Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo


  • Lars Sandbeck
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_1188

Related Terms


The Greek and Latin terms for imagination reveal that imagination, from the beginning of Western thought, has been conceived as a kind of secondary, internal perception or sight. The Greek word phantasia is derived from phainesthai, meaning “to make oneself visible or seen,” and the underlying assumption seems to be that what makes itself seen through the imagination is something akin to but nonetheless different from sense perceptions. According to Aristotle (384–322), imagination makes images or representations appear, and these images (phantasmata) “are similar to objects perceived except that they are without matter” (432a9-10). Aristotle even suggests that phantasia (imagination) ultimately is derived from pháos(light) (429a3-4), since nothing, in Aristotle’s view, can appear to the perceiving mind without light. Thus, on this account, imagination is, metaphorically speaking, an internal light that...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Sandbeck
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark