Thinking & Imagination (Semester 1)

This course attempts to draw attention to the way we, as humans and living beings, think and imagine. Thinking and imagining are essential functions of our existence that are often unexplored and taken for granted. However, their complexity and uniqueness requires us to examine them carefully. This course aims at asking seemingly basic but complex questions such as: what is thinking? What is the mind? What do we do when we imagine and how does it differ from thinking? How do we usually conceptualise thinking and imagining, and what are the alternative ways of doing so? Through these questions and discussions, the course also explores various other aspects of these processes such as the idea of thinking among animals, in machines, in relation to the self, etc. The course incorporates various readings and schools of thought on the processes of thinking and imagination. In integrating these readings from various disciplines, it attempts to address different understandings, philosophical and other, of these functions.


Since the syllabi in MCPH are dynamic and regularly updated, this reading list is indicative and amenable to modifications in each session.

Noami Schor, “Pensive texts and Thinking statues: Balzac and Rodin”

Jonathan Ellis, “Thinking about thinking (about Poker)”

Anna Pakes, “Dance’s Mind-Body Problem”

Rosaleen McCarthy, “Bodies Meet Minds: Choreography and Cognition”

James H. Mathewson, “Visual-Spatial Thinking”

David B. Morris, “Narrative, Ethics, and Pain: Thinking with Stories”

Donald R. Griffin, “Animal thinking”

David Morris, “Animals and Humans, Thinking and Nature”

Judith Genova, “Women and the Mismeasure of Thought”

Roland Puccetti, “On Thinking Machines and Feeling Machines”

Searle, “Can Computers think?”

A.K. Ramanujan, “Is there an Indian way of thinking?”

Larson, “An eccentric ghost in the machine: Formal and quantitative aspects of the Sankhya-Yoga dualism”

Prof. Lawrence F. Lowery, “The biological basis of thinking and learning”

Gilbert Ryle, “What is thinking?”

Peters, “Kinds of thinking”

Peferoen, “The heterogeneity of thinking”

Sundar Sarukkai, “On quiet conversation”

Thomas Nagel, “What it is like to be a bat?”

Swedberg, “Thinking and Sociology”

Hartnack, “On thinking”

Tobias, “Thinking about oneself”

Jin li, “Mind or virtue”

Rodgers, “Defining reflection: Another look at Jonn Dewey and reflective thinking”

Bennett and others, “Contesting Nature/Culture: The Creative Character of Thinking”

Geertsen, “Rethinking Thinking about Higher-Level Thinking”

Immanuel Kant, “What does it mean to orient oneself in thinking?”

Iris Murdoch, “Symposium: Thinking and Language”

Neil Tennant, “Aristotle’s Syllogisms”

Matilal, “Character of Logic in India”

Zimmerman, “Dualism in the philosophy of minds”

William Lycan, “The Mind-Body problem”

Kishore Chakrabarthy, “Understanding Nyaya-Vaisheshika Dualism”

Thompson and Dreyfus, “Asian perspective: Indian theories of Mind”

IEP article: “Image Imagery debate”

Mary J. Reichling, “Images of Imagination”

Rajashekhara, “Kavyamimamsa” (Pada-Vakya-Viveka chapter)

David Shulman, “Illumination, Imagination, Creativity”

David Shulman, “How real is the Imagination?”

Robert Kearney. “Poetics of Imagination” (Husserl, Sartre and Bachelard)

John Harker, “Reading Poetry”

Hilary Putnam, “Literature, Science and Reflection”

Gerald Holton, “On the Art of Scientific Imagination”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “Creativity”

Konstantin Stanislavsky, “An Actor Prepares”