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Title: Vitality: Imagination and the place of nature
Authors: Huang, Kuanmin
Contributors: 哲學系
Date: 2010-04
Issue Date: 2015-06-10 16:56:13 (UTC+8)
Abstract: Inscribed in the context of contrast between the Chinese tradition and the European tradition, the problem of imagination is seen in a highly variable perspective. Ever since Plato and Aristotle, the imagination is endowed with different and even opposite functions. In the Modern age, Kant gave a specific position to the imagination: the transcendental imagination to link the sensibility and the understanding, the play of imagination in the aesthetics. It was Schelling who represented a most important role by proposing the Ein-bildung or Ineinsbildung as a philosophical construction by imagination. Bachelard in the contemporary time elaborated on a metaphysics of imagination, by considering the poetic image which relates the material elements in nature to the human poiesis. In Bachelardean idea, the imagination evokes the human being to participate in a cosmic becoming and ordering. A vision, a hearing, a touch and even a respiration are not from the subject to the object, they can be reversed in order to confirm an intersubjectivity in cosmic scale. There is reversibility in Nature. This evocation is also imaginary, so that the function of imagination is not representation but deformation. The horizon given by imagination is an open horizon that can lead to an innovation of language. By deforming a perceptive image, the poetic imagination institutes a world with a certain unreality which can enrich the meanings of the world instead of diminishing it. This metaphysics of imagination can be summarized as a view of cosmic correspondences by means of which nature and humanity are no longer objectifying, but implying each other.In the Chinese tradition, there is no straightforward psychological discussion of the function of the imagination. But "image" or emblem as a central way of seeing the world can be found in the Yi-Jing (Book of Mutation) interpretation. Instead of searching a hermeneutic order in establishing a system of images - cosmic and ethical at the same time, Zhuangzhi had reversed the function of image in echo to the idea of Laozhi that the most relevant image is without figure or form. But Zhuangzhi himself used lots of imaginary discourses to designate his idea of transformation of value and of meaning. The images of the handicapped or the huge strange trees are this kind of images that urges the human habitude of utility to be replaced by a natural uselessness. The imaginary journey described by Zhuangzhi, i.e. the ultimately free wandering, indicates a way to throw oneself into the becoming of nature. Thus imagination can restore the vitality to the socially and politically distorted human life by keep open the place of Nature.In this contrast, meanwhile being conscious of the original uncertainty of imagination in relation to its conceptual determination, we try to elaborate a different way of situating ourselves in the world. Kept in distance with the manipulation view of modern subjectivity, an approach to a possible determination of imagination is not catch it again in the conceptual cage, but to activate a different way of living, especially living in the cosmos.
Relation: Universitas, Volume 37, Issue 4, Pages 93-128
Data Type: article
Appears in Collections:[哲學系] 期刊論文

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