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Imagination as a Way of knowing
What is the role of imagination in producing knowledge about a real world?
Can imagination reveal truths that reality hide?
What is the role of the imagination in understanding others?
These example stimulus questions (provided in the IB Theory of knowledge guide) could be in your mind as you look at the resource suggestions listed below.
Imagination as a Way of kNowing
Not for Profit by
Call Number: 370.115 NUS
Publication Date: 2010
In this short and powerful book, celebrated philosopher Martha Nussbaum makes a passionate case for the importance of the liberal arts at all levels of education. Historically, the humanities have been central to education because they have rightly been seen as essential for creating competent democratic citizens. But recently, Nussbaum argues, thinking about the aims of education has gone disturbingly awry both in the United States and abroad. Anxiously focused on national economic growth, we increasingly treat education as though its primary goal were to teach students to be economically productive rather than to think critically and become knowledgeable and empathetic citizens. This shortsighted focus on profitable skills has eroded our ability to criticize authority, reduced our sympathy with the marginalized and different, and damaged our competence to deal with complex global problems. And the loss of these basic capacities jeopardizes the health of democracies and the hope of a decent world. In response to this dire situation, Nussbaum argues that we must resist efforts to reduce education to a tool of the gross national product. Rather, we must work to reconnect education to the humanities in order to give students the capacity to be true democratic citizens of their countries and the world. There is a chapter on imagination.
Imaginative Realism by
Call Number: 709.0343 GUR
Publication Date: 2009
An award-winning fantasy artist and the creator of Dinotopia, James Gurney instructs and inspires in Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist. Renowned for his uncanny ability to incorporate amazing detail and imagination into stunningly realistic fantasy settings, James Gurney teaches budding artists and fans of fantasy art step-by-step the techniques that won him worldwide critical acclaim. Beginning with a survey of imaginative paintings from the Renaissance to the golden Age of American illustration, the book then goes on to explain not just techniques like sketching and composition, but also the fundamentals of believable world building including archaeology, architecture, anatomy for creatures and aliens, and fantastic engineering. Could be used as an example of how imagination works in the arts.
The Collected What If? by
Call Number: 909 WHA
Publication Date: 2006
Eminent historians imagine what might have been.
The black swan: the impact of the highly improbable by
Call Number: 003.54 TAL
Publication Date: 2007
"A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don't know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the 'impossible.' For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. Now, in this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don't know. He offers surprisingly simple tricks for dealing with black swans and benefiting from them." -- Book jacket.
The App Generation by
Publication Date: 2013
No one has failed to notice that the current generation of youth is deeply—some would say totally—involved with digital media. Professors Howard Gardner and Katie Davis name today’s young people The App Generation, and in this spellbinding book they explore what it means to be “app-dependent” versus “app-enabled” and how life for this generation differs from life before the digital era. Gardner and Davis are concerned with three vital areas of adolescent life: identity, intimacy, and imagination. Through innovative research, including interviews of young people, focus groups of those who work with them, and a unique comparison of youthful artistic productions before and after the digital revolution, the authors uncover the drawbacks of apps: they may foreclose a sense of identity, encourage superficial relations with others, and stunt creative imagination. On the other hand, the benefits of apps are equally striking: they can promote a strong sense of identity, allow deep relationships, and stimulate creativity. The challenge is to venture beyond the ways that apps are designed to be used, Gardner and Davis conclude, and they suggest how the power of apps can be a springboard to greater creativity and higher aspirations.
In addition to the suggestions above, you can also try databases, such as JSTOR, Project Muse and ProQuest Central, on the Reference Sites page of the College Portal (website).