Imagination and the Capabilities Approach

Authored by: Natalie M. Fletcher

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415739481
eBook ISBN: 9781315657905
Adobe ISBN: 9781317329459


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Does imagination have a political dimension? If a significant aim of contemporary democracies is to promote the self-determination of citizens by ensuring certain crucial freedoms, imagination can be deemed as an important avenue for expanding the scope of agency. After all, it is through our imaginative faculties that we can envision our current and future contexts from more diverse frames of reference, and develop a broadened lens with which to approach and assess our lived experience. Without imagination, we run the risk of limiting our agency through a narrow, impoverished outlook that restricts our sense of opportunity and our potential to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives. In turn, we may lack the imaginative resources to see ourselves as capable agents who can contribute to enhancing the political landscapes in which we find ourselves, simply by living out and embodying the freedoms we have envisaged as most valuable.

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