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Reason and Imagination

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Introduction

"Certain knowledge is more than opinion, less than truth."1 The arts and sciences are two very complicated areas of knowledge that have taught us that life is not that simple. It is not simply black and white. Many people believe that the natural sciences only use reason while the arts require only imagination. We know better. In philosophical terms, reason is defined as being "the intellectual ability to apprehend the truth cognitively, either immediately in intuition, or by means of a process of inference".2 Imagination on the other hand is "the revival of sense images derived from earlier perceptions and the combination of these elementary images into new unities."3 But if we examine these definitions in relation to both areas of knowledge, as philosophers, it would be fair to conclude that both areas of knowledge require reason and imagination. "Science is nothing but trained and organized common sense"4 aimed at obtaining knowledge about the natural world. Most of the time, when we are told that something (e.g. theory) is proven to be "scientifically true"5 we immediately trust it. This is because, over the years, science has achieved many advances made through the scientific method, and these advances have improved our lives dramatically. ...read more.

Middle

"Artistic impulses are found almost anywhere"7. The mimetic theory of art states that art imitates nature. Whether a person believes this or not depends entirely on one's personal view of the world, thus this idea is directly related to one's imagination. The arts are methods of expressing creativity. This can come from emotions and experiences. For example when we listen to a piece of Beethoven's music like his 8th sonata "Path�tique", we hear a slow melody which then leads to a faster melody. To some people, this could represent Beethoven's infamous temper, and how easily he goes from being calm to being angry, or to other people it may represent the hectic nature of his life and the manner in which it could unexpectedly become tangled. This is called creativity. Creativity is displayed through our ability to imagine things we have not experienced, or to create something artistically beautiful based upon these experiences. For example, poets tend to recall a life experience in their poems and more often than not, the poems will have an emotional connotation attached to them. In the famous poem "Do not go gentle in that good night" by Dylan Thomas, Thomas relives the experience of his father's death. ...read more.

Conclusion

An imagination enhanced by the arts helps us to mend our reasoning and our logic to allow for a more complete outlook on the world. Even though it is not universal truth, it does not make it completely false. Everyone has a different perception of the world; there will never be 'absolute truth' or 'universal knowledge'. 1 Alchin, Nicholas. Theory of Knowledge. London: Hodder Murray, 2003. 2 Kemerling, Garth. Philosophical Dictionary. 7 Aug. 2002. 13 Jan. 2007 <http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/r.htm#reas>. 3 Dictionary of Philososphy. Ed. Dagobert D. Runes. Totowa: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1977. 4 Alchin, Nicholas. Theory of Knowledge. London: Hodder Murray, 2003. 5 Alchin, Nicholas. Theory of Knowledge. London: Hodder Murray, 2003. 6 Alchin, Nicholas. Theory of Knowledge. London: Hodder Murray, 2003. 7 Alchin, Nicholas. Theory of Knowledge. London: Hodder Murray, 2003. 8 Downie, Robin. "Science and the imagination in the age of reason ." Medical Humanities. 13 Jan. 2007 <http://mh.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/27/2/ 58#SEC1>. 9 Downie, Robin. "Science and the imagination in the age of reason ." Medical Humanities. 13 Jan. 2007 <http://mh.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/27/2/ 58#SEC1>. 10 Downie, Robin. "Science and the imagination in the age of reason ." Medical Humanities. 13 Jan. 2007 <http://mh.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/27/2/ 58#SEC1>. 11 Alchin, Nicholas. Theory of Knowledge. London: Hodder Murray, 2003. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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