The Imagination

Overview

“No matter how long I may look at an image, I shall never find anything in it but what I put there. It is in this fact that we find the distinction between an image and a perception”.

L’Imagination was published in 1936 when Jean-Paul Sartre was thirty years old. Long out of print, this is the first English translation in many years. The Imagination is Sartre’s first full philosophical work, presenting some of the basic arguments concerning phenomenology, consciousness and ...

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The Imagination

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Overview

“No matter how long I may look at an image, I shall never find anything in it but what I put there. It is in this fact that we find the distinction between an image and a perception”.

L’Imagination was published in 1936 when Jean-Paul Sartre was thirty years old. Long out of print, this is the first English translation in many years. The Imagination is Sartre’s first full philosophical work, presenting some of the basic arguments concerning phenomenology, consciousness and intentionality that were to later appear in his master works and be so influential in the course of Twentieth century philosophy.

Sartre begins by criticising philosophical theories of the imagination, particularly those of Descartes, Leibniz and Hume, before establishing his central arguments about the imagination: it does not involve the perception of ‘mental images’ in any literal sense yet reveals some of the fundamental capacities of consciousness. He then reviews psychological theories of the imagination, including a fascinating discussion of the work of Henri Bergson. Sartre argues that the ‘classical conception’ is fundamentally flawed because it begins by conceiving of the imagination as being like perception and then seeks, in vain, to re-establish the difference between the two. Sartre concludes with an important chapter on Husserl’s theory of the imagination which, despite its sharing the flaws of earlier approaches, signals a new phenomenological way forward in understanding the imagination.

The Imagination is essential reading for anyone interested in the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, phenomenology, and the history of Twentieth century philosophy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"… excellent work by Kenneth Williford and David Rudrauf. … The new translators have left the division of the text as the author intended. They have also included Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s 1936 review of the book, as an appendix. … [The] editorial notes are exemplary of the care with which a work of some importance has been made available to us once again." - Santiago Ramos, Continental Philosophy Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415776189
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/6/2012
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Translators:

Kenneth Williford is Associate Professor of Philosophy at The University of Texas, Arlington, USA.

David Rudrauf is Assistant Professor of Neurology at The University of Iowa, USA.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Main Metaphysical Systems 2.The Problem of the Image and the Psychologists’ Search for an Empirical Method 3. The Contradictions of the Classical Conception 4. Husserl Conclusion

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