_Imagination_ is an outstanding contribution to a notoriously elusive and confusing subject. It skillfully interrelates problems in philosophy, the history of ideas and literary theory and criticism, tracing the evolution of the concept of imagination from Hume and Kant in the eighteenth century to Ryle, Sartre and Wittgenstein in the twentieth. She strongly belies that the cultivation of imagination should be the chief aim of education and one of her objectives in writing the book has been to put forward reasons (...) why this is so. Purely philosophical treatment of the concept is shown to be related to its use in the work of Coleridge and Wordsworth, who she considers to be the creators of a new kind of awareness with more than literary implications. The purpose of her historical account is to suggest that the role of imagination in our perception and thought is more pervasive than may at first sight appear, and that the thread she traces is an important link joining apparently different areas of our experience. She argues that imagination is an essential element in both our awareness of the world and our attaching of value to it. (shrink)
I distinguish temptation to do what we think we shouldn't, temptation not to do what we think we should, and the difficulties we experience in customary religious practices like prayer. I ask whether temptation requires a tempter, also whether the phenomena we call ‘weakness of will’ can be explained without postulating a non-cognitive faculty of will. I look at Plato's claim that training the emotions is the main function of education. Finally I consider how obstacles to prayer can be understood (...) consistently with seeing a continuous development from the natural to the supernatural. (shrink)
abstract I first summarise Martha Nussbaum's theory of emotion and place it against its historical background. Borrowing distinctions from Plato I then argue that the emotions discussed in Hiding From Humanity affect us primarily as social beings, not as individuals, and suggest modifying and educating them by social means.