Reduction has long been a favourite method of analysis in all areas of philosophy, but in recent years there has been a reaction against it. The contributors to this volume examine the motivations for such anti-reductionist views and assess their coherence and success in a number of fields.
The concept of the imaginary is pervasive within contemporary thought, yet can be a baffling and often controversial term. In Imagination and the Imaginary , Kathleen Lennon explores the links between imagination - regarded as the faculty of creating images or forms - and the imaginary, which links such imagery with affect or emotion and captures the significance which the world carries for us. Beginning with an examination of contrasting theories of imagination proposed by Hume and Kant, Lennon argues that (...) the imaginary is not something in opposition to the real, but the very faculty through which the world is made real to us. She then turns to the vexed relationship between perception and imagination and, drawing on Kant, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre, explores some fundamental questions, such as whether there is a distinction between the perceived and the imagined; the relationship between imagination and creativity; and the role of the body in perception and imagination. Invoking also Spinoza and Coleridge, Lennon argues that, far from being a realm of illusion, the imaginary world is our most direct mode of perception. She then explores the role the imaginary plays in the formation of the self and the social world. A unique feature of the volume is that it compares and contrasts a philosophical tradition of thinking about the imagination - running from Kant and Hume to Strawson and John McDowell - with the work of phenomenological, psychoanalytic, poststructuralist and feminist thinkers such as Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Lacan, Castoriadis, Irigaray, Gatens and Lloyd. This makes I magination and the Imaginary essential reading for students and scholars working in phenomenology, philosophy of perception, social theory, cultural studies and aesthetics. Cover Image: Bronze Bowl with Lace , Ursula Von Rydingsvard, 2014. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Lelong and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photo Jonty Wilde. (shrink)
Feminist scholars advocate the adoption of distinctive values in research. While this constitutes a coherent alternative to the more frequently cited cognitive or scientific values, they cannot be taken to supplant those more orthodox values. Instead, each set might better be understood as a local epistemology guiding research answerable to different cognitive goals. Feminist scholars advocate the adoption of distinctive values in research. While this constitutes a coherent alternative to the more frequently cited cognitive or scientific values, they cannot be (...) taken to supplant those more orthodox values. Instead, each set might better be understood as a local epistemology guiding research answerable to different cognitive goals. (shrink)
This collection is one of the first to offer feminist perspectives on epistemology from thinkers outside North America. It presents essays from an international group of contributors, including Rosi Braidotti, Gemma Corradi Fiumara, Anna Yeatman, Sabina Lovibond and Liz Stanley. Using approaches and methods from both analytic and continental philosophy, the contributors engage with questions of traditional epistemology and with issues raised by postmodernist critiques. The essays deal with the central question of difference: the difference which a feminist perspective yields (...) in relation to traditional knowledge and the effects on feminist perspectives of differences between women. This awareness of difference requires a re-evaluation of the idea of objectivity and the justification of knowledge claims in ways that focus attention on the subjects who constitute the knowledge producers. Knowing the Difference presents some of the most innovative thinking in feminist epistemology and sets the agenda for the next decade. (shrink)
This paper defends what the philosopher Merleau Ponty coins 'the imaginary texture of the real'. It is suggested that the imagination is at work in the everyday world which we perceive, the world as it is for us. In defending this view a concept of the imagination is invoked which has both similarities with and differences from, our everyday notion. The everyday notion contrasts the imaginary and the real. The imaginary is tied to the fictional or the illusory. Here it (...) will be suggested, following both Kant and Strawson, that there is a more fundamental working of the imagination, present in both perception and the constructions of fictions. What Kant and Strawson failed to make clear, however, was that the workings of the imagination within the perceived world, gives that world, an affective logic. The domain of affect is that of emotions, feelings and desire, and to claim such an affective logic in the world we experience, is to point out that it has salience and significance for us. Such salience suggests and demands the desiring and sometimes fearful responses we make to it; the shape of the perceived world echoed in the shapes our bodies take within it. (shrink)
This paper defends what the philosopher Merleau Ponty coins ‘the imaginary texture of the real’. It is suggested that the imagination is at work in the everyday world which we perceive, the world as it is for us. In defending this view a concept of the imagination is invoked which has both similarities with and differences from, our everyday notion. The everyday notion contrasts the imaginary and the real. The imaginary is tied to the fictional or the illusory. Here it (...) will be suggested, following both Kant and Strawson, that there is a more fundamental working of the imagination, present in both perception and the constructions of fictions. What Kant and Strawson failed to make clear, however, was that the workings of the imagination within the perceived world, gives that world, an affective logic. The domain of affect is that of emotions, feelings and desire, and to claim such an affective logic in the world we experience, is to point out that it has salience and significance for us. Such salience suggests and demands the desiring and sometimes fearful responses we make to it; the shape of the perceived world echoed in the shapes our bodies take within it. (shrink)
In this article, we explore Beauvoir’s account of what she claims is an alienated relation to our ageing bodies. This body can inhibit an active engagement with the world, which marks our humanity. Her claims rest on the binary between the body-for-itself and the body-in-itself. She shares this binary with Sartre, but a perceptive phenomenology of the affective body can also be found, which works against this binary and allows her thought to be brought into conversation with Levinas. For Levinas, (...) the susceptibility of the body is constitutive of our subjectivity, rather than a source of alienation. If we develop Beauvoir’s thought in the direction of his, an ontological structure is suggested, distinct from Sartre – a structure which makes room for her pervasive attention to affectivity. (shrink)
In this paper I distil a concept of the imaginary with which to make good the claim that our mode of embodied subjectivity is an imaginary embodiment in an imaginary world. The concept of the imaginary employed is not one in which imaginary worlds are contrasted with the real, but one in which imagination is a condition of there being a real for us. The images and forms in terms of which our imagined bodies and worlds are constituted carry, in (...) an interdependent way, cognition and affects. Imagined configurations have a resilience which makes their displacement more than a matter of appealing to considerations of truth or falsity. It involves encounters with alternative imagined configurations which can be recognized as making both cognitive and affective sense. (shrink)
In this article, we explore the relation between bodies and selves evident in the narratives surrounding aesthetic surgery. In much feminist work on aesthetic surgery, such narratives have been discussed in terms of the normalising consequences of the objectifying, homogenising, cosmetic gaze. These discussions stress the ways in which we model our bodies, under the gaze of others, in order to conform to social norms. Such an objectified body is contrasted with the subjective body; the body-for-the-self. In this article, however, (...) we wish to make sense of the narratives surrounding such surgery by invoking the expressive body, which fits on neither side of this binary. We wish to explore how the modification of the body’s anatomical features is taken to be a modification of its expressive possibilities, and therefore a modification of possibilities for inter-subjective relations with others. It is such expressive possibilities that, we suggest, underlie decisions to undergo surgical procedures. The possibility of modification of the expressive possibilities of the body, by the modification of its anatomical features, rests on the social imaginaries attached to anatomical features. In the context of such imaginaries, individual decisions to undergo or promote surgery can be both intelligible and potentially empowering. However, the social consequences of such acts are an increasing normalisation of the ‘body under the knife’ and an intolerance of bodily difference. This, we suggest, can only be changed by a re-visioning of bodily imaginaries so that expressive possibilities can be experienced across bodies with a range of physiological features. (shrink)
In this paper I want to suggest that causal and interpretive approaches to epistemology are in tension with one another. Drawing on the work of hermeneutic writers I suggest that epistemological justification is an interpretive process. The possibility of rational justification requires attention to our locatedness within the domain of reasons, into which we have been culturally initiated. The recognition that there is no transcendent processes of rational justification has to be addressed from within this framework and cannot be resolved (...) in a naturalizing way. The turn to hermeneutics in the context of epistemology allows us to reassign a central role to experience within epistemological justification. Here the very features of experience which render problematic its role in empiricist accounts form the basis of its position in hermeneutic ones. This presents us with an immanent conception of rationality, in place of the transcendent conception which so many writers have problematized. (shrink)
Including contributions from an international list of renowned authors, this text seeks to address the controversial issue of difference in feminist philosophy, using approaches from both analytic and continental thinking.
A welcome introduction to one of the most intellectually demanding areas of the undergraduate philosophy curriculum. The authors provide a clear framework within which students can fit contemporary developments in the Anglo-American tradition which provide the core themes of philosophy of mind and which connect to their other work in epistemology and philosophy of language.
This article addresses the distinction which Sartre draws between memory and imagination. The article is in two parts. In the first part it is suggested that, in common with the distinction he draws between imagining and perceiving, the separation of memory and imagination is undermined by Sartre’s own phenomenology. Memories are part of the family of imaginings to which Sartre directs us. Nonetheless, in the second part of the article, Sartre’s distinction is revisited. The working of imagination in memory does (...) not mean that we are making up our past. Utilising Barthes’ discussion, in Camera Lucida it is argued that memory provides a distinctive relation to our past, which makes evident to us what it is to live a life in time. (shrink)
Many writers offer accounts of our grasp of the expressive gestures of others, or of the expressive content of works of art, in terms of our imagining the experiences of another, or ourselves having certain experiences, or, in the case of works of art, a persona to have experiences. This invocation of what Kant would term, the reproductive imagination, in the perception of expressive content, is contested in this paper. In its place it is suggested that the detection of expressive (...) content is a form of direct, but reason constituting perception. In such perception it is the Kantian productive, rather than the reproductive, imagination which plays a central role. (shrink)
This paper characterizes a form of materialism which is strongly anti?reductionist with regard to mental predicates. It argues against the functionalist views of writers such as Brian Loar on the basis that the counterfactual interdependencies of intentional states are governed by constraints of rationality embodied in semantic links which cannot be captured in non?intentional, functionalist terms. However, contrary to what is commonly supposed, such anti?reductionism requires neither instrumentalism about the mental nor opposition to a causal explanatory view of intentional explanation. (...) The paper therefore aims to show that a realist causal explanatory view of psychological states is compatible with a non?reductive materialism (a position excluded by Brian Loar in his recent book Mind and Meaning). (shrink)
Normative links have been considered a problem for reductionist theories of mind, primarily because of lack of isomorphism between intentional and non-intentional conceptual schemes. The paper suggests a more radical tension between normative rationality and scientific naturalism. Normative explanations involve the recognition that agents are also subjects of experience. The distinctive form of intelligibility they bestow requires engagement with such subjectivity.