Research team

Imagination and Moral Reasoning. Creative Imagination in Moral Option Generation. 01/11/2019 - 31/10/2023


As a human faculty, imagination is often linked to the creativity of the mind, as displayed, for instance, by artists or children. This project examines its functional roles in moral reasoning. People often seem to use their imagination in situations where moral problems are at stake. Suppose that you cross the path of a refugee begging for help. You would probably try to imagine several things: the things the other has been through, what your options to help the refugee are, what the repercussions of certain actions will be, and so on. This project investigates how exactly we use our imagination to answer difficult moral questions or to solve pressing situations or dilemmas. This main aim is split up in two sub-aims. First, this research applies a novel moral-psychological approach to distinguish different modes and functions of imagination. As a very general term, 'imagination' can namely refer to different elements of moral reasoning, e.g., metaphorical understanding, empathy, narrative reflection, etc. Having analysed contemporary research results regarding the different relations between imagination and moral reasoning, I will focus on a blind spot in the current debate: the way in which imagination generates specific options for moral action. Thus the second aim is to examine this process of option generation in order to provide an answer to the question why imagination might be necessary to come up with practical solutions to moral situations and dilemmas.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project