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From Unburdening to Liberated Embodied Simulation. A History of Concepts

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Philosophical Anthropology, Imagination, Impotency, Uncertainty, Unburdening. Compensation, Hiatus.

What is imagination? How to think this «act» (action)? How to describe its phenomenology? And, above all, how to situate its very space in human behavior and mind? Can we outline a topic of imagination? I suggest that an appropriate blend between the tradition of philosophical anthropology, from Johann Gottfried Herder to Hans Blumenberg, and the new neuroscientific interpretation of «embodied simulation», could help us to refine our concept of imagination. I quote Herder just to refer to a noble forerunner of this genealogy, being the focus of my paper on a more controversial figure, namely Arnold Gehlen, author of an inspiring work of twentieth-century anthropology, Man. His Nature and Place in the World (1941). A brief close reading of this work and the reference to Vittorio Gallese’s «liberated embodied simulation» will help us to answer to our question: what is the real space of imagination?

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