Imaginary, Ideology, Illusion: The Reality of the Unreal

February 21, 2015
Department of Philosophy, Duquesne University

United States

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Keynote speakers:

Rebecca Comay
University of Toronto

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Despite philosophy’s concern with “being,” “reality,” and “truth,” it is undeniable that we are immersed in appearances and fictions. However, because these elements occupy a space between what is fully real and what is fully unreal, between being and non-being, they therefore function autonomously from both. How does something imaginary, something that strictly speaking is not real, still produce real effects? What role does fiction, myth, ideology, or illusion play in our lives, positively or negatively? And what is the relationship between imaginative experience and knowledge? This conference will explore this intermediate domain of the imaginary, the ideological, and the illusory, and its importance for questions of ontology, politics, ethics, and philosophical anthropology. We invite submissions that engage both contemporary philosophical discourse as well as those philosophical discourses that are primarily informed by perspectives grounded in the history of philosophy (or some combination of the two).

To help facilitate this discussion, possible topics include, but are not limited to:

●     ideology in the Marxist tradition

●     the imaginary in psychoanalysis

●     illusion in Kant & Hegel

●     imagination in early modern philosophy

●     Husserl and phantasy

●     Merleau-Ponty and illusion

●     Benjamin and the dream-image

●     perception versus intellection

●     the relationship of rhetoric and opinion to reason and knowledge

●     the relationship between aesthetics and politics

●     myths and identity-formation

●     analysis of dreams and hallucination

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