The Psychical Analogon in Sartre's Theory of the Imagination

Sartre Studies International 17 (2):16-27 (2012)
Abstract
Sartre's theory of the imagination is important both as an alternative to the idea that the imagination consists of images contained somehow in the mind - the "illusion of immanence" — and as an early formulation of Sartre's conception of consciousness. In this paper I defend Sartre's theory of imaginative consciousness against some of its critics. I show how difficulties with his theory parallel a perennial problem in Sartre-interpretation, that of understanding how consciousness can negate its past and posit possibilities beyond the facticity of its situation. In this short essay I will not provide a detailed exposition of Sartre's theory of the imagination. Rather, I provide the basis of an interpretation of this theory that emphasizes the role that the past plays in imaginative consciousness
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