Imagination between Physick and Philosophy: On the Central Role of the Imagination in the Work of Henry More (1614-1687)

Abstract : I argue that the imagination plays a central role in the thought of the Cambridge Platonist Henry More. First, physiological descriptions of melancholy and imagination were at the heart of his attack against enthusiasm and atheism. Second, in order to defend his metaphysical dualism, he had to respond to traditional accounts of the imagination as a mediating faculty between body and soul. Third, More also opposed the traditional view that the imagination was a material faculty, because in the context of 17th century philosophy and medicine, such ideas could lead to materialism. More's metaphysics led him to propose a novel view in which the imagination was part of the immaterial soul and at the same level as reason. In his physiological descriptions, however, he retained a gradualist view on the imagination that suggested intermediate stages between material and immaterial substances. Although his metaphysical and physiological descriptions seem to conflict, I suggest that the conflict can be mitigated by his interpretation of the body as the instrument of the soul.
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Koen Vermeir. Imagination between Physick and Philosophy: On the Central Role of the Imagination in the Work of Henry More (1614-1687). Intellectual History Review, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2008, 18, pp.119-137. ⟨10.1080/17496970701819418⟩. ⟨halshs-00641633⟩

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