Synthese 198 (Suppl 13):3171-3192 (2019)

Tobias Rosefeldt
Humboldt-University, Berlin
In recent years, more and more people have become attracted by the idea that the imagination should play a central role in explaining our knowledge of what is possible and necessary and what would be the case if things were different from how they actually are. The biggest challenge for this account is to explain how the imagination can be restricted in such a way that it can play this epistemic role, for there are certainly also unrestricted uses of the imagination in which it fails to yield the requisite knowledge. In this paper, I inquire how Kant’s account of the imagination could inspire the contemporary debate at this point. I first give an overview about Kant’s account of the imagination and its different roles for our cognition of the real world. I then show that some recent attempts to separate the epistemically valuable uses of the imagination from the epistemically worthless ones bear some striking similarities to Kant’s ideas about how the imagination helps us to get insight into metaphysical possibility. By discussing what Kant says about the method of a priori imaginative construction in the case of concepts such as that of matter and that of disembodied minds, I also point to those aspects of his view which make his views really distinct from all contemporary accounts, but which he himself thought bear the greatest potential of making the imagination a source of modal knowledge.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02100-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,265
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
Does Conceivability Entail Possibility.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kant on the Imagination and Geometrical Certainty.Mary Domski - 2010 - Perspectives on Science 18 (4):409-431.
On Kant's Persistent Stance on Imagination.Jian-jun Wang - 2008 - Modern Philosophy 2:109-113.
Imagination Through Knowledge.Shannon Spaulding - 2016 - In Amy Kind & Peter Kung (eds.), Knowledge Through Imagination. Oxford University Press. pp. 207-226.
Imagination and Inner Intuition.Andrew Stephenson - 2017 - In Andrew Stephenson & Anil Gomes (eds.), Kant and the philosophy of Mind: Perception, Reason, and the Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 104-123.
Crossing the Line: Sellars on Kant on Imagination.Luca Corti - 2012 - Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 41 (1-3):41-71.
The Imagination in Kant and Fichte, and Some Reflections on Heidegger’s Interpretation.George J. Seidel - 2016 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 21 (2):213-223.


Added to PP index

Total views
66 ( #173,748 of 2,507,683 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #63,610 of 2,507,683 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes