The Evolution of Imagination in Traditional Philosophy

Presentation for my extended essay for
Dr. Patrick Quinn
The Evolution of Imagination in Traditional Philosophy
Anthony Fagan
4th year Theology and PhilosophyContents:
Introduction:Page 3
Biblical and Mythological Origins:
Adam, Prometheus.Page 5
Classical Greek:Page 7
Plato and Aristotle
The Medieval Imagination:Page 13
Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas.
From Renaissance to Enlightenment:Page 19
The Rationalism of Descartes, the Empiricism of Hume.
Transcendental Imagination:Page 23
Immanuel Kant, German Idealism.
19th Century Existentialism:Page27
Kierkegaard, Nietzsche.
Early 20th Century Imagination:Page 30
Idealism and existentialism, a synthesisIntroduction:
Although imagination is a word used frequently in everyday speech, it remains a complex and often misunderstood concept. As is the case with most terms related to cognition, its contextual use may result in a variety of interpretations regarding its proper function and capacity, particularly in the areas of perception and creativity. The importance of the role imagination plays in the philosophy of mind and contemporary psychology will also vary relative to the school of thought under consideration. An analysis of the developments in our understanding of the imagination may be best achieved by tracing the history of the western concept of imagination through the views of a selection of philosophers and examining its position and application in traditional philosophy. The search will have a philosophical focus which will necessarily include mythological and theological influences as we look at the formative concepts of imagination as they first appeared in Greek and biblical texts, and follow the concepts as they evolved through medieval and modern influences.
The Hellenic culture and the Judeo/Christian biblical tradition of revealed religion have provided an overarching influence on western thought. Discussion concerning the imagination in the…

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