Preprint / Version 1

The Role of the Imagination in the Good Life


  • Cayla Bleoaja Polygence



Philosophy, Imagination, Reason, Truth, Knowledge


How does the imagination, as the capacity for image-making and image-perceiving, relate to the visible world and the immaterial? Plato, in his Socratic dialogue, The Republic, Wordsworth in his autobiographical poem, The Prelude, and Thoreau in his reflective personal account, Walden, ideal models of society and the individual. As they address the complex relationship between the mind and the world, each provides a model of the role of the imagination in the good life, which, in conversation, give insight into how images and the human capacity for creative transcendence are capable of being a means to acquiring true understanding.


Plato, and John M. Cooper. Complete Works. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2009.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden, Or, Life in the Woods ; and Civil Disobedience. New York: Signet Classics, 2012.

Wordsworth, William. The Prelude or, Growth of a Poet’s Mind; an Autobiographical Poem. DjVu Editions, 2001.