Meet the Panelists (01:06)
Debate moderator Jonathan Derbyshire introduces "The Illusions of Postmodernism" author Terry Eagleton, NYU philosophy professor Paul Boghossian, and "Chocolat" author Joanne Harris.
Terry Eagleton: The Pitch (06:47)
Eagleton questions the concept of imagination as inherently positive. He explains its development, from an empirical perspective, as a way to understand one another and as a response to an increasingly un-creative society; he argues that it is an ideology. According to Freud, fantasy reflects our inner realities.
Joanne Harris: The Pitch (05:17)
Harris argues that imagination has been misunderstood, rather than romanticized; it helps children develop intelligence and empathy. Adults tend to ignore the right brain, but creativity and future thinking are essential to being human. We use imagination to explore reality within metaphorical constraints; it is a response to technological alienation.
Paul Boghossian: The Pitch (04:40)
Boghossian say that one of the primary uses for the imagination is to imagine things that are possible but not real. It can create reality, when mediated by intentions; he argues that it is the source of human creativity. An important function is to answer hypothetical questions necessary in science.
Theme One: Feeling and Imagination (07:55)
Eagleton argues that denying objective reality can be used for political oppression; justice systems rely on truths. He argues that empathy is not required to behave justly and morally. Harris argues that language for empathy is limited; normal humans understand suffering, joy, and love.
Theme Two: Imagining Morality (06:36)
Boghossian discusses using empathetic understanding to see enemy perspectives. Eagleton emphasizes that understanding is not necessarily condoning. Marx believed Utopian thinking was extrapolated from reality and not radical enough. Harris says 18th century thinkers took an intuitive leap.
Theme Three: Beyond Imagination - Part One (05:05)
Boghossian discusses imagination in terms of distinguishing mental representation from perception. Eagleton discusses how imagination subsumes reality, and compares the distinction between fantasy and imagination to dreams and art work. Stories are human constructs, and writers use empathy to connect with readers.
Beyond Imagination - Part Two (06:01)
Boghossian argues that scientific breakthroughs have been imagined as different to observable reality. Eagleton argues that capitalism has over used Kant's concept of transformative imagination. Boghossian says the imagination transforms psychological reality when one aspires to become a different type of person.
Credits: Strange New Worlds: Imagining Reality (00:07)
Credits: Strange New Worlds: Imagining Reality
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