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. Centred Worlds, Personal Identity and Imagination.Andrea Sauchelli - forthcoming - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 1.
    The Centred View offers an account of the connection between imagination and possibility that combines the centred world framework with some allegedly appealing intuitions regarding our persistence over time. In particular, Dilip Ninan suggests that the Centred View has the theoretical advantage of respecting our intuitions about cases of personal identity in certain imaginative scenarios while also being compatible with physicalism. Unfortunately, the Centred View faces a series of serious objections and should ultimately be rejected.
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  2. Thomas Fulton, The Book of Books. Biblical Interpretation, Literary Culture, and the Political Imagination from Erasmus to Milton. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021, 371 p. [REVIEW]Jonathan von Kodar - 2021 - Laval Théologique et Philosophique 77 (1):166-167.
  3. The Empathy Dilemma: Democratic Deliberation, Epistemic Injustice and the Problem of Empathetic Imagination.Catriona Mackenzie & Sarah Sorial - 2022 - Res Publica 28 (2):365-389.
    One of the challenges facing complex democratic societies marked by deep normative disagreements and differences along lines of race, gender, sexuality, culture and religion is how the perspectives of diverse individuals and social groups can be made effectively present in the deliberative process. In response to this challenge, a number of political theorists have argued that empathetic perspective-taking is critical for just democratic deliberation, and that a well-functioning democracy requires the cultivation in citizens of empathetic skills and virtues. In this (...)
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  4. L'imagination En Morale Dans la Philosophie Contemporaine de Langue Anglaise.Solange Chavel - 2012 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 4:543-562.
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  5. Divided by Language, but United in the Imagination?Yiftach Fehige - 2022 - Sophia 61 (1):61-77.
    In my contribution to this special issue, I draw attention to the topic of the imagination at the interface of modern science and Christian theology. The paper entertains in critical perspective the notion that language divides, while the imagination unites. While the paper is intended to be explorative, a clear thesis emerges: in its commitment to consilience, Christian theology is directed to the imagination under the pressure of the pluralizing effects of a reason that is constrained by language.
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  6. Imagination, jugements et émotions.Éléonore Le Jallé - 2022 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 2:209-222.
  7. Scientists Are Epistemic Consequentialists About Imagination.Michael T. Stuart - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Scientists imagine for epistemic reasons, and these imaginings can be better or worse. But what does it mean for an imagining to be epistemically better or worse? There are at least three metaepistemological frameworks that present different answers to this question: epistemological consequentialism, deontic epistemology, and virtue epistemology. This paper presents empirical evidence that scientists adopt each of these different epistemic frameworks with respect to imagination, but argues that the way they do this is best explained if scientists are fundamentally (...)
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  8. Imagination in Science.Alice Murphy - forthcoming - Wiley: Philosophy Compass.
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  9. Futurism and the African Imagination: Literature and Other Arts.Dike Okoro - 2021 - Routledge.
    This book investigates how African authors and artists have explored themes of the future and technology within their works. Afrofuturism was coined in the 1990s as a means of exploring the intersection of African diaspora culture with technology, science and science fiction. However, this book argues that literature and other arts within Africa has always reflected on themes of futurism, across diverse forms of speculative writing, images, spirituality, myth, magical realism, the supernatural, performance and other forms of oral resources. This (...)
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  10. The Embodied Imagination in Antebellum American Art and Culture.Catherine Holochwost - 2020 - Routledge.
    "This book reveals a new history of the imagination told through its engagement with the body. American audiences avidly consumed a transatlantic visual culture picturing a preindustrial-and largely imaginary- European past. By examining both the artistic production and critical and popular reception of these works, the book analyzes their similarities with other forms of mass culture, including gift books, theatrical performances and spectacles such as blackface minstrelsy, Romantic ballet, and burlesque opera. The book will be of interest to scholars of (...)
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  11. The Neoliberal Imagination: Politics, Aesthetics and Economics in the Evolution of Hyper-Industrial Capitalism.Ross Abbinnett - 2020 - Routledge.
    Introduction: What is the Neoliberal Imagination? -- Liberalism, Enlightenment, and Bourgeois Society -- Capitalism and the Progress of the World -- Capital and the 'Natural History of Destruction' -- Consumption, Individualism, and Mass Society -- Neoliberalism and the Postmodern Moment -- Globalization and the Aesthetics of the Anthropocene -- Posthumanism and Accelerationism -- Power, Sovereignty, and the Return of the Repressed -- Conclusion: Alternative Imaginaries.
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  12. Paul Ricoeur’s Philosophical Anthropology as Hermeneutics of Liberation: Freedom, Justice, and the Power of Imagination.Roger W. H. Savage - 2020 - Routledge.
    This book offers a unique account of the role imagination plays in advancing the course of freedom's actualization. It draws on Paul Ricoeur's philosophical anthropology of the capable human being as the staging ground for an extended inquiry into the challenges of making freedom a reality within the history of humankind. This book locates the abilities we exercise as capable human beings at the heart of a sustained analysis and reflection on the place of the idea of justice in a (...)
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  13. Photography and Imagination.Amos Morris-Reich & Margaret Rose Olin - 2019 - Routledge.
    As the prototypical exemplar of modern visual technology, photography was once viewed as a way to enable vision to bypass imagination, producing more reliable representations of reality. But as an achievement of technological modernity, photography can also be seen as a way to realize a creation of the imagination more vividly than can painting or drawing. Photography and Imagination investigates, from diverse points of view focusing on both theory and practice, the relation between these two terms. The book explores their (...)
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  14. The Ethical Imagination: Exploring Fantasy and Desire in Analytical Psychology.Sean Fitzpatrick - 2019 - Routledge.
    Introduction -- Imagining the imagination -- What do we make of fantasy? -- Imagining ethics -- Eating the liver, killing the tortoise: the ethical and the imaginal -- A dream of the desiring imagination -- The law of the land -- Conclusions.
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  15. Reading Architecture: Literary Imagination and Architectural Experience.Angeliki Sioli & Yoonchun Jung - 2018 - Routledge.
    Why write instead of draw when it comes to architecture? Why rely on literary pieces instead of architectural treatises and writings when it comes to the of study buildings and urban environments? Why rely on literary techniques and accounts instead of architectural practices and analysis when it comes to academic research and educational projects? Why trust authors and writers instead of sociologists or scientists when it comes to planning for the future of cities? This book builds on the existing interdisciplinary (...)
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  16. The Anti-Pelagian Imagination in Political Theory and International Relations: Dealing in Darkness.Nicholas Rengger - 2017 - Routledge.
    This volume draws together some of the key works of Nicholas Rengger, focusing on the theme of the 'anti-Pelagian imagination' in political theory and international relations. Rengger frames the collection with a detailed introduction that sketches out this 'imagination', its origins and character, and puts the chapters that follow into context with the work of other theorists, including Bull, Connolly, Gray, Strauss, Elshtain and Kant. The volume concludes with an epilogue contrasting two different ways of reading this sensibility and offering (...)
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  17. Politics and the Concept of the Political: The Political Imagination.James Wiley - 2016 - Routledge.
    A recent trend in contemporary western political theory is to criticize it for implicitly trying to "conquer," "displace" or "moralize" politics. James Wiley's book takes the "next step," from criticizing contemporary political theory, to showing what a more "politics-centered" political theory would look like by exploring the meaning and value of politics in the writings of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, Paul Ricoeur, Hannah Arendt, Sheldon Wolin, Claude Lefort, and Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. These political theorists all use the concept (...)
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  18. Criminal Justice Ethics: Cultivating the Moral Imagination.Sharon Hayes - 2015 - Routledge.
    It is essential for those employed within the justice system to be able to competently and confidently work at the borders between ethics and the law.Criminal Justice Ethics offers a fresh new approach to considering ethical issues in a criminal justice context. Rather than simply offering a range of ethical dilemmas specific to various justice professionals, it provides extensive discussion of how individuals develop their 'moral imaginations' using ethical perspectives and practices, both as citizens of the world and as practitioners (...)
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  19. The Material Imagination: Reveries on Architecture and Matter.Matthew Mindrup - 2015 - Routledge.
    In recent years architectural discourse has witnessed a renewed interest in materiality under the guise of such familiar tropes as 'material honesty,' 'form finding,' or 'digital materiality.' As an alternative to a formal approach in architectural design, this book challenges readers to rethink the reverie of materials in architecture through an examination of historical precedent, architectural practice, literary sources, philosophical analyses and everyday experience. Focusing on matter as the premise of an architect’s imagination, each chapter identifies and graphically illustrates how (...)
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  20. The Dog in the Dickensian Imagination.Beryl Gray - 2014 - Routledge.
    In her study of Dickens’s relationship to canines, Gray shows that dogs, real and invented, were intrinsic to Dickens’s vision and experience of London and its representation. She makes use of personal reminiscences, periodicals, images of dogs by portrait artists and Dickens’s illustrators, and institutional archives to shed light not only on Dickens’s life and works, but also on his society’s complex and conflicting perceptions of and attitudes towards dogs.
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  21. Politics and the Religious Imagination.John H. A. Dyck & Paul S. Rowe - 2010 - Routledge.
    Politics and the Religious Imagination is the product of a group of interdisciplinary scholars each analyzing the connections between religious narratives and the construction of regional and global politics, combining a set of theoretical and philosophic insights with several case studies that represent varied geographies and religious customs. The past decade has seen increasing interest in the links between religion and politics, and this edited volume seeks to take religion seriously as a motivator of action. Few studies have attempted to (...)
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  22. Mortality and the Literary Imagination: Religion & Public Life.Gabriel R. Ricci - 2009 - Routledge.
    In a letter to Boccaccio, Petrarch extolled the virtue of poetry and letters for promoting an understanding of both human nature and morals. The letter was designed to console him after hearing a prediction that he was soon to die and that he ought to renounce poetry. The prophecy came from an elder renowned for his piety, but Petrarch admonished that too often dishonesty and fraud are couched in religious sentiments. Nothing, not even death, according to Petrarch, ought to divert (...)
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  23. Women, Imagination and the Search for Truth in Early Modern France.Rebecca May Wilkin - 2008 - Routledge.
    Grounded in medical, juridical, and philosophical texts of 16th- and 17th-century France, this study tells the story of how the idea of woman contributed to the emergence of modern science. It challenges scholars to revise deeply held notions regarding the place of women in the early modern search for truth.
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  24. Aesthetics, Imagination and the Unity of Experience.R. K. Elliott & Paul Crowther - 2006 - Routledge.
    R.K. Elliott's essays on aesthetics put forward a number of common themes that together constitute a unified approach to aesthetics. Throughout his writing, Elliott combines analytic rigour with sympathy for ideas in continental philosophy. This book, the first to gather together Elliott's key essays, powerfully illuminates the unifying role of imagination and the aesthetic in human experience.
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  25. American & European Literary Imagination.McCormick John - 2000 - Routledge.
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  26. Catastrophe & Imagination: English & American Writings From 1870 to 1950.John Mccormick - 1998 - Routledge.
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  27. Reason and Imagination: Studies in the History of Ideas 1600-1800.Joseph Anthony Mazzeo - 1962 - Routledge.
    First published in 1962, Reason and Imagination presents collection of fourteen essays dedicated to Marjorie Hope Nicholson and is divided equally between works of her colleagues and of her former students. It contains themes like noble numbers and poetry of devotion, Cromwell as Davidic King, the isolation of the renaissances hero, Milton's dialogue on Astronomy, music, mirth and galenic traditions in England, the Augustan conception of history, Locke and Sterne, and literary criticism and artistic interpretation, to weave a narrative of (...)
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  28. Will, Imagination & Reason: Babbitt, Croce and the Problem of Reality.Claes G. Ryn - 1997 - Routledge.
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  29. Impossible Dreams: Rationality, Integrity, and Moral Imagination.Susan E. Babbitt - 1996 - Routledge.
  30. Dead Dogma and the Limits of Feminist Political Imagination: Thinking #Metoo as Consciousness-Raising.Michaele Ferguson - 2022 - Theory and Event 25 (2):275-303.
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  31. Revelation of the Continents of Imagination.Roman Galovič - 2022 - Wiley: Anthropology of Consciousness 33 (1):112-142.
    Anthropology of Consciousness, Volume 33, Issue 1, Page 112-142, Spring 2022.
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  32. Revelation of the Continents of Imagination.Roman Galovič - 2022 - Wiley: Anthropology of Consciousness 33 (1):112-142.
    Anthropology of Consciousness, Volume 33, Issue 1, Page 112-142, Spring 2022.
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  33. William Beinart and Saul Dubow, The Scientific Imagination in South Africa: 1700 to the Present Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022, Pp. 406. ISBN 987-1-1088-3708-8. £64.99 (Hardback). [REVIEW]Gianamar Giovannetti-Singh - 2022 - British Journal for the History of Science 55 (1):121-122.
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  34. Imagination in Science.Alice Murphy - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass:e12836.
    While discussions of the imagination have been limited in philosophy of science, this is beginning to change. In recent years, a vast literature on imagination in science has emerged. This paper surveys the current field, including the changing attitudes towards the scientific imagination, the fiction view of models, how the imagination can lead to knowledge and understanding, and the value of different types of imagination. It ends with a discussion of the gaps in the current literature, indicating avenues for future (...)
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  35. For a Theory That is Both Critical and Mathematical: Handelman, Matthew, The Mathematical Imagination: On the Origins and Promise of Critical Theory.Jessie Joshua Lino & Esmeralda Manlulu - 2021 - Kritike 15 (2):126-146.
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  36. Forced Migration and Forced Disjunctions: An Exploration of Imagination's Role in Changing Long‐Standing Cultural Identity and Lifeways.MaryBeth Chrostowsky - 2021 - Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 49 (4):437-459.
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  37. Imagination as a skill: A Bayesian proposal.Andrea Blomkvist - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    In recent works, Kind has argued that imagination is a skill, since it possesses the two hallmarks of skill: improvability by practice, and control. I agree with Kind that and are indeed hallmarks of skill, and I also endorse her claim that imagination is a skill in virtue of possessing these two features. However, in this paper, I argue that Kind’s case for imagination’s being a skill is unsatisfactory, since it lacks robust empirical evidence. Here, I will provide evidence for (...)
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  38. Cosmopolitanism and the Colonizing Imagination in Ancient Rome.Jerise Fogel - 2003 - Intertexts 7 (2):185-199.
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  39. Imagination as Crisis: Spinoza on the Naturalisation and Denaturalisation of Capitalist Relations.Anna Piekarska & Jakub Krzeski - forthcoming - Historical Materialism:1-33.
    Many current Marxist debates point to a crisis of imagination as a challenge to emancipatory thoughts and actions. The naturalisation of the capitalist mode of production within the production of subjectivity is among the chief reasons behind this state of affairs. This article contributes to the debate by focusing on the notion of imagination, marked by a deep ambivalence capable of both naturalising and denaturalising social relations constitutive of the established order. Such an understanding of imagination is constructed from within (...)
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  40. Thinking Through the Imagination: Aesthetics in Human Cognition.Daniel J. Brunson - 2016 - The Pluralist 11 (2):111-117.
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  41. Un Manque D’Imagination : Récits En Concurrence Sur le 11 Septembre.Mark Fenster & Brigitte Rollet - 2016 - Diogène 1:177-189.
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  42. Thought Experiments and the Scientific Imagination.Alice Murphy - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
    Thought experiments (TEs) are important tools in science, used to both undermine and support theories, and communicate and explain complex phenomena. Their interest within philosophy of science has been dominated by a narrow question: How do TEs increase knowledge? My aim is to push beyond this to consider their broader value in scientific practice. I do this through an investigation into the scientific imagination. Part one explores questions regarding TEs as “experiments in the imagination” via a debate concerning the epistemic (...)
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  43. Hope and Education: The Role of the Utopian Imagination.Arthur B. Shostak - 2006 - Utopian Studies 17 (3):541-543.
  44. Erotic Utopia: The Decadent Imagination in Russia's Fin de Siecle.Kendra H. Millis - 2006 - Utopian Studies 17 (2):413-417.
  45. The English Radical Imagination: Culture, Religion, and Revolution, 1630-1660.Mark Stephen Jendrysik - 2005 - Utopian Studies 16 (2):303-307.
  46. In the Eye of the Animal: Zoological Imagination in Ancient Christianity.Oliver B. Langworthy - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):203-209.
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  47. Animal Dignity and Sympathetic Imagination: Martha Nussbaum and an Analysis of the Treatment of Non-Human Animals.Iva Martinic - 2022 - Filozofija I Društvo 33 (1):218-232.
    In this paper, I analyse Martha Nussbaum?s view of how we should treat non-human animals, which she links to her capabilities approach. This approach offers a conception of justice or, as Nussbaum puts it, a collection of fundamental rights that specify some of the necessary elements for a just society. In addition to justice for human beings, this approach includes animal rights. The basis for the discussion consists of two elements that justify the claim that every animal deserves to live (...)
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  48. (Dis)Continuism and Mechanisms.Matheus Diesel Werberich - unknown
    Today’s philosophers of memory are split between continuists, who claim that episodic memory (EM) and imagination (EI) belong to the same natural kind, and discontinuists, who defend that they don’t. This abstract considers how assumptions about which mechanisms are relevant for natural kindness shape this discussion. If the argument is in the right track, the (dis)continuism debate should be characterized as a verbal dispute about the important mechanisms for EM and EI.
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  49. Epistemic Uses of Imagination.Tom Schoonen - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
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  50. The Thread of Imagination in Heidegger’s Retrieval of Kant: The Play of a Double Hermeneutic.Frank Schalow - 2021 - In Cynthia D. Coe (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of German Idealism and Phenomenology. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 511-528.
    Throughout his career, Heidegger undertakes a dialogue with Kant. That dialogue casts new light on Kant’s transcendental philosophy and also serves as a leaping-off point to radicalize Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. The chapter argues that Heidegger’s interpretation of Kant plays out on two fronts. First, Heidegger dismantles extraneous aspects of Kant’s philosophy that remain mired in rationalism; secondly, Heidegger retrieves those elements of transcendental philosophy that align with his attempt to re-ask the question of being and to ground that inquiry upon (...)
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1 — 50 / 1816