The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination

Edited By

Amy Kind

ISBN 9781138574076
Published October 13, 2017 by Routledge
502 Pages

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Book Description

Imagination occupies a central place in philosophy, going back to Aristotle. However, following a period of relative neglect there has been an explosion of interest in imagination in the past two decades as philosophers examine the role of imagination in debates about the mind and cognition, aesthetics and ethics, as well as epistemology, science and mathematics.

This outstanding Handbook contains over thirty specially commissioned chapters by leading philosophers organised into six clear sections examining the most important aspects of the philosophy of imagination, including:

  • Imagination in historical context: Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Husserl, and Sartre
  • What is imagination? The relation between imagination and mental imagery; imagination contrasted with perception, memory, and dreaming
  • Imagination in aesthetics: imagination and our engagement with music, art, and fiction; the problems of fictional emotions and ‘imaginative resistance’
  • Imagination in philosophy of mind and cognitive science: imagination and creativity, the self, action, child development, and animal cognition
  • Imagination in ethics and political philosophy, including the concept of 'moral imagination' and empathy
  • Imagination in epistemology and philosophy of science, including learning, thought experiments, scientific modelling, and mathematics.

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind and psychology, aesthetics, and ethics. It will also be a valuable resource for those in related disciplines such as psychology and art.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Exploring Imagination Amy Kind 

Part 1: Historical Treatments of Imagination 

1. Aristotle on Phantasia Deborah Modrak 

2. Descartes Dennis Sepper 

3. Hume Fabian Dorsch 

4. Kant’s Theory of Imagination  Samantha Matherne 

5. Husserl Julia Jansen 

6. Sartre Robert Hopkins 

Part 2: Contemporary Discussions of Imagination 

7. Imagination and Mental Imagery Dominic Gregory 

8. Imagination and Belief Neil Sinhababu 

9. Imagination and Perception Bence Nanay 

10. Imagination and Memory Dorothea Debus 

11. Imagination, Dreaming, and Hallucination Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa 

12. Desire-Like Imagination Amy Kind 

Part3: Imagination in Aesthetics 

13. Art and Imagination Nick Wiltsher and Aaron Meskin 

14. Music and Imagination James O. Young 

15. Imagination and Fiction Kathleen Stock 

16. Fiction and Emotion Stacie Friend 

17. The Cognitive Architecture of Imaginative Resistance Kengo Miyazono and Shen-yi Liao 

Part 4: Imagination in Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science 

18. Imagination and Creativity Dustin Stokes 

19. Simulation Theory Shannon Spaulding 

20. Imagination and the Self Dilip Ninan 

21. Imagining and Action Neil Van Leeuwen 

22. Imagination and Child Development Deena Weisberg 

23. Imagination and Pretense Elizabeth Picciuto and Peter Carruthers 

24. Can Animals Imagine? Robert Mitchell 

25. Imagination and Rationality Ruth Byrne 

Part 5: Imagination in Ethics, Moral Psychology, and Political Philosophy 

26. Moral Imagination Mark Johnson 

27. Empathy and the Imagination Karsten Stueber 

28. The Ethics of Imagination and Fantasy Aaron Smuts 

29. Imagination and the Capabilities Approach  Natalie Fletcher 

Part 6: Imagination in Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, and Philosophy of Mathematics 

30. Imagination and Learning Greg Currie 

31. Thought Experiment and Imagination Roy Sorensen 

32. Imagination and Modal Epistemology Peter Kung 

33. Imagination in Scientific Modeling Adam Toon 

34. Imagination in Mathematics Andrew Arana. 


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Amy Kind is Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College, USA. She is editor of Philosophy of Mind in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries, volume six of The History of the Philosophy of Mind, (Routledge, 2016), and with Peter Kung she is editor of the forthcoming collection Knowledge through Imagination.


'Kind provides a thorough, comprehensive treatment of the philosophy of imagination. … With its 34 well-researched and well-written essays, this volume will be an excellent resource for those interested in this central mental function of life and philosophical theorizing. Summing Up: Highly recommended.' - P. Jenkins, Marywood University, CHOICE

'Finally! A comprehensive and multifaceted guide to the philosophy of imagination; one that brings together leading contemporary accounts, historical perspectives, and discussion of problems in many different areas of philosophy. A great achievement by Amy Kind, and an essential reference text.' - Katherine Thomson-Jones, Oberlin College, USA

'With the breadth of its coverage and quality of its scholarship, this Handbook surely deserves to become the definitive reference source on the philosophy of the imagination for years to come. It stands as an excellent reminder of the fact that the imagination is a notion we all, regardless of our specialisations, must make room for.' - Elisabeth Schellekens Dammann, Uppsala University, Sweden

'A breath-taking journey into the realm of Imagination, and an extremely useful addition to the current literature. Following an excellent and articulate Introduction, the chapters in this book are a valuable compass for the reader who wants to orient herself within such a vast literature.' - Margherita Arcangeli, University of Geneva, Switzerland