Insight Conference
Prof. Stephen Asma
5:05pm - 5:35pm
Track 4: Rudolf Virchow Room


Therapeutic and Epistemic Power of Imaginative (mythopoetic) Cognition – and its Role in the Re-enchantment of the Modern World

Dominant paradigms of the mind in psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science have ignored the imagination and discounted mythopoetic cognition. The imagination is often treated as a non-adaptive byproduct of adaptive information-processing cognitive architecture. At best, imagination is conceptualized as derivative fantasy –enchanting, but false. In this talk, Asma will argue for the primacy of imagination as the evolved (phylogenetic) and the developmental (ontogenetic) form of mind. Reversing the usual order, Asma will show that imaginative mind has adaptive epistemic and therapeutic power. It is crucial for the discovery of valuable affordances in the physical and social environment. Moreover, as psychedelics research and phenomenology has begun to show, there are ways to cultivate our mythopoetic cognition –thereby reenchanting the modern world.


Professor of Philosophy

Prof. Stephen Asma

Columbia College Chicago
View Speaker Profile