The Analytic Imaginary

The Analytic Imaginary

The Analytic Imaginary

The Analytic Imaginary

Synopsis

The notion of the philosophical imaginary developed by Michele Le Doeuff refers to the capacity to imagine as well as the stock of images philosophers employ. Making use of this notion, the book explores the idea of the imaginary of analytic philosophy.

Excerpt

A philosophical imaginary refers to both the capacity to imagine and the stock of images philosophers use. There is a stock of images in analytic philosophy that govern the way reasoning can be conducted, and an imaginary which is surprisingly coherent across a range of debates and views: I call this the analytic imaginary. the nature of this imaginary will emerge from my investigation of the way influential images are used in important areas of contemporary analytic philosophy. Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical tradition in English-speaking and Scandinavian countries and is often characterized by the use of analysis of language and concepts to solve philosophical problems. It is generally thought that analytic philosophers rarely use images, if at all. Contrary to that common perception, a wealth of images are used in analytic philosophy, including the areas of ethics, personal identity, political philosophy, epistemology, and aesthetics to be discussed in this book. However, analytic philosophers are seldom reflective about the nature of the images they use and do not recognize that they play a deeply significant philosophical role. Images are extremely important to the expression of philosophical thought, to the way debates are structured, and assumptions are shared; they can also work to persuade and to provide support for a particular view and to exclude alternative views and methods. Metaphors play a role of this kind, as do analogies, thought experiments, myths, and models.

“Image” is an important term for this book. I am using it in a very broad sense as an umbrella or cluster concept to cover notions from different dis-

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