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Three Models of Imagination in the Age of the Knowledge Economy

Peter Murphy, Michael A. Peters and Simon Marginson

Advancement in the arts and sciences is a primary driver of economic production and social policy in post-industrial societies. Imagination steps back and asks ‘what advances the arts and sciences?’ This book explores the collective, social and global dimension of human imagining–and the ambivalent relationship of social institutions, including universities, schools, economies, media and culture industries, to the collective imagination. Basic discovery requires high levels of creative thinking: Imagination looks at the social conditions that make path-breaking thought possible on a large scale. It examines the role of aesthetic, pictorial, digital, paradoxical and other imaginative styles of thinking, and the times and places in which such styles become socially prominent and a significant force in economic and cultural production. It looks at successful societies as they are approaching their peak, when new ideas are driving them forward.


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Preface vii Acknowledgements xi Introduction 1 PETER MURPHY Model One: Collective Creation 1. Imagination 23 PETER MURPHY 2. Creation 57 PETER MURPHY 3. Discovery 87 PETER MURPHY Model Two: Global Imagination 4. World 139 SIMON MARGINSON 5. University 167 SIMON MARGINSON 6. Nation 225 SIMON MARGINSON Model Three: Re-Imagining Education 7. Thinking 329 MICHAEL A. PETERS 8. Image 345 MICHAEL A. PETERS 9. Practice 363 MICHAEL A. PETERS About the Authors 383 Index 387 vi PREFACE In this, the third of a series on creativity in the age of the knowledge econ-omy, we focus on the dimension of imagination. Intellectual interest in the subject of the imagination has ebbed and flowed across the past three centuries. From Addison’s ‘The Pleasures of the Imagination’ (1712) the topic passes to Burke and Hume and then to Lessing and Kant—and finally segueing via the latter two to Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (1817). The next significant surge of interest occurs in the 1930s, with the closely timed production of Dewey’s Art as Experience (1934), Sartre’s The Psychology of Imagination (1936), and Collingwood’s Principles of Art (1938). The cachet of the term imagination ensures that it is mentioned now in passing often and with a cer- tain casual awe. But as quickly as it is mentioned, it is dispensed with. Everyone seems to admire imagination and to reckon that being imaginative is a mar- vellous thing. The ‘creative imagination,’ which may be a tautology, is also highly rated. Nevertheless, actual explanations of what is...

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