Article published in:Writing and the Mind
Edited by David R. Olson and Marcelo Dascal †
[Pragmatics & Cognition 21:3] 2013
► pp. 448–468
Worlds of the possible
Abstraction, imagination, consciousness
The ability to think in abstractions depends on the imagination. An important evolutionary change was the installation of a suite of six imaginative activities that emerge at first in childhood, which include empathy, symbolic play, and theory-of-mind. These abilities can be built upon in adulthood to enable the production of oral and written stories. As a technology, writing has three aspects: material, skill based, and societal. It is in fiction that expertise in writing is most strikingly attained; imagination is put to use to create simulations of the social world that can usefully be offered to others. Fiction is best conceived as an externalization of consciousness, which not only enables us to understand others but also to transform ourselves so that we can reach beyond the immediate.
Keywords: imagination, fiction, consciousness, simulation, writing
Published online: 24 July 2015
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