The Phenomenology of the Creative Imagination: Philo of Alexandria and Ibn ‘Arabi

  • Marie Antonios Sassine
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 119)


The paper is an exploration of the phenomenology of the creative imagination as a site of encounter and transformation in Philo and Ibn ‘Arabi. The encounter, we suggest, is one with the infinite source of language, and with a specific form of language—Logos, speech, naming.

In some ways this phenomenology anticipates two related ideas found in Lacan—that speech (la parole) is a gift from language, and, further, that the ‘parole’ is always seeking a response from the other, that it calls out to the other a name which may or may not be assumed.

Philo and Ibn ‘Arabi lived at the crossroads of pluralistic and complex cultures. Part of the value of looking at the question of the infinite in their work is that it may tell us something about how they achieved an inclusiveness in their views, while firmly remaining committed to philosophical and theological truth. Our suggestion is that in their phenomenology of the creative imagination, and the ever fresh way that new and transformative speech continues to arise from an infinite source, there is room for multiple readings and a variety of possible worlds.


Phenomenology Creative imagination Ibn ‘Arabi Philo of Alexandria Lacan Language or speech Infinite 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Collège Universitaire DominicainOttawaCanada

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