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 Kind 2016 contains over 30 articles covering topics related to both historical and contemporary treatment of imagination.  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. Why Successful Performance in Imagery Tasks Does Not Require the Manipulation of Mental Imagery.Thomas Park - 2019 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 2 (X):1-11.
    Nanay (2017) argues for unconscious mental imagery, inter alia based on the assumption that successful performance in imagery tasks requires the manipulation of mental imagery. I challenge this assumption with the help of results presented in Shepard and Metzler (1971), Zeman et al. (2010), and Keogh and Pearson (2018). The studies suggest that imagery tasks can be successfully performed by means of cognitive/propositional strategies which do not rely on imagery.
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  2. Imagination Cannot Justify Empirical Belief.Jonathan Egeland - forthcoming - Episteme:1-7.
    A standard view in the epistemology of imagination is that imaginings can either provide justification for modal beliefs about what is possible (and perhaps counterfactual conditionals too), or no justification at all. However, in a couple of recent articles, Kind (2016; Forthcoming) argues that imaginings can justify empirical belief about what the world actually is like. In this article, I respond to her argument, showing that imagination doesn't provide the right sort of information to justify empirical belief. Nevertheless, it can (...)
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  3. Belief-Like Imaginings and Perceptual (Non-)Assertoricity.Alon Chasid & Assaf Weksler - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology:1-21.
    A commonly-discussed feature of perceptual experience is that it has ‘assertoric’ or ‘phenomenal’ force. We will start by discussing various descriptions of the assertoricity of perceptual experience. We will then adopt a minimal characterization of assertoricity: a perceptual experience has assertoric force just in case it inclines the perceiver to believe its content. Adducing cases that show that visual experience is not always assertoric, we will argue that what renders these visual experiences non-assertoric is that they are penetrated by belief-like (...)
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  4. Twardowski, Ingarden, and Blaustein on Creative Imagination.Witold Płotka - 2019 - Social Imaginaries 5 (1):121-141.
    The article is a critical elaboration of two phenomenological theories of imagination formulated by Ingarden and Blaustein in their discussion with Twardowski. Ingarden, as well as Blaustein were students of both Twardowski and Husserl, however, they defined imagination in two different contexts: whereas for Ingarden a proper way of analysis of imagination is ontology, for Blaustein imagination is the object of descriptive psychology, connected mainly with an aesthetic experience. As a result, the question of creativity of imagination is described in (...)
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  5. Imagination in the Appreciation of Nature: A Comparative Approach.Yingying Tang - 2018 - Philosophy East and West 68 (3):929-943.
    In Western aesthetics, there is a consensus that imagination is significant in art appreciation. But the significance of imagination in appreciating nature is still a matter of debate; this is especially true within contemporary analytic environmental aesthetics. While some aestheticians passionately embrace the significance of imagination in appreciating nature, other aestheticians hold that imagination is not just unnecessary, but even inappropriate, for the aesthetic appreciation of nature.Emily Brady famously contends that imagination can help to discover certain aesthetic truths about natural (...)
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  6. The Scientific Imagination.Arnon Levy & Peter Godfrey-Smith (eds.) - 2020 - Oup Usa.
    This book looks at the role of the imagination in science, from both philosophical and psychological perspectives. These contributions combine to provide a comprehensive and exciting picture of this under-explored subject.
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  7. Imagining the Magdeburg Rider.Assaf Pinkus - 2014 - Paragrana: Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie 23 (1):23-45.
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  8. Wittgenstein's Private Language: Grammar, Nonsense, and Imagination in Philosophical Investigations, §§ 143–315 ‐ By Stephen Mulhall. [REVIEW]John Troyer - 2008 - Philosophical Books 49 (4):383-384.
  9. Fictive Utterance And Imagining II.Stacie Friend - 2011 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1):163-180.
    The currently standard approach to fiction is to define it in terms of imagination. I have argued elsewhere that no conception of imagining is sufficient to distinguish a response appropriate to fiction as opposed to non-fiction. In her contribution Kathleen Stock seeks to refute this objection by providing a more sophisticated account of the kind of propositional imagining prescribed by so-called ‘fictive utterances’. I argue that although Stock's proposal improves on other theories, it too fails to provide an adequate criterion (...)
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  10. Impossible Dreams: Rationality, Integrity, and Moral Imagination.Susan E. Babbitt - 1996 - Hypatia 13 (3):168-173.
  11. Types of Imagination.F. C. Bartlett - 1928 - Journal of Philosophical Studies 3 (9):78-85.
    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, (...)
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  12. Imagination and Other Minds. [REVIEW]Peter Forrest - 1986 - Behavior and Philosophy 14 (1):57.
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  13. ‘The Vagaries of a Rafinesque’: Imagining and Classifying American Nature.Jim Endersby - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (3):168-178.
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  14. Recreative Minds.Shaun Nichols - 2004 - Mind 113 (450):329-334.
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  15. The Role of Imagination in Integrative Knowledge: A Polanyian View.Un-Chol Shin - 1994 - Tradition and Discovery 21 (2):16-28.
    How do we know the degree of imagination involved in knowing a reality? This is essentially an epistemological question. This essay discusses first the role of imagination in Polanyi’s epistemology since it is used here as the basis of integrative reality. The essay then discusses the degree of imagination involved in three types of integrative reality that are found respectively in technology, science, and humanities. It concludes with a discussion on the role of imagination in education.
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  16. Review Essay : Richard Kearney's Hermeneutic Imagination: Richard Kearney, Poetics of Modernity: Toward a Hermeneu Tic Imagination (Atlantic Highlands, Nj: Humanities Press, 1995) Also Under Consideration by Richard Kearney: Poetics O F Imagining: From Husserl to Lyotard (London: Rout Ledge, 1994); Modern Movements in European Philosophy (2nd Edn, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994); States of Mind (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995).Tracey Stark - 1997 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 23 (2):115-130.
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  17. Theology and the Imagination III: The Problem of Comedy.William F. Lynch - 1955 - Thought: Fordham University Quarterly 30 (1):18-36.
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  18. The Life of Faith and Imagination: Theological Reflection in Art and Literature.William F. Lynch - 1982 - Thought: Fordham University Quarterly 57 (1):7-16.
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  19. Giambattista Vico’s Science of Humanity. [REVIEW]P. M. R. - 1977 - Review of Metaphysics 30 (3):536-537.
    This handsome volume is an outgrowth of Giambattista Vico, An International Symposium, edited by Giorgio Tagliacozzo and Hayden White and published in 1969, in which Vichian influences were explored by distinguished scholars in diverse fields. The original volume was meant to be exploratory in nature, analyzing Vico’s sometimes obscure thought in terms of historical theory and contemporary humanistic relevance.
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  20. Imagining, a Phenomenological Study. [REVIEW]E. W. R. - 1979 - Review of Metaphysics 33 (2):419-420.
    An impressive addition to the growing corpus of phenomenologica by a young phenomenologist who has already contributed significantly to phenomenology as a translator of two works of Mikel Dufrenne and as the author of almost a dozen articles centering upon the role of imagination in philosophy, art, and psychology. Imagining attends to the very core of phenomenological method which rests upon the technique of imaginative variation as the means to eidetic intuition. Though guided by Husserl especially, the work is not (...)
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  21. Vico's Science of Imagination. [REVIEW]D. R. - 1982 - Review of Metaphysics 35 (4):916-917.
    Giambatista Vico is a thinker whom, some seem to believe, no one is supposed to understand. Nevertheless, his work has attracted a great deal of interest in the last decade or so, mainly through the organization of congresses and the devotion of a small but enthusiastic group of international commentators. From their efforts there begins to emerge a picture of Vico as a key figure in an alternative philosophical tradition, one that opposes the currently dominant modes of critical and positivistic (...)
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  22. Two Ages. [REVIEW]W. E. J. - 1980 - Review of Metaphysics 33 (3):633-635.
    This translation is the first in Princeton University Press’s new series, Kierkegaard’s Writings. This series will include twenty-six volumes and will be the first uniform English translation of Søren Kierkegaard’s published works. Under the able direction of Howard V. Hong, the series of translations by a distinguished group of European and American scholars is scheduled for completion in 1988. The purpose of the series is to produce a complete new English-language edition of the works of Kierkegaard, excluding the journals and (...)
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  23. Images and Imagination in Descartes’Science.Doran A. Recker - 2003 - Southwest Philosophy Review 19 (1):41-50.
  24. 4. Morbid Melancholy, the Imagination, and Samual Johnson's Sermons.Csv Thomas Kass - 2005 - Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 8 (4).
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  25. Cosmological Foundations of Imagination in Learning: A Whiteheadian Perspective.Robert Regnier - 2005 - Process Studies 34 (2):178-191.
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  26. Imagination at the Center: Identity on the Margins.Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore - 2005 - Process Studies 34 (2):192-210.
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  27. Image and Imagination: Chesterton on Moral Photography.Duncan Reyburn - 2013 - The Chesterton Review 39 (3/4):111-123.
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  28. "Imaginative but Intimately True": The Novels of George MacDonald.David Robb - 2001 - The Chesterton Review 27 (1/2):67-83.
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  29. "Imagination of the Heart: The Life of Walter de la Mare," by Theresa Whistler. [REVIEW]Gertrude M. White - 1994 - The Chesterton Review 20 (2/3):342-345.
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  30. Reading, Imagination, and Interpretation: A Ricoeurian Response.Mark S. Muldoon - 2000 - International Philosophical Quarterly 40 (1):69-83.
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  31. Imagination & Reflection: Intersubjectivity. [REVIEW]Glenn Satty - 1984 - International Philosophical Quarterly 24 (2):210-212.
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  32. Extract From ‘Imagination, the General Theory’, Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy and Cognitive Science.Greg Currie - 1998 - Cogito 12 (3):179-180.
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  33. Ernst Bloch’s Expressive Thought. Categories and Logic of Artistic Production and Imagination. [REVIEW]Hedwig Wingler - 1987 - Philosophy and History 20 (2):147-148.
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  34. Engines of the Imagination: Renaissance Culture and the Rise of the Machine. [REVIEW]Val Dusek - 2009 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 13 (2):170-172.
    Review of work on Renaissance technology.
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  35. Music, Imagination, History: Some Lessons From Tim Tyson’s Blood Done Sign My Name.Joe Lucia - 2006 - Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 16 (1):18-26.
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  36. Imagination, Servant or Master: A Poem.C. L. Marsh - 1918 - The Monist 28 (1):68-72.
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  37. Kant’s Productive Imagination and its Alleged Antecedents.Alfredo Ferrarin - 1995 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 18 (1):65-92.
    The notion of productive imagination is not only of crucial importance for Kant’s idea of pure reason, and for the unity of our theoretical experience, it is also stunningly seminal for post-Kantian philosophy: think, for instance, of Fichte, Schelling, the German Romantics, and of Hegel’s Glauben und Wissen. For the historian of philosophy, in particular, it is a very intriguing notion. Yet, however fundamental the notion of productive imagination is, it is not easy to determine its precise role in the (...)
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  38. Natural Right and the American Imagination: Political Philosophy in Novel Form. [REVIEW]Alice R. Kaminsky - 1992 - International Studies in Philosophy 24 (1):152-154.
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  39. Imagination and Ethics: Gaston Bachelard and Martin Buber.Edward K. Kaplan - 2003 - International Studies in Philosophy 35 (1):75-88.
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  40. The Later Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood. [REVIEW]W. L. M. - 1963 - Review of Metaphysics 17 (2):302-302.
  41. Identifying Selfhood: Imagination, Narrative, and Hermeneutics in the Thought of Paul Ricoeur. [REVIEW]George E. A. Williamson - 2003 - Dialogue 42 (3):618-620.
    Identifying Selfhood organizes many of the features of Ricoeur’s philosophical views around the major theme of selfhood, Ricoeur’s hermeneutical quest for a “non-idealistic interpretation of the self.” In a quasi-developmental account, the author, Henry Isaac Venema, provides the reader with numerous details of Ricoeur’s relation to phenomenology and hermeneutics, as well as the complexities of Ricoeur’s views of self-constitution and self-understanding, involving the use of symbolism, metaphor, and narrative.
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  42. 4. Theology, Poetics, Psychotherapy- The Field of the Imagination: Some Reflections on the Legacy of William F. Lynch, S.J.Nathan A. Scott Jr - 1997 - Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 1 (1):60-77.
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  43. Religion and the Imagination: Some Reflections on the Legacy of William F. Lynch, S.J.Nathan A. Scott Jr - 1991 - Thought: Fordham University Quarterly 66 (2):151-160.
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  44. Imagination and Power.A. O. Rorty - 1983 - Social Science Information 22 (6):801-816.
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  45. Profit, Alertness and Imagination.Karen I. Vaughn - 1990 - Journal de Economistes Et des Etudes Humaines 1 (2):183-188.
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  46. The Potentials of Imagination.Bert van Oers - 2005 - Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 24 (4):5-18.
    Starting from a Vygotskian analysis of imagination as “image formation,” this paper explores some emergent qualities of the phenomenon of imagination in the play activities of young children. In the context of the early grades of Dutch primary schools different activities of children were studied while they were making symbolic representations of real or imaginary situations. Observations in two activity settings show that the children got engaged in two types of imagination: an ‘etc-act of imagination’ and a ‘production of alternatives.’ (...)
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  47. Mind and Imagination in Aristotle.Christopher Shields - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):371.
  48. Realism and Imagination in Ethics.Susan Wolf & Sabina Lovibond - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (2):290.
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  49. A Common Sky: Philosophy and the Literary Imagination.Anita Silvers - 1976 - Philosophical Review 85 (1):126.
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  50. Imagination.J. M. Shorter - 1963 - Philosophical Review 72 (1):125.
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