality. I will argue that the stereotype of imagination is radically misleading. As evolutionary considerations suggest, imagination has a central cognitive function, and is better understood as a means to knowledge than an opposite to it. I will use this account to cast light on the role of thought experiments in philosophy.
Timothy Williamson has been the Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford since 2000. His main research interests are in philosophical logic, epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of language. He is the author of Identity and Discrimination (Blackwell 1990), Vagueness (Routledge 1994), Knowledge and its Limits (Oxford 2000), The Philosophy of Philosophy (Blackwell 2007) and over 120 articles. Williamson on Knowledge, edited by Patrick Greenough and Duncan Pritchard (Oxford 2009) contains fifteen critical essays on his work and his replies. He has been a visiting professor at MIT and Princeton, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), a visiting scholar at the centre for advanced study in Oslo, a Nelson distinguished professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a Townsend Visitor at Berkeley and Tang Chun-I visiting professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Professor Williamson gave a Henriette Hertz lecture at the British Academy in 1996, the 1998 Weatherhead Lecture in Philosophy of Language at Tulane, the 2001 Jacobsen Lecture in London, the 2004 Skolem Lecture in Oslo, the 2005 Jack Smart Lecture in Canberra, the 2005 Blackwell Brown Lectures at Brown University, the 2006 Wedberg Lectures in Stockholm, the 2006 Gaos Lectures in Mexico City and the Hempel Lectures at Princeton in 2006 and the 2009 Amherst Lecture at Amherst College. He has been President of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association and is Vice-President of the British Logic Colloquium and a fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
This talk is an expanded version of an article that Prof. Williamson wrote for the New York Times, and is intended to be accessible to non-philosophers. A copy of the article can be found at: