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Summary Perception provides us with access to the actual world -- to things that actually exist and to states of affairs that actually occur.  In contrast, imagination provides us with access to merely possible worlds -- to things that do not actually exist and to states of affairs that do not actually occur.  Imagination is philosophically important for its role in many different domains of inquiry.  In aesthetics, imagination is invoked to explain our engagement with fiction, music, and the visual arts.  In modal epistemology, imagination is invoked to explain how we can justify our modal beliefs.  In philosophy of mind, imagination is invoked to explain our capacity for mindreading.  More generally, imagination is thought to connect with creativity and thus to play a role not only in artistic creation but also in scientific and mathematical discovery. 
Key works White 1990 provides a survey of historical treatments of the imagination.  Walton 1990 and Currie 1990 are the seminal texts for the use of imagination in our engagement with fiction.  Several useful recent collections include Nichols 2006 (focusing on pretense, possibility, and fiction), Gendler & Hawthorne 2002 (focusing on modal epistemology), and Kieran & Lopes 2003 (focusing on literature and the visual arts).  Block 1981 is a slightly older collection that focuses on mental imagery.  For a discussion of the nature of imagination, see Kind 2001.
Introductions Useful encyclopedia articles include Gendler 2011 and Kind 2005.
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Subcategories:See also:History/traditions: Imagination
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  1. Randall Everett Allsup (2005). Hard Times: Philosophy and the Fundamentalist Imagination. Philosophy of Music Education Review 13 (2):139-142.
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  2. Matthew C. Altman (2011). Matters of Spirit: J. G. Fichte and the Technological Imagination (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 49 (2):259-261.
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  3. Fernando Andacht (2001). Those Powerful Materialized Dreams: Peirce on Icons and the Human Imagination. American Journal of Semiotics 17 (3):91-116.
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  4. Randall E. Auxier (1997). Will, Imagination, and Reason. The Personalist Forum 13 (2):325-332.
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  5. F. C. Bartlett (1928). Types of Imagination. Philosophy 3 (09):78-.
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  6. Guy Bennett-Hunter (2014). The Travel Literature of Xavier de Maistre and its Philosophical Significance. In Garth Lean, Russell Staif & Emma Waterton (eds.), Travel and Imagination. Ashgate. 75-88.
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  7. Neil Bolton (1982). The Lived World: Imagination and the Development of Experience. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 13 (1):1-18.
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  8. Michael Bulley (1991). All in the Imagination. Philosophy Now 2:24-26.
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  9. E. S. C. (1962). Imagination. Review of Metaphysics 15 (4):678-679.
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  10. E. S. C. (1962). Imagination. Review of Metaphysics 15 (4):678-679.
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  11. Helena De Preester (2012). The Sensory Component of Imagination: The Motor Theory of Imagination as a Present-Day Solution to Sartre's Critique. Philosophical Psychology 25 (4):1-18.
    Several recent accounts claim that imagination is a matter of simulating perceptual acts. Although this point of view receives support from both phenomenological and empirical research, I claim that Jean-Paul Sartre's worry formulated in L'imagination (1936) still holds. For a number of reasons, Sartre heavily criticizes theories in which the sensory material of imaginative acts consists in reviving sensory impressions. Based on empirical and philosophical insights, this article explains how simulation theories of imagination can overcome Sartre's critique by paying attention (...)
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  12. Dorothea Debus, Memory, Imagination and Narrative.
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  13. Val Dusek (2009). Engines of the Imagination. Techne 13 (2):170-172.
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  14. Gerald Edelman & Giulio Tononi (2001). A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination. Basic Books.
    A Nobel Prize-winning scientist and a leading brain researcher show how the brain creates conscious experience.
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  15. Dominic Gregory (2013). Showing, Sensing, and Seeming: Distinctively Sensory Representations and Their Contents. Oxford University Press.
    Certain representations are bound in a special way to our sensory capacities. Many pictures show things as looking certain ways, for instance, while auditory mental images show things as sounding certain ways. What do all those distinctively sensory representations have in common, and what makes them different from representations of other kinds? Dominic Gregory argues that they are alike in having meanings of a certain special type. He employs a host of novel ideas relating to kinds of perceptual states, sensory (...)
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  16. Pádraig Hogan (2010). The New Significance of Learning: Imagination's Heartwork. Routledge.
  17. Julia Jansen (2008). 'Top Down' and 'Bottom Up'. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 19:31-39.
    In this paper I want to discuss the implications of adopting different general philosophical approaches for assessing the relation between perception and imagination. In particular, I am interested in different views resulting from ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ approaches to cognition. By ‘top down’ approaches I meanapproaches that conceive of cognition as a process or activity that is guided by intellectual or conceptual (‘top’) elements. (I consider broadly speaking Kantian accounts typical.) By ‘bottom up’ approaches I mean approaches that conceive (...)
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  18. Max Jones (2007). Reception (T.) Rood The Sea! The Sea! The Shout of the Ten Thousand in the Modern Imagination. London: Duckworth Overlook, 2004. Pp. Ix + 262, Illus. £25. 0715633082. [REVIEW] Journal of Hellenic Studies 127:260-.
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  19. Christian Kanzian, Josef Quitterer & Edmund Runggaldier (eds.) (2002). Persons. An Interdisciplinary Approach. Papers of the 25th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society.
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  20. Elzbieta A. Kazmierczak (1998). Triangle as Trickster and Redeemer of Human Sensitivity, Imagination, and Improvization. American Journal of Semiotics 14 (1/4):190-207.
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  21. Cassius J. Keyser (1911). The Asymmetry of the Imagination. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 8 (12):309-316.
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  22. Janine Langan (1997). 13. Truth, Justice, and the Modern Imagination: A Reflection Launched by Elizabeth Sewell's "Death of the Imagination". Logos 1 (1).
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  23. Stéphane Laurens (2007). Social Influence: Representation, Imagination and Facts. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (4):401–413.
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  24. René Lefebvre (1999). L'imagination, Produit d'Une Métaphore? Dialogue 38 (03):469-.
    It would be contradictory to ask phainesthai to support both the strict sense (M. Schofield, M. Nussbaum), and metaphorical use (Simplicius) of phantasia. De anima, 428a2, raises many issues. When discovering imagination, Aristotle himself seems to use the word phantasia metaphorically.
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  25. Beryl Logan (1999). Aiding the Ascent of Reason by the Wings of Imagination. Hume Studies 25 (1/2):193-205.
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  26. Dieter Lohmar (2005). On the Function of Weak Phantasmata in Perception: Phenomenological, Psychological and Neurological Clues for the Transcendental Function of Imagination in Perception. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (2):155-167.
    Weak phantasmata have a decisive and specifically transcendental function in our everyday perception. This paper provides several different arguments for this claim based on evidence from both empirical psychology and phenomenology.
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  27. Joe Lucia (2006). Music, Imagination, History. Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 16 (1):18-26.
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  28. Catriona Mackenzie (2008). Imagination, Identity and Self-Transformation. In Catriona Mackenzie & Kim Atkins (eds.), Practical Identity and Narrative Agency. Routledge. 121--145.
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  29. J. S. Mackenzie (1933). A Note on Dialectic and Imagination. Philosophy 8 (29):87 - 90.
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  30. Patrick Madigan (2010). Living Forms of the Imagination. By Douglas Hedley. Heythrop Journal 51 (1):151-152.
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  31. C. L. Marsh (1918). Imagination, Servant or Master. The Monist 28 (1):68-72.
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  32. D. J. McCracken (1953). The Imagination of Reason: Two Philosophical Essays. By Eric Unger Dr. Phil.., (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1952. Pp. Vii + 134. Price 12s. 6d.). [REVIEW] Philosophy 28 (106):284-.
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  33. William E. McMahon (1977). The Philosophical Imagination. Teaching Philosophy 2 (3/4):347-350.
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  34. Tim Mey (2006). Imagination's Grip on Science. Metaphilosophy 37 (2):222-239.
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  35. Hugo Meynell (1979). Purpose in a World of Chance By W. H. Thorpe Oxford University Press, 1978, £3.95Science, Chance and Providence By Donald M. MacKay Oxford University Press, 1978, £3.50The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination By Jacob Bronowski Yale University Press, 1978. [REVIEW] Philosophy 54 (209):425-.
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  36. Thomas Molnar (1991). L'imagination. Bulletin de la Société Américaine de Philosophie de Langue Française 3 (2):117-119.
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  37. Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore (2005). Imagination at the Center. Process Studies 34 (2):192-210.
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  38. Stanley Moore (1977). Justice and Imagination. The Necessity of Utopian Thinking to a Humane Social Order. World Futures 15 (1):69-81.
    (1977). Justice and imagination. The necessity of Utopian thinking to a humane social order. World Futures: Vol. 15, Utopia and World Order, pp. 69-81.
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  39. Mark S. Muldoon (2000). Reading, Imagination, and Interpretation. International Philosophical Quarterly 40 (1):69-83.
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  40. Milton C. Nahm (1977). The Questioning of Authority in Criticism in the Eighteenth Century: Taste, Existence and Imagination. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 4 (1):73-78.
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  41. Bence Nanay (2009). Imagining, Recognizing and Discriminating. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):699-717.
    According to the Ability Hypothesis, knowing what it is like to have experience E is just having the ability to imagine or recognize or remember having experience E. I examine various versions of the Ability Hypothesis and point out that they all face serious objections. Then I propose a new version that is not vulnerable to these objections: knowing what it is like to experience E is having the ability todiscriminate imagining or having experience E from imagining or having any (...)
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  42. Lodi Nauta (2004). Lorenzo Valla and the Limits of Imagination. In Lodi Nauta & Detlev Pätzold (eds.), Imagination in the Later Middle Ages and Early Modern Times. Peeters.
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  43. Jana Noel (1999). Phronesis and Phantasia: Teaching with Wisdom and Imagination. Journal of Philosophy of Education 33 (2):277–286.
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  44. Lucy F. O'Brien (2005). Imagination and the Motivational Role of Belief. Analysis 65 (285):55-62.
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  45. Daniel Ogden (2004). Ptolemaic Ideology R. A. Hazzard: Imagination of a Monarchy. Studies in Ptolemaic Propaganda . ( Phoenix Supplementary Volume 37.) Pp. X + 244. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. Cased. Isbn: 0-8020-4313-. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 54 (02):472-.
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  46. A. B. Palma (1983). Imagination, Truth and Rationality. Philosophy 58 (223):29 - 38.
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  47. Dimitris Papanikolaou (2009). Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (Y.) Hamilakis The Nation and its Ruins: Antiquity, Archaeology and National Imagination in Greece. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Pp. 352, Illus. £63. 9780199230389. [REVIEW] Journal of Hellenic Studies 129:255-.
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  48. Stephen Pender (2010). Rhetoric, Grief, and the Imagination in Early Modern England. Philosophy and Rhetoric 43 (1):pp. 54-85.
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  49. David Peroutka (2010). Imagination, Intellect and Premotion. A Psychological Theory of Domingo Báñez. Studia Neoaristotelica 7 (2):107-115.
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  50. Giovanni Pezzulo & Cristiano Castelfranchi (2009). Thinking as the Control of Imagination: A Conceptual Framework for Goal-Directed Systems. Psychological Research 73 (4):559-577.
    This paper offers a conceptual framework which (re)integrates goal-directed control, motivational processes, and executive functions, and suggests a developmentalpathway from situated action to higher level cognition. We first illustrate a basic computational (control-theoretic) model of goal-directed action that makes use of internalmodeling. We then show that by adding the problem of selection among multiple actionalternatives motivation enters the scene, and that the basic mechanisms of executivefunctions such as inhibition, the monitoring of progresses, and working memory, arerequired for this system to (...)
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