Fantasy and the Historiography of Imagination

Part of the International Archives Of The History Of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 189)

The question of accessibility presents the first difficulty. Why should spirituality be an interesting subject for analysis? Spirituality is not the topic of ‘real’ philosophy, insofar as philosophy is concerned with human emancipation. On the contrary, the literature that deals with spirituality is not enlightened, in the sense of the Age of Enlightenment, and has little in common with the project of human and philosophical autonomy. The subject of spiritual literature is human dependency on worlds defined as being beyond and exceeding the earthly one. The worlds of spirituality are fantastical, deriving from revelations that cannot be critically investigated. Yet they must nonetheless be taken for real because of their impact on human behaviour, even if there is no other proof of their existence than the belief in their revelation. Their existence can only be proven in a logical circle: They are held to be real since they are believed to have effects. This belief may be the particular effect they have, and this is indeed precisely what believers attribute to the spiritual world. Thus there is no possible critical or emancipatory access to the world of spirituality.


Common Sense Religious Experience Short History External Reality Spiritual World 
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© Springer 2004

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