Thinking Through the Imagination: Aesthetics in Human Cognition (American Philosophy (FUP))

Thinking Through the Imagination: Aesthetics in Human Cognition (American Philosophy (FUP))

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0823254933

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Use your imagination! The demand is as important as it is confusing. What is the imagination? What is its value? Where does it come from? And where is it going in a time when even the obscene seems overdone and passé?

This book takes up these questions and argues for the centrality of imagination in human cognition. It traces the development of the imagination in Kant's critical philosophy (particularly the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment) and claims that the insights of Kantian aesthetic theory, especially concerning the nature of creativity, common sense, and genius, influenced the development of nineteenth-century American philosophy.

The book identifies the central role of the imagination in the philosophy of Peirce, a role often overlooked in analytic treatments of his thought. The final chapters pursue the observation made by Kant and Peirce that imaginative genius is a type of natural gift (ingenium) and must in some way be continuous with the creative force of nature. It makes this final turn by way of contemporary studies of metaphor, embodied cognition, and cognitive neuroscience.














The schemata serve as 34 Kant and the Imagination the bridge between the formal realm of Kantian understanding and the sphere of empirical perception. Th is imaginative bridging grants the possibility of all empirical thinking and all judgments concerning the state of the natural world. In conclusion, Kant writes that “without schemata, therefore, the categories are only functions of the understanding for producing concepts, but they present no object.” The bivalent character of the

section 41, he reminds us that the sensus communis substitutes for the definite concepts described in the first Critique that governed the relation between the understanding and the imagination. As opposed to this determinate situation, when “the Imagination in its freedom awakens the Understanding and is put by it into regular play [harmonious play] without the aid of concepts, the representation communicates itself not as a [determinate] thought but as an internal feeling of a purposive state

or, more accurately, demonstrate definitive conclusions. The various ways by which these conclusions are represented, however, are by no means definitive. The transformations that occur between premises Imagining Nature 113 and conclusion are realized in experimental and creative processes. Any novice logician can attest to the fact that proofs—even the line proofs of first-order logic—involve a type of guesswork and musement. It involves witnessing the field of possibilities, allowing

aesthetic constructs, lie at the foundation of human abstraction and have meaning only to the extent that they appropriate the meanings and relations of bodily experience. In Philosophy in the Flesh (1999), they analyze the basic metaphors for such concepts as causation, mind, knowledge, importance, desire, and affection, which are conceptualized in terms of immediate bodily experience. Hence, their study of metaphor naturally The Evolu t ion of the Imagination 143 led them to the empirical

of experiential priming. Interestingly, the visual stimuli most effective in triggering these mirror neurons were the subject’s observations of actions “in which the experimenter’s hand or mouth interacted with objects.” From an evolutionary perspective, this should come as no real surprise; the mouth and hands are obviously crucial in the acquisition of food and integral to the sociality of most mammals. 2. Recent studies conducted by Kohler and colleagues demonstrate that neurons in the

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