Kant's Theory of Imagination

Kant's Theory of Imagination : Bridging Gaps in Judgement and Experience

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Description

This book departs from much of the scholarship on Kant by demonstrating the centrality of imagination to Kant's philosophy as a whole. In Kant's works, human experience is simultaneously passive and active, thought and sensed, free and unfree: these dualisms are ofen thought of as unfortunate byproducts of his system. Gibbons, however, shows that imagination performs a vital function in 'bridging gaps' between the different elements of cognition and experience.
Thus, the role imagination plays in Kant's works expresses his fundamental insight into the complexity of cognition for finite rational beings such as ourselves.

Gibbons begins with an interpretation of synthesis which shows it to be a broader activity than most accounts suggest. Examining the first Critique, she presents a reading of the Transcendental Deduction and the chapter on Schematism that spells out the extraconceptual activities of imagination essential to cognition. This account of imagination is built upon in the Critique of Judgment, where Kant elaborates its role in characterizing the subjective conditions of judgement.

Throughout, the cooperation of imagination and reason is highlighted; Gibbons shows that on Kant's account, human beings pursue reason's ideal ends through the provisional and continuing attempt to articulate them. This attempt involves an appeal to a shared social and historical imagination - thus, a full characterization of the subjective conditions of judgement must include the role of imagination.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 144 x 225 x 17mm | 378g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0198240414
  • 9780198240419
  • 2,278,160

Back cover copy

This book departs from much of the scholarship on Kant by demonstrating the centrality of imagination to Kant's philosophy as a whole. For Kant, cognition and experience are simultaneously passive and active, thought and sensed, free and unfree. These dualisms are often considered unfortunate byproducts of his system. Sarah Gibbons, however, shows that imagination performs a vital function in 'bridging gaps' between the different elements of cognition and experience. Thus, the role imagination plays in Kant's works expresses his fundamental insight into the complexity of cognition for finite rational beings such as ourselves. Dr Gibbons begins with an interpretation of synthesis which shows it to be a broader activity than most accounts suggest. Examining the first Critique, she presents a reading of the Transcendental Deduction and the chapter on Schematism that spells out the extraconceptual activities of imagination essential to cognition. This account of imagination is built upon in The Critique of Judgment, where Kant elaborates its role in characterizing the subjective conditions of judgement. Gibbons highlights the cooperation of imagination and reason; she shows that on Kant's account, human beings pursue reason's ideal ends through the provisional and continuing attempt to articulate them. This attempt involves an appeal to a shared social and historical imagination - thus, a full characterization of the subjective conditions of judgement must include an account of the interaction between imagination and reason.
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Review quote

This work goes well beyond many books on the Critique of Judgement in the breadth and importance of the issues it raises. * Paul Guyer, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism * Her work is ... a further addition to the growing body of "psychological Kant interpretation". * International Philosophical Quarterly * Gibbons's strength is her ability to explore and synthesize a wide range of material, both in terms of content and works, in order to elaborate a more complete picture of imagination than is available in any single work ... Gibbons's book is a welcome addition to the literature on Kant. * The Review of Metaphysics * She does not attempt to provide a definitive account of imagination, she instead invites the reader to accompany her on 'an open-ended journey' devoted to exploring the ways that imagination plays a crucial role in Kant's thinking. ... a tantalizing book, one that contains a considerable number of insights. * British Journal of the History of Philosophy *
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