THE MEANING OF THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN FANTASY AND IMAGINATION FOR THE CONSERVATIVE DISCOURSE: THE PHILOSOPHY OF ROGER SCRUTON

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Abstract


The author points out and explains the quiddity of the relationship between conservatism and aesthetics as a philosophical discipline. It is shown that the aesthetic distinction between fantasy and imagination, set forth by S.T. Coleridge, is a serious tool of conservative critique and self-critique. From the conservative point of view, imagination is a creative faculty, while fantasy is a passive one, i.e. dependent hugely on passions. It is for that reason that the latter is often understood as a preliminary source for utopian or, in other words, wishful thinking. The discussed distinction fits in the general pattern of conservative epistemology, the greatest exponent of which was D. Hume. The critical uses of the distinction today are partially exposed by Roger Scruton, a British conservative philosopher, in works such as “The Uses of Pes-simism: and the Danger of False Hope”, “Modern Culture and Thinkers of the New Left”. The author argues that the distinction is apt to play not only critical but also a constructive role in shaping the conservative discourse.


About the authors

N S Glazkov

Higher School of Economics - National Research University

Author for correspondence.
Email: lazkovnikita@gmail.com
20, Myasnitskaya Str., 101000, Moscow, Russian Federation

Глазков Никита Сергеевич - аспирант школы философии Национального исследовательского университета «Высшая школа экономики»

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