Imagination has, however surprisingly, become a term to conjure with in the sciences of brain and mind. This essay considers the ways “imagination” is currently being constructed by cognitive scientists and neuroscientists in relation to a humanist discourse on imagination going back to the eighteenth century and especially the Romantic era. Recent scientific formulations of imagination at once overlap significantly with long-standing humanist constructions, borrowing some of the term’s luster and cultural resonance, while often delimiting it or diminishing it in the interests of a dubiously instrumental and adaptationist ethos. I propose that scientists and literary scholars stand to gain equally from greater interdisciplinary dialogue on this rich and notoriously problematic topic.
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Alan Richardson; Defaulting to Fiction: Neuroscience Rediscovers the Romantic Imagination. Poetics Today 1 December 2011; 32 (4): 663–692. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-1459845
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