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. PHILOSOPHY OF FICTION: Imagination and Cognition.Patrik Engisch & Julia Langkau (eds.) - 2022
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  2. William Perkins, the Imagination in Calvinist Theology and “Inner Iconoclasm” After Frances Yates.Barret Reiter - 2022 - Intellectual History Review 32 (4):645-667.
  3. Pretense and imagination from the perspective of 4E cognitive science: introduction to the special issue.Zuzanna Rucińska & Martin Weichold - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-13.
    In this text, we will introduce the reader to the special issue on Pretense and Imagination from the Perspective of 4E Cognitive Science. To do so, we will introduce the concept of 4E cognition and showcase what the available 4E approaches to pretense and imagination look like, in particular if they are contrasted with current cognitivist accounts. Against this background, we provide an overview of the articles included in this special issue.
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  4. Imagination and the Environment: Schelling and the Possibility of a Non-Binary Relationship Between Us and the World.Marília Cota Pacheco - 2022 - Environment, Space, Place 14 (1):93-110.
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  5. Imagination, Delusion, and Self-Deception.Andy Egan - 2008 - In Tim Bayne & Jordi Fernàndez (eds.), Delusions, Self-Deception: Affective and Motivational Influences on Belief Formation. Psychology Press. pp. 263–280.
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  6. Epistemic Uses of Imagination.Tom Schoonen - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):1064-1066.
    Epistemic Uses of Imagination. E DITED BY BaduraChristopher, KindAmy.. ISBN: 9780367480561.).
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  7. The limits of moral imagination.Stephen John - forthcoming - Metascience:1-4.
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  8. Imagination and Experience: Philosophical Explorations.Íngrid Vendrell-Ferran & Christiana Werner (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  9. The Spatialisation of the Political Imagination: A Political Discourse Analysis of Space, Fantasy and Inter-Communal Conflict in Derry City.Gary Hussey - forthcoming - Critical Discourse Studies:1-16.
  10. Converting the Imagination: Teaching to Recover Jesus’s Vision for Fullness of Life.Richard M. Liddy - 2021 - The Lonergan Review 12:197-202.
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  11. Main Activity Criteria in the Development of Imagination of Primary School Students.Toshtemirova Muazzam & Isag’Aliyeva Sadafxon - unknown
    In this article, primary school teachers refer to the following as key performance criteria in developing students ’ imagination. They can be divided into scientific and creative types, which are mentioned in the psychological literature. The readiness of future primary school teachers to develop students ’ imagination differs from each other in its brilliance, and also in its degree of generalization.The generalization of perceptions is that in students, the images tend to look general in particular.
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  12. Pedagogical and Psychological Characteristics of Developing Creative Imagination in Primary School Students.Ochildiyeva Sevara Erkin Kizi - unknown
    The content of terms such as "creativity", "creativity" in this article, the conditions for the formation of creative activity of students in primary education, opportunities to know individual tendencies, the process of proper organization of literacy, literacy qualities of creative activity in the teaching process, the advantages of various creative tasks aimed at forming a creative imagination, ways to arouse interest in the learning material, the use of problem-based learning in literacy classes, the age and level of knowledge of students (...)
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  13. The Correlation of Historical Truth and Imagination in Christopher Marlowe’s Tragedy “Tamburlaine the Great”.Mokhichehra Pulatova Temirovna - unknown
    The article considers the correlation of the real facts and imagination in “Tamburlaine the Great” by Christopher Marlowe.
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  14. Imagination in Exemplary Religious Narratives: An Examination of a Saint, a Goddess, and the Work of Paul Ricoeur.Sarah Gallant - unknown
    This thesis examines the imaginary process employed in the construction of exemplary religious narratives. Exemplary narratives present figures that demonstrate specific virtues or ideals to be imitated, such as the saint in Christian hagiography. Hagiographical scholars, like Peter Brown, have alluded to the fact that the imagination plays a significant role in the construction and reception of these narratives, but have not, thus far, rigorously defined the imagination or its role in narrative construction. Similarly, contemporary writers, like Carol P. Christ, (...)
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  15. Rethinking the Theory of Communities of Practice in Education: Critical Reflection and Ethical Imagination.Ariel Sarid & Maya Levanon - 2022 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 54 (10):1693-1704.
    One of the leading theories of social learning today is Wenger's theory of Communities of Practice'. CoP-theory reiterates basic tenets of social learning theory yet it us set apart from other theories of social learning and education not only by centering on identity-formation but by positing four key dualities as inherent structural features of the educational process. While concurring with Wenger's 'dilemmatic' understanding of education and his open-ended, practice-based conception of identity-formation, we argue that Wenger's theory overlooks central elements that (...)
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  16. Imagination: A New Foundation for the Science of Mind.Stephen T. Asma - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-7.
    After a long hiatus, psychology and philosophy are returning to formal study of imagination. While excellent work is being done in the current environment, this article argues for a stronger thesis than usually adopted. Imagination is not just a peripheral feature of cognition or a domain for aesthetic research. It is instead the core operating system or cognitive capacity for humans and has epistemic and therapeutic functions that ground all our sense-making activities. A sketch of imagination as embodied cognition is (...)
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  17. Imagination and Experience: Philosophical Explorations.Íngrid Vendrell-Ferran & Christiana Werner (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  18. Creativity.Elliot Samuel Paul & Dustin Stokes - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  19. Transcultural Utopian Imagination and the Future: Tagore, Gandhi, Andrews, and India–Britain Entanglements in the Early 1930s.Barnita Bagchi - 2022 - Utopian Studies 33 (2):206-222.
    ABSTRACT This article focuses on the transcultural utopian imaginings of futures in early twentieth-century India and Britain, with Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, anticolonial politician M. K. Gandhi, and British Christian activist C. F. Andrews at the center. Homing in on two trips made to England by Tagore and Gandhi, especially their visits to Woodbrooke Quaker College in Birmingham, and on Gandhi’s visit to Lancashire, the article shows how British Christian and Quaker utopians and Indian utopians cooperated with each other. The (...)
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  20. Oxford Handbook of Sound and Imagination.Mark Grimshaw, Mads Walther-Hansen & Martin Knakkergaard (eds.) - 2019
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  21. "Fiction, Imagination, and Narrative".Patrik Engisch - forthcoming - In Patrik Engisch & Julia Langkau (eds.), The Philosophy of Fiction: Imagination and Cognition. New York, NY, USA: pp. 320.
    In a series of publications, Derek Matravers has challenged what he calls the “consensus view” of the nature of fiction. According to this consensus view, there is a conceptual route that starts with the notion of a prescription to imagine and that ends up with a systematic distinction between fiction and non-fictional representations. This paper engages in a systematic reconstruction of Matravers’ argument against the consensus view as well as a rebuttal of recent rejoinders offered by Gregory Currie and Kathleen (...)
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  22. Belief, Imagination, and Delusion.Ema Sullivan-Bissett (ed.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
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  23. “Imagination” in A Dialogue of Comfort.Dale B. Billingsley - 1982 - Moreana 19 (2):57-63.
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  24. The Role of Humor in Reforming the Imagination in St. Thomas More’s The Sadness of Christ and A Dialogue of Comfort.Louis W. Karlin & David R. Oakley - 2015 - Moreana 52 (1-2):155-189.
    This essay analyzes More’s use of humor in The Sadness of Christ and A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, and finds that rhetorical devices such as satire, parody and the telling of merry tales play an integral role in engaging the reader’s imagination. In these two late works, dealing with the most serious of subjects, the humanist More embraces the rhetorical tradition of Antiquity which assigned a creative function to the imagination and recognized mockery, irony and humor as means of (...)
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  25. Brison, Sylvain, L’Imagination Théologico-Politique de L’Église. Vers Une Ecclésiologie Narrative Avec William T. Cavanaugh.Michel Steinmetz - 2022 - Revue des Sciences Religieuses 96:273-274.
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  26. The Sense of Existence.Billon Alexandre - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    If I see, hear, or touch a sparrow, the sparrow seems real to me. Unlike Bigfoot or Santa Claus, it seems to exist; I will therefore judge that it does indeed exist. The “sense of existence” refers to the kind of awareness that typically grounds such ordinary judgments of existence or “reality.” The sense of existence has been invoked by Humeans, Kantians, Ideologists, and the phenomenological tradition to make substantial philosophical claims. However, it is extremely controversial; its very existence has (...)
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  27. L’Imagination. Actes du 37e Congrès de l’ASPLF.Jean-Yves Beziau & Daniel Schulthess (eds.) - 2020
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  28. Wittgenstein’s Investigations: Awakening the Imagination by Beth Savickey.Oskari Kuusela - 2020 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 1:86-92.
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  29. Knowledge, Imagination, and Stories in the Aesthetic Experience of Forests.Jukka Mikkonen - 2020 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 55 (1):3.
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  30. Origins of Order: Project and System in the American Legal Imagination: By Paul W. Kahn, Yale University Press, 2019, 325 Pp., £25.70 (Hardcover), ISBN: 9780300243413.Or Bassok - 2022 - Jurisprudence 13 (2):301-309.
    In his new book Origins of Order: Project and System in the American Legal Imagination, Paul Kahn uses a conceptual array that consists of two concepts: system and project. These two concepts are c...
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  31. The Politics of Judicial Imagination.Ben Golder - 2022 - Jurisprudence 13 (2):275-286.
    Maks Del Mar’s book, Artefacts of Legal Inquiry: The Value of Imagination in Adjudication, proposes a rich and generative conception of judicial imagination. This essay reflects upon and then deplo...
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  32. ‘Picnic, Lightning’: The Normative Role of Imagination in Legal Inquiry.Jonathan Crowe - 2022 - Jurisprudence 13 (2):267-274.
    ‘No trace anywhere of life’, Samuel Beckett says, ‘pah, no difficulty there, imagination not dead yet, yes, dead, good, imagination dead imagine’.1 Imagination oscillates in Beckett’s dense text be...
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  33. Is It the Understanding or the Imagination That Synthesizes?Janum Sethi - 2022 - Kant Studien 113 (3):535-554.
    A common reading of Kant’s notion of synthesis takes it to be carried out by the imagination in a manner guided by the concepts of the understanding. I point to a significant problem for this reading: it is the reproductive imagination that carries out the syntheses of apprehension and reproduction, and Kant claims repeatedly that the reproductive imagination is governed solely by its own laws of association. In light of this, I argue for a different division of the labor of (...)
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  34. The Epistemic Imagination Revisited.Arnon Levy - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Recently, various philosophers have argued that we can obtain knowledge via the imagination. In particular, it has been suggested that we can come to know concrete, empirical matters of everyday significance by appropriately imagining relevant scenarios. Arguments for this thesis come in two main varieties: black box reliability arguments and constraints-based arguments. We suggest that both strategies are unsuccessful. Against black-box arguments, we point to evidence from empirical psychology, question a central case-study, and raise concerns about a (claimed) evolutionary rationale (...)
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  35. The Category and Phenomenon of the Prototype in the Context of the Phenomenological-Dialectical Concept of A. F. Losev and the Phenomenology of the Poetic Imagination of G. Bashlyar. [REVIEW]Viacheslav Dubovitskii - 2022 - Философия И Культура 6:47-65.
    The subject of this research is, first of all, the ontological and phenomenological aspects of the prototype as a category and a kind of phenomenon in the field of art and poetic imagination. The research is carried out mainly on the material of the phenomenological-dialectical concept of A. F. Losev and the phenomenology of the poetic imagination of G. Bashlyar. The historical, philosophical and theological contexts of the concept of the prototype of Losev are revealed. The emphasis is made on (...)
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  36. The Aesthetics of Science: Beauty, Imagination and Understanding.Julia Sánchez-Dorado - forthcoming - British Journal of Aesthetics.
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  37. Two Concepts of Belief Strength: Epistemic Confidence and Identity Centrality.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13:1-4.
    What does it mean to have “strong beliefs”? My thesis is that it can mean two very different things. That is, there are two distinct psychological features to which “strong belief” can refer, and these often come apart. I call the first feature epistemic confidence and the second identity centrality. They are conceptually distinct and, if we take ethnographies of religion seriously, distinct in fact as well. If that’s true, it’s methodologically important for the psychological sciences to have measures that (...)
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  38. Arnon Levy & Peter Godfrey-Smith (Eds.), The Scientific Imagination: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives, New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. [REVIEW]Adam Toon - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (3):1-3.
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  39. Can the Imagination View of Dreaming Resolve the Awake-Dreaming Indistinguishability Problem?Ka Yan Mok - unknown
    In his Meditations On First Philosophy, Descartes points out the awakedreaming indistinguishability problem, which calls into question the reliability of our knowledge about the external world. The argument can be understood as follows: P1) Nothing can rule out the subject being duped into believing she is in X when she is actually in Y. P2) A person can know that she is in Y only if there is something to rule out her being duped into believing she is in X (...)
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  40. The Paradoxes of Analogical Representation: The Original and a Copy in Phenomenological Imagination Theory.Elena Drozhetskaya - 2022 - HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology 11 (1):208-228.
    This article deals with a phenomenological standpoint on paradoxicality of image-consciousness, i.e., an analogical representation in which an image possesses material support. Contrary to tradition, E. Husserl thought of imagination as being both an intuitive and a mediate act. Husserl’s opinion results from paradoxical nature of an image itself: an image appears but it doesn’t exist, while the exhibited thing does exist but doesn’t appear in proper sense. The paradoxicality of an image results in its double conflict — with actual (...)
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  41. Shifts in the Scientific Mind: Mapping Einstein’s Views on Imagination.Eduardo Federico Gutierrez Gonzalez - 2022 - In M. Fuller, D. Evers & A. Runehov (eds.), Issues in Science and Theology: Creative Pluralism?
    How do scientists and theologians conceive new ways of mapping the world? Can parallels be found between the images they use, or the models they offer when new questions arise? I will explore Albert Einstein’s views on scientific imagination with the goal of contributing – at least within his own perspective – to answering these questions. Drawing on McGrath, I will first briefly describe Einstein’s desire for a unified vision of reality, the links between science and a ‘cosmic religion’, and (...)
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  42. The Role of Imagination in Explaining Revelation From the Perspective of Hakim Ibn Sina and Mulla Sadra.Mohammad Dargahzadeh & Mohammad Mahdavi - 2022 - Philosophical Investigations 16 (38):214-231.
    This study compares and explains the explanation of revelation in minor matters and the role of the Prophet's imagination in this process from the perspective of Ibn Sina and Mulla Sadra. The research findings indicate that the source of revelation knowledge is active intellect ; The teachings of the active intellect are general, and both philosophers have given an important role to the imagination of the prophet in explaining the quality of receiving the revelatory partial teachings. The role of imagination (...)
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  43. Phantasie in Language Formation?: Imagination in Hegel’s “Psychology”.Mark Antony Jalalum - 2022 - Kritike 16 (1):74-95.
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  44. The Imagination in German Idealism and Romanticism. [REVIEW]Luigi Filieri - 2020 - Journal of Transcendental Philosophy 1 (2):243-250.
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  45. Imagination.Valerie van Mulukom - 2022 - Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 6 (1):127-130.
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  46. Neurocognitive and Evolutionary Perspective on Adaptive Imagination.Robert J. King & Fatima M. Felisberti - 2021 - Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 5 (2):41-44.
  47. Evolution of Imagination: From Completely Involuntary to Fully Voluntary.Andrey Vyshedskiy - 2021 - Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 5 (2):65-70.
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  48. Collective, Joint, and Shared Imagination?Jeppe Sinding Jensen - 2021 - Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 5 (2):53-56.
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  49. Imagination in the Generation of Pictures and Interpersonal Scenarios.Keith Oatley - 2021 - Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 5 (1):67-72.
    In Imagination, Jim Davies explains that most humans have mental imagery: an ability to make pictures in the mind without immediate perceptual input-as we do when we dream. Davies writes programs that enable computers to do something similar. Given a few words of description, a computer can generate pictures with several objects arranged in appropriate ways. Jonathan Gilmore’s Apt Imaginings is about whether engagement in works of fiction is continuous or discontinuous with how we deal with people and objects in (...)
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  50. Clare Hanson: Genetics and the Literary Imagination.Emelie Jonsson - 2021 - Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 5 (1):87-90.
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1 — 50 / 1904