Philosophical Perspectives on Imagination in the Western Tradition

In Anna Abraham (ed.), Cambridge Handbook of Imagination (forthcoming)

Authors
Amy Kind
Claremont McKenna College
Abstract
Philosophers in the Western tradition have both theorized about imagination and used imagination in their theorizing about other matters. In this chapter, I first provide a brief overview of philosophical theorizing about imagination with a special focus on its relation to other mental states such as belief and perception. I then turn to a discussion of the methodological role that imagination has played in philosophy. I here focus on the imaginability principle, i.e., the claim that the imaginability of a given scenario entails that such a scenario is in some sense possible. Relying on this kind of principle, philosophers have used imagination to justify theories in domains such as philosophy of mind, metaphysics and ethics.
Keywords imagination  thought experiments  imaginability principle
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