Between Transcendence and Immanence
Husserl and Ibn al-‘Arabi on the Imagination
The trajectory of Edmund Husserl’s thought on “phantasy” points toward a de-emphasis of both perception and presence as tools for understanding the imagination. I will argue, however, that Husserl’s treatment of “phantasy” is ultimately deficient inasmuch as it focuses on the epistemological function of the imagination, while neglecting its ontological significance. As a corrective, I will develop an ontological concept of imagination by drawing on the work of the 12thcentury Sufi philosopher, Ibn al-‘Arabi. It will be shown that the imagination is a constitutive feature of both the world (as the horizon of possibility) and all knowledge of the world (as an intentional relationship); it is both ontologically and epistemologically essential.
Keywords: Imagination, Edmund Husserl, Phantasy, Phenomenology, Ibn al-‘Arabi