IMAGINATION , ingeneral, the power or
See also:process of producing
See also:mental pictures or ideas . The
See also:term is technically used in psychology for the process-of reviving in the mind percepts of
See also:objects formerly given in sense perception . Since this use of the term conflicts with that of ordinary language, some psychologists have preferred to describe this process as " imaging ". or " imagery " or to speak of it as " reproductive " as opposed to " productive " or " constructive " imagination (see IMAGE and PSYCHOLOGY) . The
See also:common use of the term is for the process of forming in the mind new images which have not been previously experienced, or at least only partially or in different combinations . Thus the -image of a centaur is the result of combining the common percepts of man and
See also:fairy tales and fiction generally are the result of this process of combination . Imagination in this sense, not being limited to the acquisition of exact knowledge by the requirements of
See also:necessity, is up to a certain point
See also:free from
See also:objective restraints . In various
See also:spheres, however, even imagination is in practice limited: thus a man whose imaginations do violence to the elementary
See also:laws of thought, or to the necessary principles of practical possibility, or to the reasonable probabilities of a given case is regarded as insane . The same limitations beset imagination in the
See also:field of scientific hypothesis . 1 Tyler, Prim . Culture, ii . 178 . Progress in scientific
See also:research is due largely to provisional explanations which are constructed by imagination, but such hypotheses must be framed in relation to previously ascertained facts and in accordance with the principles of the particular science .
In spite, however, of these broad practical considerations, imagination differs fundamentally from belief in that the latter involves " objective
See also:control of subjective activity " (Stout) . The
See also:play of imagination, apart from the obvious limitations (e.g. of avoiding explicit self-contradiction), is conditioned only by the general trend of the mind at a given moment . Belief, on the other
See also:hand, is immediately related to practical activity: it is perfectly possible to imagine myself a millionaire, but unless I believe it I do not, therefore,
See also:act as such . Belief always endeavours to conform to objective conditions; though it is from one point of view subjective it is also objectively conditioned, whereas imagination as such is specifically free . The dividing
See also:line between imagination and belief varies widely in different stages of mental development . Thus a savage who is
See also:ill frames an ideal reconstruction of the causes of his illness, and attributes it to the hostile magic of an enemy . In
See also:ignorance of pathology he is satisfied with this explanation, and actually believes in it, whereas such a hypothesis in the mind of civilized man would be treated as a pure effort of imagination, or even as a
See also:hallucination . It follows that the distinction between imagination and belief depends in practice on knowledge, social environment, training and the like . Although, however, the
See also:absence of objective restraint, i.e. a certain unreality, is characteristic of imagination, none the less it has
See also:great practical importance as a purely ideational activity . Its very freedom from objective
See also:limitation makes it a source of pleasure and
See also:pain . A
See also:person of vivid imagination suffers acutely from the imagination of perils besetting a friend . In fact in some cases the ideal construction is so " real " that specific
See also:physical manifestations occur, as though imagination had passed into belief or the events imagined were actually in progress .
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