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The Evolution of Imagination

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3.50  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Consider Miles Davis, horn held high, sculpting a powerful musical statement full of tonal patterns, inside jokes, and thrilling climactic phrases—all on the fly. Or think of a comedy troupe riffing on a couple of cues from the audience until the whole room is erupting with laughter. Or maybe it’s a team of software engineers brainstorming their way to the next Google, or ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 21st 2017 by University of Chicago Press
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Eduardo
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Asma writes in this book that imagination needs several crucial ingredients to operate well (or just operate). These key features are:
-spontaneity
-intuition
-adaptativeness
-resource deficiency prompting
-natural or self-imposed disciplines
-emergency or high-stakes conditions
-simultaneous ability to perform and compose
Would it not a work of art (literary, pictorial, musical, etc.) fail or succeed depending on how well or not an artist plays or possesses these features or ingredients?
Stephen Palmer
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, music
This is a particularly good book for artists of all types to read. The author is a jazz musician, and themes of improvisation - which jazz thrives on - run through the work. But this book is in the main a deep and often well thought out exploration of imagination and creativity, with much to say about the evolution of the modern human mind.

The book is split into six chapters dealing with: the mental models we carry in our minds, how our bodies may be the source of creativity especially in music,
...more
James
If you enjoy the unsettled, open-minded, and ambiguous in life, you are likely to take pleasure in this rigorous study of neuroscience and behavior. The author is the multifaceted scholar and philosophy and humanities prof that performs with some great musicians and composes as well. His thesis is that everything we think and do is grounded in improvisation and imagination. Unfortunately, he does not adequately acknowledge the role of the audience in performance.
Alex Delogu
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
The main premise of The Evolution of Imagination is that the imagination was a form of thinking as powerful as language and even predating language in human evolution. Usually the imagination is relegated to second chair in terms of "thinking power", second to language and reason, but on its own it boasts a forceful mode of "thinking" in the face of a messy world. Imagination and improvisation are near synonymous, though the distinctions are laid out, as modes of navigating an ever-changing ...more
Michael Norwitz
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A history of imagination and an analysis of the various ways in which it manifests. Some though-provoking ideas but the author covers too much ground in not enough depth to be completely satisfying.
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Stephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar.

He is the author of "Why We Need Religion" (Oxford) and "Against Fairness" (University of Chicago Press), among others.

In 2003, he was Visiting Professor at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. There he taught "Buddhist Philosophy" as part of their pilot
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