All religion and much philosophy has been concerned with the contrast between the ephemeral and the eternal. Human beings have always sought ways to overcome time, and to prove that death is not the end. This book consists then in an exploration of certain closely related ideas: personal identity, time, history and our commitment to the future, and the role of imagination in life.Warnock argues in particular that the notion of personal immortality, as it appears in Christian dogma, cannot be taken literally. Nevertheless, as a metaphor, immortality may illuminate both our relation with the past, our understanding of the present and our responsibility for the future. In the course of the argument, philosophical themes of personal identity, of history, and of values, are explored, as well as the cognitive content of the imagination.
"Warnock cites philosophers next to poets, writers of literature next to writers of history, illuminating the ongoing discussion of imagination and the role that imagination plays in the human struggle to understand ourselves and the world around us." (Resource Center Blog)
1. Introduction: The Inner and the Outer World.
2. Imagination and the Idea of Genius.
3. Imaginative Interpretations.
4. The Symbolic.
6. Personal Identity.
8. The Future.