Thinking Through the Imagination: Aesthetics in Human Cognition (American Philosophy (FUP))
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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.
that grant the recognition of par ticu lar objects in the world. Just as ordered perceptions involve an arrangement of sensations around the objects of space and time, conceptions involve an ordering of perceptions around the categories (in terms of various forms of quantity, quality, relation and modality). In the section on the Transcendental Logic, it becomes clear that cognition does not begin in sensible experience but in the working of the categories “that have their seat in pure
later works, a fact that seems to correspond with his studies of the aesthetic element of cognition. Instead of the presenting the blind and mechanistic rendering of nature seen in the first Critique and the Metaphysical Foundations, Kant begins, in the words of Förster, to envision “nature as art, hence to a nature that is in itself systematic.” Much of Kant’s work in the Opus Postumum aims to highlight the relation between this natural system and human consciousness, developing the point
and intellect/reason. Peirce writes, “the doctrine of the schemata can only have been an afterthought [for Kant], an addition to his system after it was substantially complete. For if the schemata had been considered early enough, they would have overgrown his whole work.” Peirce’s reading of the schemata as the neglected keystone of Kant’s epistemology and ontology is extremely similar to the reading advanced in the first two chapters of this book. Interestingly, it should now be clear that
deficiencies of these two methods, the need for abductive logic comes home to us: abduction serves unique functions in the movement of thought, functions that neither induction nor deduction can perform. The distinctions that make abduction uniquely helpful also make it uniquely difficult to formalize. Since abduction departs from the methods of deduction and induction, it cannot be formalized in the terms of syllogistic or quantified logic. Indeed, on these grounds, some scholars suggest that
in which nature, in its structure and dynamics, is continuous with the movement of the creative human intellect and artifice. For Peirce, the imaginative inquirer is not apart from but rather a part of the natural world. This “thinking through” of the imagination sets the stage to reframe ontology and nature, a process that characterizes both Kant’s later works and Peirce’s naturalism. Here, once again, it is worth noting that we extend the concept of the imagination from the ostensibly aesthetic