HPhil Seminar: November 24, 2022

November 24, 2022

The HPhil (History of Philosophy) Research Group of the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon announces the 2022/23 edition of its permanent seminar on the history of philosophy, devoted to the presentation of conferences by renowned specialists while also creating opportunities to emerging scholars, aiming to promote advanced studies in groundbreaking debates and the permanent training of its academic community.

In this session of the seminar, Paulo Jesus (CFUL) will present a paper entitled The Varieties of Modern Imagination: Between Cognitive Spontaneity and Mental Disorder (the text is available here).

The session will take place on November 24, 2022, at 5PM, in the Room C201.J (Room Mattos Romão, Department of Philosophy). The entrance is free.



Early Modern philosophy has devoted a special attention to the reproductive and productive cognitive operations fulfilled by imagination. For the two prominent philosophical currents, Rationalism and Empiricism, here represented by N. Malebranche (1638-1715) and David Hume (1711-1776), imagination constitutes first and foremost a mental activity that produces logical falsehood and moral misery. Against this backdrop, Kant’s proposal of a transcendental synthesis performed by productive imagination provokes a significant rehabilitation of the cognitive effectiveness of imagination. Indeed, this transcendental a priori power of synthesis testifies to the entanglement of imagination with understanding, in the sense that the productive synthesis of imagination accomplishes the determination of the inner sense by the understanding. By contrast, the aesthetic, poietic or inventive dimension of imagination as facultas fingendi opens up the realm of genius, beyond the intellectual discipline and productivity of transcendental imagination. Also, imagination can lose in diverse modes and degrees its connection with lawfulness, and thereby gives rise to various mental disorders. Therefore, Kant carefully distinguishes different modes of imaginative productive actions whose intellectual ordering provides the conditions of possibility of science and art.