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An idea or imagination is a content of consciousness that can occur in different contexts:

  1. related to the past as an “inner” imitation of formerly real perceptions , i.e. as (therefore so-called) memories . These are mostly of a visual or pictorial nature and can also be structured in terms of time, if one lets them run analogously to the actual experience as in an “inner eye” ( cinema in the head ); to varying degrees, however, they can also have other sensual qualities , while abstract thoughts or ideas (see 3.), on the other hand, linguistically or as geometric figures and the like. Ä. to be introduced.
  2. forward-looking as an expectation or fear. For example, one can mentally simulate or play through (“imagine”) situations that are important to one or that could develop from critical to threatening. In particular, simulation games such simulations as well as ordinary "mind games". In concrete application as mental training , complex movement sequences are anticipated in this way .
  3. with no temporal or other reference to reality as an abstract idea, a term derived from the original Greek word eidos for image .

The source of an idea is always a previously sensual experience , which is repeated or changed in some way as a memory or "in thought ", "in the imagination", "mentally" or - as the colloquial expressions for what is meant are otherwise becomes.

In the traditional way of speaking, ideas are referred to as objects within the consciousness of the thinking that leads to insights or to knowledge of connections. In reality, the thinking person uses his memory or imagination material to create both simple and complex, linguistically communicable thought forms or thoughts about which he can inform someone else by telling him about them, so that the latter in turn informs about what they thought becomes. ( Information represents certain knowledge .)

Modes of presentation

The imagination can be differentiated into subcategories, so-called imagination types or imagination types. These include:

Analogous to this differentiation, types of ideas / types of ideas mostly correspond to the idea of ​​a stimulus for the five senses.


  • "Man is affected by the idea of ​​a past or future thing with the same affect of pleasure and displeasure as through the idea of ​​a present thing." ( Spinoza )
  • "The ideas are linked to form a unity through the mind." ( Immanuel Kant )
  • "The world is my imagination." ( Arthur Schopenhauer )
  • “Originally a chaos of ideas. The ideas that were compatible with each other remained, the largest number perished - and perish. "( Friedrich Nietzsche )
  • “An idea is not a picture, but a picture can correspond to it.” ( Ludwig Wittgenstein ) Philosophical Investigations § 310

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Emil Abderhalden (1925): Handbook of biological working methods: Volume 6.