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If one is provided with imagination
, one can see very beautiful
things with me , 17/7/1930 ( John Elsas )

Fantasy or fantasy ( ancient Greek φαντασία phantasía - "appearance", "imagination", "dream face", "ghost") denotes a creative ability of humans. The term is often linked to the area of ​​the pictorial (memory images , imaginary images ), but can also be related to linguistic and logical achievements ( ideas ). In the narrower sense of the power of imagination or imagination , fantasy primarily means the ability to generate inner images and thus an “inner world”. The result of this creative power, the individual image, is also called phantasm . In today's parlance, the term “imagination” usually includes both the ability and the result of “imagining”. Sometimes the term is also used derogatory in the sense of a fiction or a pipe dream .

Word usage and meaning

By phantasia, Aristotle understood the idea as an after-effect of perception , which also occurs without perception.

The Stoics and Epicureans made a distinction between phantasia and phantasma .

According to Wilhelm Wundt , phantasy is “thinking in individual sensory ideas”, “thinking in pictures”. The “imagination” is an overall image created through apperceptive synthesis .

Imagination is a prerequisite for empathy , the ability to empathize with other people and to “understand” them. Imagination is also considered conducive to creativity and art, as well as purposeful action.

In the sciences too , knowledge without imagination is often impossible. Imagination plays an important role in the synthesis of empirical observations and findings, which are meaningless without translation and interpretation work on the part of the researcher. In chemistry August Kekulé and in sociology Georg Simmel emerged as productive and imaginative. In futurology , Robert Jungk became known with his future workshop as a representative of a politically committed "fantasy movement".

In the adjectival use of the term “fantastic”, extraordinary things, situations or events are sometimes described, e.g. For example: "a fantastic result", "a fantastic concert". On the other hand, derogatory statements are also possible: "That is too fantastic, I don't think so" is synonymous with "you fantasize", "you are crazy".

Duden online defines Phantast as “a person with exaggerated ideas who cannot distinguish between dream and reality; Schwärmer ”and recommends the spelling Fantast .

Psychological aspects

Psychologically based fancy our imagination ability , allows the memory and other thinking in all its forms.

Psychoanalytically , the appearance of phantasy is expected when instincts cannot be lived out in reality . According to psychodynamic ideas, the phantasy represents, so to speak, an outlet for instinctual satisfaction.

Early experiments in psychology with students indicated that acting out offensive aggression in the imagination leads to the reduction of aggressive instincts. However, this contradicts recent research in learning psychology (sensu Bandura).

Similarities and differences to creativity

Creativity and fantasy in the sense of the power of imagination are related to one another, because both contain thinking that is to a certain extent withdrawn from reality. But creativity is more connected to reality than to fantasy. Imagination can be viewed as the ability to go beyond the objective world. Imagination can therefore fuel creativity, although creativity requires more than just the ability to go beyond reality. Creativity also requires the criterion of appropriateness or usefulness.


See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Fantasy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Fantasie  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Fantasy in DUDEN as the recommended spelling
  2. a b c Rudolf Eisler: Dictionary of Philosophical Terms . 2006.
  4. Details are provided by Dirk Hartmann in The Philosophical Foundations of Psychology ( Memento of the original from November 26, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in part II chap. 2.3 p. 146ff. (PDF file p. 153ff; 17.1 MB) as well as by Colin McGinn in his study Mindsight or The Spiritual Eye - illustrated and discussed by the power of the imagination . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. H. Maus, F. Fürstenberg (ed.): Texts from experimental social psychology ; Luchterhand, Neuwied 1969
  6. ^ Seymour Feshbach: The Drive-Reducing Function of Fantasy-Behavior ; In: Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology ; No. 50/1955, pp. 3-11
  7. ^ Mark A. Runco, Jeremy Pina: Imagination and Personal Creativity . Oxford University Press, April 30, 2013, doi : 10.1093 / oxfordhb / 9780195395761.013.0024 ( [accessed November 11, 2019]).