About this topic
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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  1. The Poetics of Space. [REVIEW]B. D. A. - 1965 - Review of Metaphysics 18 (4):771-772.
  2. Imagination and the Adapted Mind: A Special Double Issue.H. P. E. Abbott - 2001 - Substance 30.
  3. For Love of the Imagination: Interdisciplinary Applications of Jungian Psychoanalysis.Michael Vannoy Adams - 2013 - Routledge.
    "I have entitled this book _For Love of the Imagination_. Long ago, I fell in love with the imagination. It was love at first sight. I have had a lifelong love affair with the imagination. I would love for others, through this book, to fall in love, as I once did, with the imagination." _Michael Vannoy Adams_,_ _from the Preface. ___For Love of the Imagination__ _is a book about the imagination – about what and how images mean. Jungian psychoanalysis is (...)
  4. Representation and the Imagination Beckett, Kafka, Nabokov, and Schoenberg /Daniel Albright. --. --.Daniel Albright - 1981 - University of Chicago Press, 1981.
  5. Forms, Transforms, and the Creative Process.George Allan - 1999 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 1999:231-238.
    A standard account of creativity is that it is a process in which the form of a thing or event is altered—restructured or reinterpreted—in a way that changes fundamentally that thing’s or event’s meaning, its nature or function, its intrinsic or instrumental value. What is created in this manner, however, is only a variation of the initial form. Such processes are creative in a weak sense; the strong sense requires that the old form be replaced by a quite different one, (...)
  6. Philosophy and Porous Imagination: Between Coral Reefs.J. Allen - 2008 - South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (4):92-92.
    Diving into the life of the tropical coral reefs and Amadou Hampâté Ba’s reflections on the person conjoin in this work, which is at once philosophical and poetic. The permeable parameters of philosophy, which enable thought to hover between unstable contours rather than to prioritize secure foundations, open to a porous imagination, tracing and retracing panoramic geographies and contemporary tensions of globalization and development. Porous imagination slips, glides, between archipelagos of clay rooftops and refuge dotting the Sudan and the smallest (...)
  7. Hard Times: Philosophy and the Fundamentalist Imagination.Randall Everett Allsup - 2005 - Philosophy of Music Education Review 13 (2):139-142.
  8. Matters of Spirit: J. G. Fichte and the Technological Imagination (Review).Matthew C. Altman - 2011 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 49 (2):259-261.
  9. Natural Right and the American Imagination.George Anastaplo - 1993 - Review of Metaphysics 47 (1):172-173.
  10. The Whole Learner: The Role of Imagination in Developing Disciplinary Understanding.Kirsteen Anderson - 2010 - Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 9 (2):205-221.
    This article challenges the predominance of modularization across the UK university system, arguing that the fragmentation of the learning experience which results from this model undermines the possibility of a disciplinary understanding. It proposes instead a practice of imaginative writing which, by engaging students’ experience, interest and enthusiasm, encourages them to develop an appreciation of their discipline and the intellectual and discursive resources to participate meaningfully in it. The argument is supported by detailed discussion of the teaching and learning experience (...)
  11. The Finite I Am: Reason and Imagination in Coleridge's Religious Thought.Wayne C. Anderson - 1986 - Ultimate Reality and Meaning 9 (4):243-261.
  12. The Acts of Describing and Imagining in Late Wittgenstein.M. Andronico - 1986 - Filosofia 37 (1):3-44.
  13. Deeply Imaginative Scepticism.Leonard Angel - 2010 - Dialogue 49 (3):489-496.
  14. Fostering Creativity in Philosophy.David B. Annis - 1998 - Metaphilosophy 29 (1&2):95-106.
    The American Philosophical Association suggests that studying philosophy can have an important impact on one's creative thinking ability. This paper abstracts from the empirical research on creativity a reasonable model of creative thinking, and discusses what the account implies about fostering creative thinking in philosophy courses. Given the empirical research on creativity and the nature of philosophy, studying philosophy can have an important impact on one's creative thinking ability, but faculty need to focus on it in their courses.
  15. Les Chemins de L'Imaginaire: Hommage à Maryvonne Perrot.Diego Apráez Ippolito & Angélique Touzot (eds.) - 2008 - Centre Georges Chevrier.
  16. Of Sympathetic Imagination.Páll S. Árdal - 1979 - Bowling Green Studies in Applied Philosophy 1:65-71.
  17. Imagination as Groundless Ground.Duane Armitage - 2016 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (2):477-496.
    This essay attempts to further the Heideggerian reading of the transcendental imagination in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, by substantiating Heidegger’s contested claims, that the imagination is identical to “original time,” the imagination generates secondary, successive time, and therefore categories of the understanding are formal abstractions from a more primordial temporal horizon. I argue that Heidegger’s reading of Kant remains completely tenable based on A 142-143, by first examining Heidegger's thesis, and then defending it by analyzing the above-mentioned section. Finally, (...)
  18. Ibot's Essay on the Creative Imagination. [REVIEW]Felix Arnold - 1906 - Journal of Philosophy 3 (25):695.
  19. Eillaube on L'imagination. [REVIEW]Felix Arnold - 1905 - Journal of Philosophy 2 (14):386.
  20. Note sur Les rapports de la crédulité avec l'imagination.Lucien Arréat - 1919 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 88:479 - 483.
  21. La Guerre des Rêves Exercices d'Ethno-Fiction.Marc Augé - 1997 -
  22. Will, Imagination, and Reason.Randall E. Auxier - 1997 - The Personalist Forum 13 (2):325-332.
  23. Conceiving and Imagining.Jody Azzouni - 2015 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 22:84-99.
  24. L'Imagination.G. B. & J. P. Sartre - 1937 - Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):25.
  25. On Being Creative.Irving Babbitt - 1960 - New York: Biblo & Tannen.
  26. On Being Creative, and Other Essays.Irving Babbitt - 1933 - Philosophical Review 42:443.
  27. Knowledge and Imagination.J. Mark Baldwin - 1908 - Philosophical Review 17:679.
  28. Knowledge and Imagination.J. Mark Baldwin - 1908 - Psychological Review 15 (3):181-196.
  29. Creative Imagination and Dream.Carmen Balzer - 1992 - Analecta Husserliana 38:363.
  30. Works of the Imagination A Comment.Moshe Barasch - 1992 - In Edna Ullmann-Margalit (ed.), The Scientific Enterprise. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 117--121.
  31. The Holy Grail: Imagination and Belief. [REVIEW]Laura Barefield - 2005 - The Medieval Review 9.
  32. Imagination and Inspiration.Owen Barfield - 1967 - In Stanley Romaine Hopper & David L. Miller (eds.), Interpretation: The Poetry of Meaning. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.
  33. From First Hesitation to Scenic Imagination: Originary Thinking with Eric Gans.Andrew Bartlett - 2008 - Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture 15 (1):89-172.
  34. Types of Imagination.F. C. Bartlett - 1928 - Philosophy 3 (9):78.
    At first sight it may seem as if Imagination can easily be characterized as a continuous process of having images; but this is very soon found to be inadequate and misleading. On the one hand we have a great number of good witnesses who insist that in their best imaginative work they have made use of no images, or of very few; and on the other, everybody makes distinction between flights of fancy, for example, which certainly involve successions of images, (...)
  35. Hegel's Theory of Imagination.Jennifer Ann Bates - 2004 - State University of New York Press.
    _A comprehensive account of the role of the imagination in Hegel's philosophy._.
  36. The Language of Imagination.Stanley Bates - 1991 - Philosophical Books 32 (3):174-176.
  37. Sicut Speculum Animatum. From Aristotles’ Concept Of Imagination To Albert The Great’s Intentionalism / Sicut Speculum Animatum. De L’Imagination Aristotelicienne A L’Intentionnalisme D’Albert Le Grand. [REVIEW]Alexander Baumgarten - 2009 - Studia Philosophica 1.
    My paper approaches Aristotle’s concept of imagination considering its various meanings as possible sources for the contemporary phenomenology. It argues that the phenomenological interpretation of imagination in terms of intentionality could be referred back to Avicenna, Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, due to their understandig of imagination as part of an entirely receptive subjectivity.
  38. God and the Creative Imagination.Barbara Baumgarten - 2004 - Tradition and Discovery 31 (3):45-46.
  39. The Scientific Imagination. By Gerald Holton.P. Beck - 2001 - The European Legacy 6 (3):383-383.
  40. Bernard Smith—Imagining the Antipodes.Peter Beilharz - 1994 - Thesis Eleven 38 (1):93-103.
  41. The Travel Literature of Xavier de Maistre and its Philosophical Significance.Guy Bennett-Hunter - 2014 - In Garth Lean, Russell Staif & Emma Waterton (eds.), Travel and Imagination. Ashgate. pp. 75-88.
    In this chapter, I present some philosophical reflections on the theme of the imagination. The main inspiration for these reflections comes from two writers, both of whom are mentioned in Alain de Botton’s (2003) The Art of Travel: Joris-Karl Huysmans and Xavier de Maistre. De Botton uses both of these writers in his book as ‘guides’, people whose work prompts his own ruminations, Huysmans in the first chapter and de Maistre in the last. Speculatively, I infer from this structure that (...)
  42. Imagining the Unthinkable, Illuminating the Present.Jeffrey T. Berger - 2010 - Journal of Clinical Ethics 22 (1):17-19.
  43. On the Imagination.Dino Bigongiari, Gianfrancesco Pico Della Mirandola & Harry Caplan - 1931 - Philosophical Review 40 (3):298.
  44. M?Moire Et Imagination.A. Binet - 1895 - Psychological Review 2 (4):419-420.
  45. Ekphrasis at Kildare: The Imaginative Architecture of a Seventh-Century Hagiographer.Lisa M. Bitel - 2004 - Speculum 79 (3):605-627.
  46. Imagining the Moor in Medieval Portugal.Josiah Blackmore - 2006 - Diacritics 36 (3):27-43.
  47. The Key to the Brescia Casket: Typology and the Early Christian Imagination. [REVIEW]Karen Blough - 2003 - The Medieval Review 3.
  48. Imagination. Suchen Und Finden.Gottfried Boehm, Emmanuel Alloa, Orlando Budelacci & Gerald Wildgruber (eds.) - 2014 - W. Fink.
  49. Mindvaults: Sociocultural Grounds for Pretending and Imagining.Radu J. Bogdan - 2013 - MIT Press.
    Looks at what the author calls "mindvaulting," or the human mind's ability to vault over the realm of current perception, motivation, emotion and action, to leap—consciously and deliberately—to past or future, possible or impossible, ...
  50. Richard C. McCleary, Imagination's Body Reviewed By.Arnd Bohm - 1987 - Philosophy in Review 7 (9):362-363.
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