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Imaginal PoliticsImages Beyond Imagination and the Imaginary$
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Chiara Bottici

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157780

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157780.001.0001

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From Phantasia to Imagination

From Phantasia to Imagination

(p.15) 1 From Phantasia to Imagination
Imaginal Politics

Chiara Bottici

Columbia University Press

This chapter reconstructs the philosophical ruptures that lie behind the concept of imagination that have led to the coining of an alternative word, the imaginary. In particular, it considers the contrast between the Greek phantasia and the modern imagination. It suggests that the first great rupture in the genealogy of imagination can be summarized as the passage from Greek phantasia to a modern imagination without fantasy. The word imagination derives from imaginatio, the Latin term used to translate the Greek phantasia. The first authors for whom we can speak of a fully fledged theory of phantasia are Plato and Aristotle. The view of phantasia that emerges from certain passages of both Plato and Aristotle is in stark contrast with the view of imagination as unreal that is encapsulated in today's common usage. Plato and Aristotle both root phantasia in sensation. This chapter shows that images (phantasmata) do not only operate during sensation, but continue to operate even when the perception no longer takes place.

Keywords:   imagination, imaginary, phantasia, imaginatio, Plato, Aristotle, sensation, images, perception

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