12 Conceptions of Imagination


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The brain. The only organ to have named itself. The source of the Moonlight Sonata, the Taj Mahal and the boogeyman. But how are we able to look at the stars and contemplate our place in the universe? How does it conceive of Harry Potter and Oliver Twist?

The imagination is an incredible thing. Adapted from previous course material from The Open University, the infographic shown looks at the 12 concepts of imagination in more detail.  The 'twelve conceptions of imagination' stem from a 2003 paper by Leslie Stevenson, who looked to distinguish the meanings of imagination. These are:

  1. The ability to think of something this is not presently perceived, but is, was or will be spatio-temporally real.
  2. The ability to think of whatever one acknowledges as possible in the spatio-temporal world.
  3. The liability to think of something which the subject believes to be real, but is not real.
  4. The ability to think of things one conceives as fictional, as opposed to what one believes to be real, or conceives of as possibly real.
  5. The ability to entertain mental images.
  6. The ability to think of (conceive of, or represent) anything at all.
  7. The non-rational operations of the mind, that is, those kinds of mental functioning which are explicable in terms of causes rather than reasons.
  8. The ability to form beliefs, on the basis of perception, about public objects in three-dimensional space which can exist unperceived, with spatial parts and temporal duration.
  9. The sensuous component in the appreciation of works of art or objects of natural beauty without classifying them under concepts or thinking of them as practically useful.
  10. The ability to create works of art that encourage sensuous appreciation.
  11. The ability to appreciate things that are expressive or revelatory in meaning of human life.
  12. The ability to create works of art that express something deep about the meaning of human life, as opposed to the products of mere fantasy.

Read more about creativity and the twelve conceptions of imagination.

Find out more about Philosophy at The OU

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25 June, 2014 - 07:50