Synopses & Reviews
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.
"This important book deserves a wide audience, and should be of interest to scholars working on a variety of topics. Kaag effectively exposes the Kantian roots of pragmatism, especially the link between Kant and Peirce. Against that background he articulates a pragmatic theory of the imagination that underscores its character both as fully embodied and as vitally central to human cognition and inquiry. Kaag's own insightful account plays out in a conceptual space far removed from the dangerous extremes of either biological reductionism or what he himself labels a 'naive panpsychism.' The result is really quite impressive, a virtuoso philosophical performance."-Michael L. Raposa, Lehigh University
"This book is a giant step forward in understanding the interplay between imagination and inquiry in Peirce. Kaag brilliantly illuminates the influence of Kant's aesthetics and imagination for Peirce through Schiller with a discussion that ranges over literary analysis and cognitive and neural science as ways of explicating Peirce's logic and existential graphing. This is one of the best examples I know of handling Peirce's texts with both historical perspicuity and speculative insight."-Roger A. Ward, Georgetown College
About the Author
is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. His most recent book is Idealism, Pragmatism, and Feminism: The Philosophy of Ella Lyman Cabot
Table of Contents
1. The Cultivation of the Imagination
2. Enlightening Thought: Kant and the Imagination
3. C. S. Peirce and the Growth of the Imagination
4. Abduction: Inference and Instinct
5. Imagining Nature
6. Ontology and Imagination:
Peirce on Necessity and Agency
7. The Evolution of the Imagination
8. Emergence, Complexity, and Creativity
9. Be Imaginative! Suggestion and Imperative