On What There Isn’t. Imagination, Impossibilities and Counterfactual Reasoning. 5th – 6th September 2019, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany.


Intuitively, we have a pretty clear understanding of which kinds of mental activities count as exercises of imagination and which do not, and, yet, there is not much consensus on the question what, exactly, imagination is: Neither do we have a satisfying account of the nature of imagination, nor do we know how we can differentiate imagination from other mental states such as supposing, conceiving, believing, remembering, or perceiving.

Imagination has been discussed in different philosophical contexts such as engagement with fiction, mindreading, pretense, or modal epistemology and has given rise to many philosophical and psychological challenges. In this workshop we want to examine the nature of imagination and discuss questions like the following: How do people imagine alternatives to reality? What role plays imagination in counterfactual reasoning? Is imagination a guide to possibility? Can we imagine impossibilities? What is the relationship between imagination and other mental states?

Keynotes and Organisation

The workshop will be held from 05/09/2019 to 06/09/2019 at Heinrich Heine University’s Haus der Universität in the heart of the city.

The workshop is organized by Till Gallasch (Würzburg), Paul Hasselkuß (Düsseldorf), Sara Ipakchi (Düsseldorf) and Jessica Struchhold (Duisburg-Essen). It is generously supported by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Heinrich Heine University, the German Society for Analytic Philosophy, and by Markus Schrenk (Düsseldorf) of the DFG Research Group Inductive Metaphysics (FOR2495).


We encourage early career researchers (MA and PhD students) to participate. Applications should include a short CV and an abstract of max. 500 words prepared for blind review. Each participant will be given 45 mins, 30 mins per presentation and 15 mins for Q&A. The deadline for submissions is 15/05/2019.

Submissions are now closed. For questions, please contact the organisers (dgwp [at] phil [dot] hhu [dot] de). The organizing committee will notify authors of its decision by 30/07/2019.

There is no participation fee. In general, we cannot cover travel and accommodation expenses, but we may be able to offer support for those who are unable to obtain financial compensation. Also, some free accommodation provided by local students may be available.

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