Rowman and Littlefield International

Exploring Productive Imagination: Announcing two new volumes in the Social Imaginaries series


Published on Friday 18 May 2018 by John Krummel

With the recent blossoming of research and interest in the study of social imaginaries and productive imagination, the Social Imaginaries series was launched as the first dedicated collection to fill this important gap in academic discourse. Given the significance of productive imagination (in both it’s ontological and creative capacities) within the history of philosophy, the collection brings together robust philosophical and political-social theoretical work with historical and comparative analyses from interdisciplinary perspectives

This ground-breaking series aims to investigate social imaginaries from theoretical, historical, and interdisciplinary perspectives to stimulate, challenge and encourage research within the fields of social imaginaries and productive imagination.  The first volume of the series, Ricoeur and Castoriadis in Discussion, brings two seminal thinkers of the discipline, Cornelius Castoriadis and Paul Ricoeur, into conversation.  Both philosophers have been noted for their unique and poignant analyses of the imagination, taking Kant’s scholarship on the productive imagination and unfolding its social and creative-productive function constitutive of the world and our co-being in the world – an area of enquiry that had remained implicit and undeveloped in Kant’s own work.

“This ground-breaking series aims to investigate social imaginaries from theoretical, historical, and interdisciplinary perspectives to stimulate, challenge and encourage research within the fields of social imaginaries and productive imagination.”

The second and third volumes of the series follow with a poignant discussion of the post-Kantian development of the productive imagination.  The Social Imaginaries Book Series is thus pleased to announce the publication of the following two volumes: Productive Imagination: Its History, Meaning and Significance and Stretching the Limits of Productive Imagination: Studies in Kantianism, Phenomenology and Hermeneutics.

Productive Imagination: Its History, Meaning and Significance, edited by Saulius Geniusas and Dmitri Nikulin, traces the history of productive imagination in philosophy from its ancient predecessors to its modern articulation, pre and post-Kant, by gathering a number of prominent scholarly voices representing a variety of schools of thought within continental philosophy. The contributing chapters discuss the productive imagination and its meaning in a variety of frameworks as found in German idealist, romantic, phenomenological, and hermeneutical traditions and in Immanuel Kant, George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis, Wilhelm Dilthey, Ernst Cassirer, Martin Heidegger, Paul Ricoeur, and Jean-Paul Sartre, among others.  The collection provides us with a view first to the historical background that precedes its emergence in modernity and articulation in Kant and then to its further development by a variety of post-Kantian schools and thinkers.  This volume will be a helpful reference for anyone working on the imagination.

Stretching the Limits of Productive Imagination: Studies in Kantianism, Phenomenology and Hermeneutics, also edited by Saulius Geniusas, is a natural sequel to Productive Imagination, focusing on the diverse ways in which productive imagination has been conceptualized and reconceptualized in Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy, especially in Kantianism, phenomenology, and hermeneutics.

Stretching the Limits of Productive Imagination explores a historical and thematic question essential to the contemporary discipline – what is the place of the productive imagination in post-Kantian philosophy? This includes the poetic, historical, and generative dimensions of the imagination as well as its significance of the human and social sciences, its relevance for political thought and for pre-linguistic and kinaesthetic experience. This volume thus showcases some of the more unorthodox conceptions of productive imagination, which serve to collapse or implode the traditional Kantian dichotomy between sensibility and intelligibility, sense and understanding, phenomenon and noumenon, nature and freedom, theoretical reason and practical reason.  The result is to demonstrate the complexity and diversity of the concept, conceived here as the constitutive power that shapes our experience of the world as a whole.  What we find is that the imagination is productive not only in its fabrication of non-existing objects but also in shaping our experience and how we experience the world and its meaning. Furthermore, imagination does this through kinaesthetic, pre-linguistic, poetic, historical, artistic, social, and political channels.  Chapters cover the imagination as found in Immanuel Kant, Wilhelm Dilthey, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Miki Kiyoshi, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleu-Ponty, Cornelius Castoriadis, and Paul Ricoeur, among others.

“The result is to demonstrate the complexity and diversity of the concept, conceived here as the constitutive power that shapes our experience of the world as a whole.”

Saulius Geniusas organized the innovative international conference, Productive Imagination: Its History, Meaning and Significance held in May of 2016 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  The summer of 2016 saw two other international conferences dedicated to the topic of the imagination, one organized by the Académie du Midi in Alet-les-Bains, France and the other organized by the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The fact that there were three international conferences on the imagination around the same time speaks to the importance of this topic, but what was unique about the conference held in Hong Kong was the focus on the productive imagination.  The conference brought together many eminent scholars who then went on to contribute to both of these new volumes.

The Social Imaginaries Book Series is extremely proud to launch these two cutting-edge collections of research into the field in May 2018.