Chapter 17: Natural law and imagination
Yannick Imbert’s chapter explores the interconnections between natural law and imagination. It is tempting to think of natural law and imagination as belonging to different realms since natural law attempts to describe reality, while imagination is often associated with fiction. However, Imbert suggests that this line of thought is misleading. Both natural law and imagination, he argues, can be understood as having normative, situational, and existential dimensions. These three aspects are represented in natural law by the notions of divine order, natural order, and moral order; in imagination, they correspond to sense perception, human thought, and aesthetics. This threefold scheme, Imbert contends, enables us to see how imagination can help to unite the diverse aspects of natural law into a coherent whole. We use the forms of imagination to help us connect divine order with natural order, natural order with moral order, and moral order with divine order. Imagination helps us to think through our place in the world in a way that helps us understand not only the various manifestations of natural law, but also the underlying relationship between God, nature, and human existence.
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