Phenomenological Reviews

Series | Book | Chapter


What is productive imagination?

the hidden resources of Husserl's phenomenology of phantasy

Saulius Geniusas

pp. 135-153


The paper strives to clarify the essential structures of productive imagination using the resources of Husserlian phenomenology. According to my working hypothesis, productive imagination is a relative term, whose meaning derives from its opposition to reproductive imagination. One thus first needs to clarify what makes imagination into a reproductive mode of consciousness, and in this regard, Husserl's phenomenology proves exceptionally fruitful. My analysis unfolds in four steps. First, I fix the sense in which phantasy is an essentially reproductive mode of consciousness. Secondly, I argue that phantasy cannot be conceived as an ingredient of perceptual consciousness. Thirdly, I show that both memory and phantasy generate patterns of sense, which can subsequently be transcribed into the field of positional experience. Finally, I conclude with a suggestion that the plurality of cultural worlds can be conceived as diverse configurations of sense, which are the constitutive accomplishments of productive imagination.

Publication details

Published in:

Apostolescu Iulian (2020) The subject(s) of phenomenology: rereading Husserl. Dordrecht, Springer.

Pages: 135-153

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-29357-4_8

Full citation:

Geniusas Saulius (2020) „What is productive imagination?: the hidden resources of Husserl's phenomenology of phantasy“, In: I. Apostolescu (ed.), The subject(s) of phenomenology, Dordrecht, Springer, 135–153.