Sarah L. Gibbons
This book departs from much of the scholarship on Kant by demonstrating the centrality of imagination to Kant's philosophy as a whole. In Kant's works, human experience is simultaneously passive and active, thought and sensed, free and unfree: these dualisms are ofen thought of as unfortunate byproducts of his system. Gibbons, however, shows that imagination performs a vital function in 'bridging gaps' between the different elements of cognition and experience. Thus, the role imagination plays in Kant's works expresses his fundamental insight into the complexity of cognition for finite rational beings such as ourselves. Gibbons begins with an interpretation of synthesis which shows it to be a broader activity than most accounts suggest. Examining the first Critique, she presents a reading of the Transcendental Deduction and the chapter on Schematism that spells out the extraconceptual activities of imagination essential to cognition. This account of imagination is built upon in the Critique of Judgment, where Kant elaborates its role in characterizing the subjective conditions of judgement.
Throughout, the cooperation of imagination and reason is highlighted; Gibbons shows that on Kant's account, human beings pursue reason's ideal ends through the provisional and continuing attempt to articulate them. This attempt involves an appeal to a shared social and historical imagination - thus, a full characterization of the subjective conditions of judgement must include the role of imagination.