Between Transcendence and Immanence

Husserl and Ibn al-‘Arabi on the Imagination

  • Adam Wells Emory & Henry College


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

Author Biography

Adam Wells, Emory & Henry College

Assistant Professor of Religion

How to Cite
WELLS, Adam. Between Transcendence and Immanence. Diakrisis Yearbook of Theology and Philosophy, [S.l.], v. 1, p. 165-178, may 2018. ISSN 2601-7415. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 09 july 2020. doi: