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Noel N. Sauer

waylaid by the charge that it is caught-up in the very “illusion of immanence” that Sartre himself decries throughout both The Imagination and The Imaginary . Richard Kearney writes, “Sartre’s theory of the mental image comes perilously close to the

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Cam Clayton

Sartre's theory of the imagination is important both as an alternative to the idea that the imagination consists of images contained somehow in the mind - the "illusion of immanence" — and as an early formulation of Sartre's conception of consciousness. In this paper I defend Sartre's theory of imaginative consciousness against some of its critics. I show how difficulties with his theory parallel a perennial problem in Sartre-interpretation, that of understanding how consciousness can negate its past and posit possibilities beyond the facticity of its situation. In this short essay I will not provide a detailed exposition of Sartre's theory of the imagination. Rather, I provide the basis of an interpretation of this theory that emphasizes the role that the past plays in imaginative consciousness.