This is a splendid contribution, not to be ignored by cognitive scientists, scholars of American philosophy, and philosophers and critics interested in imagination. Robert Neville, Boston University
Kaag effectively exposes the Kantian roots of pragmatism, especially the link between Kant and Peirce. Against that background he articulates a pragmatic theory of the imagination that underscores its character both as fully embodied and as vitally central to human cognition and inquiry. Kaag s own insightful account plays out in a conceptual space far removed from the dangerous extremes of either biological reductionism or what he himself labels a `naive panpsychism. The result is really quite impressive, a virtuoso philosophical performance. Michael L. Raposa, Lehigh University
Use your imagination! The demand is as important as it is confusing. What is the imagination? What is its value? Where does it come from? And where is it going in a time when even the obscene seems overdone and passé?
This book takes up these questions and argues for the centrality of imagination in human cognition. It traces the development of the imagination in Kant s critical philosophy (particularly the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment) and claims that the insights of Kantian aesthetic theory, especially concerning the nature of creativity, common sense, and genius, influenced the development of nineteenth-century American philosophy.
The book identifies the central role of the imagination in the philosophy of Peirce, a role often overlooked in analytic treatments of his thought. The final chapters pursue the observation made by Kant and Peirce that imaginative genius is a type of natural gift (ingenium) and must in some way be continuous with the creative force of nature. It makes this final turn by way of contemporary studies of metaphor, embodied cognition, and cognitive neuroscience.
John Kaag is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. His books include Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life (Finalist, 2021 PROSE Award), Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are (NPR Book of the Year), American Philosophy: A Love Story (NPR Book of the Year, New York Times Editors Choice).