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Hegel's Theory of Imagination

Jennifer Ann Bates

Publication Year: 2004

Filling an important gap in post-Kantian philosophy, Hegel’s Theory of Imagination focuses on the role of the imagination, and resolves the question of its apparent absence in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Jennifer Ann Bates discusses Hegel’s theory of the imagination through the early and late Philosophy of Spirit lectures, and reveals that a dialectic between the two sides of the imagination (the “night” of inwardizing consciousness and the “light” of externalizing material) is essential to thought and community. The complexity and depth of Hegel’s insights make this book essential reading for anyone seriously interested in understanding how central the imagination is to our every thought.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies (discontinued)


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xix

Several years ago I became interested in the fact that although the imagination (die Einbildungskraft) is absolutely central to Hegel’s predecessors Kant, Fichte, and Schelling, the imagination appears to play a relatively small role in Hegel’s thought. The word occurs only once in what is perhaps ...

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p. xxi

I would like to thank Professor H. S. Harris for his careful reading and comments on earlier versions of this work. He is a model of philosophical humility, acumen, and responsibility. I am also indebted to Professor Kenneth Schmitz. He first introduced me to Hegel and his philosophical prodding ...

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INTRODUCTION: Why Study the Imagination? A Brief History from Kant to Hegel

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pp. xxiii-xxxix

The first arises out of reflections such as the following.What comes to mind at the mention of the term imagination is fantasy, mental conjuring, pulling together things that normally would not go together (such as a horn on a horse to make a unicorn). Fiction and dreams seem to be the domain of the imagination. ...

Key German Terms and their Translation as “Imagination” and Related Words

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pp. xli-xlii


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pp. xliii-xlv

PART ONE: Imagination in Theory: “Subjective Authentication”

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CHAPTER 1 The Sundering Imagination of the Absolute (Hegel’s Earliest Works)

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pp. 3-18

Hegel’s earliest published works, Faith and Knowledge and the Differenzschrift, offer an imperfect account of the imagination, but one that nevertheless gets us beyond some of the problems present in Kant’s and Fichte’s view of the role of the imagination. Hegel’s account is couched in his adoption ...

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CHAPTER 2 Dialectical Beginnings (Fragment 17 of Geistesphilosophie 1803–04)

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pp. 19-34

In his Geistesphilosophie lectures of 1803–04, Hegel offers a more involved account of the imagination. This change was the effect of a profound shift in his thinking. In the time between his early works of the Critical Journal (the Differenzschrift and Faith and Knowledge) and the Geistesphilosophie 1803–04 lectures, ...

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CHAPTER 3 The Dialectical Imagination (Geistesphilosophie 1803–04)

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pp. 35-54

In this chapter I continue to look at the Geistesphilosophie of 1803–04. Instead of focusing on Fragment 17, I want now to turn to his discussion of the imagination in later fragments of that work. In this 1803–04 lecture series, Hegel has advanced to a dialectical view of identity. This allows him to offer a better ...

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CHAPTER 4 The Inwardizing Imagination (Geistesphilosophie 1805–06)

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pp. 55-80

Hegel’s 1805–06 psychology lectures1 develop the role of the imagination more clearly. He discusses the imagination in terms of time and space, the animal (body), and subjectivity. Most importantly, he identifies time with “inwardizing” (zurücktreten). Inwardizing is the negative moment in the ...

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CHAPTER 5 The Communicative Imagination (Philosophy of Subjective Spirit 1830)

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pp. 81-100

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an exegesis of the 1830 Encyclopedia Philosophy of Spirit discussion of the imagination, and in the process to explain how the inwardizing imagination becomes a communicative one. I discuss the dialectical moments leading up to the imagination. These are Intuition, ...

PART TWO Imagination in Practice: “Objective Authentication”

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CHAPTER 6 Memory, the Artist’s Einbildungskraft, Phantasie, and Aesthetic Vorstellungen (Lectures on Aesthetics)

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pp. 103-136

The only place in which the word Einbildungskraft arises in the Phenomenology of Spirit is in a passage in which Hegel is explicitly distancing his philosophy from the celebration of creative artistic genius. His distancing is based on a Romantic movement’s misuse of Einbildungskraft in their Phantasie, and on ...

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CHAPTER 7 Imagination and the Medium of Thought (Phenomenology of Spirit “Preface”)

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pp. 137-154

The Phenomenology of Spirit is Hegel’s science of experience. Therefore, his focus is not artistic Vorstellen. Rather, he is concerned with the more encompassing, phenomenological Vorstellen. While the former deals only with Phantasie and its products, the latter deals with all forms of representing experience ...


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pp. 155-184


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pp. 185-192


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pp. 193-202

E-ISBN-13: 9780791484456
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791462072
Print-ISBN-10: 0791462072

Page Count: 202
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies (discontinued)
Series Editor Byline: Quentin Lauer See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 62395519
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hegel's Theory of Imagination

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Subject Headings

  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831.
  • Imagination (Philosophy).
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