Memory and the Unity of the Imagination in Spinoza's Ethics

Spinoza assigns to the imagination a wide-ranging and often disparate looking set of operations. Commentators have long recognized that these operations share a certain proximity to the body and a common tendency to lead people into error. Yet others remark on the apparent thinness of an overarching theme. This article examines the prominent and often underappreciated role of memory in unifying Spinoza’s account of imaginative cognition. The discussion revisits various aspects of imagination in light of their integrated characterization as forms of remembering. The article also assesses reasons other than memory that Spinoza has for grouping them in common. The examination focuses on the intrinsic character of the imagination and its related operations in the Ethics, while occasionally bringing other works into play
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DOI 10.5840/ipq200949228
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