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Imagination, in modern philosophy

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-DA083-1
Published
2017
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DA083-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2017
Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/imagination-in-modern-philosophy/v-1

References and further reading

  • Addison, J. and Steele, R. (1711–14) The Spectator, ed. D.F. Bond, 5 vols, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965.

    (Addison’s essay on aesthetic pleasures, which he takes to be ‘pleasures of the imagination’, is serialized in The Spectator, Nos 411–21, contained in volume 3 of this edition. Addison argues that these pleasures derive from objects’ greatness, beauty, and novelty, and from relations of resemblance, as between a representation and the object that it describes or depicts.)

  • Arnauld, A. and Nicole, P. (1662) La logique, ou l’art de penser (Logic or the Art of Thinking), ed. J. Vance Buroker, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

    (An influential Cartesian logical theory; Chapter 1 of the First Part gives Arnauld’s and Nicole’s arguments that we have a faculty of pure intellect, as well as the imagination.)

  • Berkeley, G. (1709) An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision, in vol. 1 of The Works of George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, ed. A.A. Luce and T.E. Jessop, London: Nelson, 1948–57.

    (Contains Berkeley’s argument against the view that we see things’ distances, sizes and situations by means of geometrical reasoning, and in favour of his rival view that we see these properties by means of non-rational imaginative associations.)

  • Berkeley, G. (1710) A Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, in vol. 2 of The Works of George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, ed. A.A. Luce and T.E. Jessop, London: Nelson, 1948–57.

    (Sections 22–4 contain Berkeley’s argument that we cannot imaginatively conceive a sensible object to exist unperceived. Also relevant to Berkeley’s view of imagination are the Introduction, which argues that a mental image of a particular thing can serve to represent a general kind of things, and sections 28–33, which discuss the relation between imagination and the senses, and the difference between real and imaginary things.)

  • Cottrell, J. (2015) ‘David Hume: Imagination’, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/hume-ima/.

    (Introductory overview of Hume’s theory of the imagination; contains an annotated bibliography of works on this theory.)

  • Descartes, R. (1641) Meditationes de prima philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy), in vol. 2 of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, ed. and trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch and A. Kenny, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984–91.

    (The Second and Sixth Meditations, and Descartes’ Third and Fifth Sets of Replies, contain some of his most important discussions of the imagination and its relationship to the pure intellect. The Sixth Set of Replies presents his view that we judge objects’ sizes, distances, and shapes by geometrical reasoning – the view that Berkeley rejects, in his Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision.)

  • Descartes, R. (1649) Les passions de l’âme (The Passions of the Soul ), in vol. 1 of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, ed. and trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch and A. Kenny, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984–91.

    (Descartes’ last published work, this deals with philosophical psychology and morals.)

  • Descartes, R. (1984–91) The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, ed. and trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch and A. Kenny, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 3 vols.

    (The now-standard English translation of Descartes’ writings. It contains the entire Rules, Discourse, Meditations and Passions, as well as selections from his other writings and letters.)

  • Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess and Descartes, R. (2007) The Correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes, ed. and trans. L. Shapiro, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    (Contains several exchanges about the imagination. Especially interesting are Descartes’ letter of 28 June 1643, which discusses the different epistemic roles of intellect, imagination, and the senses; and the letters exchanged by Elisabeth and Descartes in August and September 1645, which concern the relation between imagination and the passions.)

  • Garrett, D. (1997) Cognition and Commitment in Hume’s Philosophy, New York: Oxford University Press.

    (Discusses Hume’s views on the imagination throughout. Chapter 1 is an important and helpful discussion of imagination and pure intellect in Early Modern philosophy more broadly.)

  • Garrett, D. (2008) ‘Representation and Consciousness in Spinoza’s Naturalistic Theory of the Imagination’, in C. Huenemann (ed.), Interpreting Spinoza: Critical Essays, New York: Cambridge University Press.

    (Poses several important puzzles about Spinoza’s theory of the imagination and offers solutions to them. Explains Spinoza’s naturalistic account of imaginative representation and the sense in which our imaginings are ‘conscious’, according to Spinoza.)

  • Gassendi, P. (1641) ‘Objectiones Quintae’ (‘Fifth Set of Objections’), in vol. 2 of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, ed. and trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch and A. Kenny, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984–91.

    (Many of Gassendi’s objections to the Meditations turn on his rejection of Descartes’ view that we have a faculty of pure intellect, distinct from the imagination. See, especially, his objections to the Second and Sixth Meditations.)

  • Gassendi, P. (1658) Institutio Logica, ed. and trans. H. Jones, Assen: Van Gorcum, 1981.

    (Part One presents Gassendi’s mature views on the imagination, including his account of the range of ways in which we can form novel images.)

  • Gendler, T.S. (2000) ‘The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’, The Journal of Philosophy, 79(2): 55–81.

    (Important twenty-first-century discussion of ‘the puzzle of imaginative resistance’, which derives from Hume’s essay ‘Of the Standard of Taste’.)

  • Hobbes, T. (1641) ‘Objectiones Tertiae' (‘Third Set of Objections’), in vol. 2 of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, ed. and trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch and A. Kenny, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984–91.

    (Like Gassendi, Hobbes rejects Descartes’ view that we have a faculty of pure intellect, distinct from the imagination. See, especially, Objection IV, where Hobbes proposes that reasoning can be explained in terms of the imagination, and Descartes’ Reply.)

  • Hobbes, T. (1651) Leviathan, ed. E. Curley, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994.

    (Hobbes’s main contribution to political philosophy starts with a discussion of human psychology. Chapters ii and iii discuss the imagination and the association of ideas, respectively; chapters iv and v, the relations between imagination, language and reasoning; and chapter viii, virtues of the imagination, including the ‘good wit,’ or ‘good fancy,’ required for good poetry and oratory.)

  • Hume, D. (1739–40) A Treatise of Human Nature, Vol. 1: The Text, ed. D.F. Norton and M.J. Norton, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007.

    (Develops a theory of the imagination and applies it to a wide range of cognitive, passionate, and social phenomena. Especially relevant to the topics discussed here are Book 1, Part 1, Section 1, on imagination as a faculty for having and associating mental images; Book 1, Part 3, Sections 1 and 6, which argue against the pure intellect, and in favour of the view that causal reasoning is due to imaginative association; Book 1, Part 4, Section 2, which argues that our belief in ‘bodies’, or material objects, is due to non-rational imaginative association; Book 2, Part 1, Section 11, which explains sympathy; and Book 3, Part 3, Section 1, which uses Hume’s theory of sympathy to explain why we approve of moral virtues.)

  • Hume, D. (1748) An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, ed. T.L. Beauchamp, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000.

    (Hume’s ‘recasting’ of Book One of his A Treatise of Human Nature. In all but the last edition of this work, Section 3 uses his theory of imaginative association to explain why literary compositions must exhibit a kind of unity, in order to give lasting entertainment to mankind. Sections 4 and 5 argue for his view that causal reasoning is due to imaginative association.)

  • Hume, D. (1757) ‘Of the Standard of Taste’, in E.F. Miller (ed.), Essays Moral, Political and Literary, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1985.

    (Argues that we need a ‘delicacy of imagination’ in order properly to appreciate an object’s beauty. Observes that ‘a very violent effort of thought is requisite’ to engage with an artistic work that represents actions or characters as having different moral properties from those that we take them to have. This observation is the source of what is now called ‘the puzzle of imaginative resistance’.)

  • Kant, I. (1781/1787) Kritik der Reinen Vernunft (Critique of Pure Reason), ed. and trans. P. Guyer and A. Wood, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

    (Kant’s theory of the imagination, including the productive/reproductive distinction, is presented in the Transcendental Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding; it is especially prominent in the ‘A’ edition’s version of the Deduction. See also the Schematism, where Kant explains how the imagination enables us to apply pure concepts of the understanding to objects given in sensory experience.)

  • Kant, I. (1790) Kritik der Urteilskraft (Critique of the Power of Judgement), ed. and trans. P. Guyer and E. Matthews, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

    (The first part of this work presents Kant’s aesthetic theory. The Books called ‘Analytic of the Beautiful’ and ‘Analytic of the Sublime’ discuss the role of the imagination in producing judgements of beauty and sublimity. Section 49, ‘On the faculties of the mind that constitute genius’, discusses the special imaginative representations that Kant calls aesthetic ideas.)

  • Kant, I. (1798) Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht (Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View), ed. and trans. R.B. Louden, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    (Part 1, the ‘Anthropological Didactic’, discusses the imagination, including the productive/reproductive distinction, at some length and in greater empirical detail than the Critique of Pure Reason.)

  • Leibniz, G.W. (1989) Philosophical Essays, ed. and trans. R. Ariew and D. Garber, Indianapolis: Hackett.

    (On the imagination, and the distinction between imagination and understanding, see especially Leibniz’s ‘Letter to Queen Sophie Charlotte of Prussia, on What is Independent of Sense and Matter’, and the Preface to his New Essays on Human Understanding. On imaginative association and its relationship to reasoning, see the Preface to the New Essays, section 5 of the ‘Principles of Nature and Grace,’ and sections 26–9 of the ‘Monadology’.)

  • Locke, J. (1689) An Essay concerning Human Understanding, ed. P.H. Nidditch, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975.

    (Locke coined the phrase ‘association of ideas’ in a chapter that first appeared in the fourth (1700) edition of the Essay; in Locke’s view, association is contrary to reason and, indeed, is ‘a degree of Madness’. He claims that idiosyncratic associations are responsible for various forms of irrationality.)

  • Longuenesse, B. (1998) Kant and the Capacity to Judge, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    (Challenging but rewarding work on Kant’s theory of cognition. Includes much helpful discussion of the role that Kant assigns to the imagination in his deduction of the categories.)

  • Malebranche, N. (1674–5) De la recherche de la vérité (The Search after Truth), ed. and trans. T.M. Lennon and P.J. Olscamp, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

    (Book Two is devoted to the imagination, and discusses a wide range of topics. Chapters One and Five of Book Two, Part One, give Malebranche’s accounts of what the imagination is, and of the association of images in the imagination.)

  • Matherne, S. (2016) ‘Kant’s Theory of the Imagination', in A. Kind (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Imagination, New York: Routledge.

    (Helpful introduction to Kant’s theory of the imagination and its role in his theories of cognition and perception, his aesthetics, and his moral philosophy. Includes an annotated bibliography of works on Kant on the imagination.)

  • Nolan, L. (2005) ‘The Role of the Imagination in Rationalist Philosophies of Mathematics’, in A. Nelson (ed.) A Companion to Rationalism, Oxford: Blackwell.

    (Argues that, contrary to standard accounts of their philosophies, Descartes and Malebranche both hold that the imagination is essential for mathematical cognition; helpfully compares their views to Plato’s.)

  • Peacocke, C. (1985) ‘Imagination, Experience, and Possibility: A Berkeleian View Defended’, in Essays on Berkeley: A Tercentennial Celebration, ed. J. Foster and H. Robinson, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    (Presents a theory of sensory imagination and, on its basis, defends Berkeley’s view that it is impossible to sensorily imagine an unperceived object.)

  • Reid, T. (1785) Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, ed. D.R. Brookes and K. Haakonssen. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002.

    (A wide-ranging critique of Reid’s philosophical predecessors on many topics in the philosophy of mind; Essay IV discusses imagination.)

  • Sayre-McCord, G. (forthcoming) ‘Hume and Smith on Sympathy, Approbation, and Moral Judgment’, in Sympathy: A History, ed. E. Schliesser, New York: Oxford University Press.

    (Explains Hume’s and Smith’s accounts of sympathy, and the roles that these accounts play in their theories of morality.)

  • Sepper, D. (2005a) ‘Cartesian Imaginations: The Method and Passions of Imagining', in A. Nelson (ed.) A Companion to Rationalism, Oxford: Blackwell.

    (Overview of Descartes’ and Malebranche’s theories of the imagination. Argues that these philosophers, especially Descartes, see a more significant role for the imagination in human mental life than scholars have typically recognized.)

  • Sepper, D. (2005b) ‘Spinoza, Leibniz, and the Rationalist Reconceptions of Imagination', in A. Nelson (ed.) A Companion to Rationalism, Oxford: Blackwell.

    (Companion piece to the above. Discusses the ways in which Spinoza, Leibniz and Wolff developed Descartes’ theory of the imagination. Argues that Spinoza and Leibniz see a more significant role for the imagination in human mental life than scholars have typically recognized.)

  • Shapiro, L. (2012) ‘Spinoza on Imagination and the Affects', in S. Ebbersmeyer (ed.) Emotional Minds: The Passions and The Limits of Enquiry in Early Modern Philosophy, Berlin: De Gruyter.

    (Raises several important puzzles about the imagination in Spinoza’s philosophy – most centrally, how does an imagining manage to represent just one particular object in the causal chain that produces it? Argues that imaginings are themselves ‘affects’ or emotions, in Spinoza’s view, and that this explains how they manage to represent what they do.)

  • Smith, A. (1759) The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982.

    (Section i of Part I of this work gives Smith’s account of how the imagination makes sympathy possible.)

  • Spinoza, B. (1677a) Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata (Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order), in vol. 1 of The Collected Works of Spinoza, ed. and trans. E. Curley, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

    (Part 2 of the Ethics defines imagination, in the scholium to proposition 17, and discusses the relationship between imagination and reason, especially in the second scholium to proposition 40 and the following propositions. Parts 3 and 4 discuss the relationship between the imagination and the passions. Part 5 discusses the control of the imagination and its passions by reason, in propositions 1–20.)

  • Spinoza, B. (1677b) Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione (Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect), in vol. 1 of The Collected Works of Spinoza, ed. and trans. E. Curley, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

    (Argues that the intellect, a faculty by which we form true ideas, differs from the imagination, a faculty by which we form ideas that are false, fictitious, or doubtful.)

  • Winkler, K. (1989) Berkeley: An Interpretation, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    (Chapter 6 contains a very helpful discussion of ‘the master argument’ – that is, Berkeley’s argument that we cannot imagine an unperceived object. Chapters 1 and 2 are a useful resource on Berkeley’s broader views about both mental and linguistic representation.)

  • Wright, J.P. (2009) Hume’s ‘A Treatise of Human Nature’: An Introduction, New York: Cambridge University Press.

    (Chapter 2 contains a detailed and helpful discussion of Hume’s account of the association of ideas in the imagination, and its relation to the accounts of this phenomenon given by earlier philosophers, particularly Malebranche.)

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Citing this article:
Cottrell, Jonathan. Bibliography. Imagination, in modern philosophy, 2017, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DA083-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/imagination-in-modern-philosophy/v-1/bibliography/imagination-in-modern-philosophy-bib.
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