Towards a Philosophy of Imagination: A Study of Gilbert Durand and Paul Ricoeur

Dissertation, Mcgill University (Canada) (1981)

A satisfactory definition of the imagination has proved elusive in Western philosophy. Two contemporary French thinkers, Gilbert Durand and Paul Ricoeur, are concerned with establishing a fundamental philosophy of imagination. For Durand the imagination is the source of symbolic mediations that are both therapeutic and theophanic. His theory is grounded in a Platonist-esoteric tradition which he supports by a philosophy of the imaginal . Ricoeur, in contrast, sees the imagination as a creative cognitive mediator in a dialectic model of knowledge. Within a critical framework the imagination functions at the limits of experience and expression as a catalyst provoking new insights and ways of being. Both theories support a philosophy that rehabilitates the imagination from its former denigrated and suspect categorizations, though Ricoeur's programme is more relevant to contemporary philosophical issues
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