Image, Imagination, and Cognition

Medieval and Early Modern Theory and Practice


How were the relations among image, imagination and cognition characterized in the period 1500 – 1800? The authors of this volume argue that in those three centuries, a thoroughgoing transformation affected the following issues: (i) what it meant to understand phenomena in the natural world (cognition); (ii) how such phenomena were visualized or pictured (images, including novel types of diagrams, structural models, maps, etc.); and (iii) what role was attributed to the faculty of the imagination (psychology, creativity). The essays collected in this volume examine the new conceptions that were advanced and the novel ways of comprehending and expressing the relations among image, imagination, and cognition. They also shed light, from a variety of perspectives, on the elusive nexus of conceptions and practices.

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Christoph Lüthy is professor in the history of philosophy and science at Radboud University, Nijmegen (The Netherlands). He has mainly published on issues and key personalities in the history of matter theories. He is particularly interested in the visual aspect of such theories, which he has examined in essays and books on Giordano Bruno, René Descartes, David Gorlaeus and the history of atomism.

Claudia Swan is professor of Art History at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (USA). She has published extensively on northern European visual culture 1400-1700, art and science, the history of collecting, and the history of the imagination. Her forthcoming book is on Encounters with the Exotic in Early Modern Holland.

Paul J.J.M. Bakker is professor of medieval and Renaissance philosophy at Radboud University, Nijmegen. His research focuses on the commentary tradition on Aristotle’s works on natural philosophy, from the late Middle Ages to the seventeenth century. He edited John Buridan’s commentary on Aristotle’s Physics (books I–II and III–IV) (Brill 2015 & 2016).

Claus Zittel teaches German literature and philosophy at the Universities of Stuttgart (Germany), and Olsztyn (Poland), and is Deputy Director of the Stuttgart Research Center for Text Studies. He has published monographs, translations and many articles on Early Modern Philosophy, including Theatrum Philosophicum. Descartes und die Rolle ästhetischer Formen in der Wissenschaft (Akademie 2009).

"This book offers a wealth of thematic contributions concerning the status and role of images and the broader conception of human imagination, primarily in Renaissance and early modern Europe [...] in sum, Image, Imagination, and Cognition will be valuable for historians of science who possess a strong interest in images and a voracious appetite for philosophical aspects of imagination and cognition."

Stefan Zieme, Humboldt University Berlin, in Isis 110.4

"The main task of Image, Imagination, and Cognition is to understand the variety of characteristics that the imagination accrued in the early modern period. Between 1500 and 1700 the relations among images, imagination, and cognition becomes a crucial topic for philosophers, artists, mathematicians, and astronomers [...] The essays collected in the volume trace the story of the imagination in early modern times through three perspectives: a philosophical inquiry (from Pomponazzi to Kant); an analysis of the role ascribed to this faculty in artistic creation; and the epistemological debate about the use of images in mathematical and astronomical treatises."

Lucia Pappalardo, Università degli Studi di Salerno, in Renaissance Quarterly LXXIII.1 (doi:10.1017/rqx.2019.571)
Notes on the Editors
Notes on the Contributors
List of Illustrations
Paul Bakker, Christoph Lüthy, and Claudia Swan

1 Imagination, Images and (Im)Mortality
Sander W. De Boer
2 Imaginatio’ and Visual Representation in Twelfth-Century Cosmology and Astronomy: Ibn al-Haytham, Stephen of Pisa (and Antioch), (Ps.) Māshāʾallāh, and (Ps.) Thābit ibn Qurra
Barbara Obrist
3 Minerva in the Forge of Vulcan: Ingegno, Fatica, and Imagination in Early Florentine Art Theory
David Zagoury
4 Bernardino Telesio on Spirit, Sense, and Imagination
Leen Spruit
5 Giovan Battista Della Porta’s Imagination
Sergius Kodera
6 Imagination in the Chamber of Sleep: Karel van Mander on Somnus and Morpheus
Christine Göttler
7 Agere Corporaliter: Otto Vaenius’s Theory of the Imagination
Ralph Dekoninck, Agnès Guiderdoni, Aline Smeesters
8 Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Views on Mathematical Imagination
Guy Claessens
9 What Does a Diagram Prove that Other Images Do Not? Images and Imagination in the Kepler-Fludd Controversy
Christoph Lüthy
10 Aristotelian Proportioned Images and Descartes’s Dynamic Imagining
Dennis L. Sepper
11 Schematism, Imagination, and Pure Intuition in Kant
Sybille Krämer
Index Nominum
All interested in the interaction between art, philosophy, psychology and science in the early-modern period.
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