Conference14.12.2023, 15.12.2023 and 16.12.2023
Invention and Imagination
CAN - Colégio Almada Negreiros, Room 209, Room 219 and Room SD
Detail, photo by Cartier-Bresson




In the sciences as in techniques, in the arts as in literature, invention seems to be inseparable from the possibility of making evident new connections, images, knowledge or procedures through an original combination of available means for a determined end. There is invention when previously unknown combinations are led to the identity of a defined and desired project, which usually allows the resolution of problems. In this sense, if we can easily admit that invention supposes the discovery of newly isolated data interpreted from the point of view of available models or procedures, it is equally simple to admit that a new discovery (whether scientific, technical or cultural - accepting that these fields are interconnected and express the same original dynamism) supposes the invention of forms that allow the perception of a datum that had not been noticed beforehand or whose potentiality had not been welcomed or imagined.

But how are images, imagination and invention related? What relation do they have to innovation, novelty, creation and creativity? What is the role of coincidences, inspiration or dreams in inventive processes? How essential are they to what is innovative in the very dynamism of the living subjects that we are? How are imagination and invention inscribed in the becoming of the cultural and political environment in which we live? To what extent can the invention of humanity endanger human life? Does the process of creation and invention have an immanent imaginary dynamic, in which subjects participate, or can subjectivities intentionally give rise to new images?

Focusing on philosophy and the history of ideas, the aim of this conference is to shed light on these and other questions related to the nature of imagination and invention through an interdisciplinary reflection.

Invited keynote speakers:

Vincent Bontems, CEA, France
António Bracinha Vieira, Center for the Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon
Richard Kearney, Boston College, USA
Maria Filomena Molder, IFILNOVA- NOVA University of Lisbon
Olga Pombo, Center for the Philosophy of Sciences of the University of Lisbon
Yulia Ustinova, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Elliot Wolfson, University of California Santa Barbara, USA

The organizing committee calls for papers on (but not limited to) the following topics:

Theories of Invention and Imagination in Philosophy:
- in contemporary philosophical debates
- in the history of philosophy

Invention and Imagination in Aesthetics and in the Philosophy of the Arts:
- in music and the sound arts (both composition and improvisation),
- in cinema
- in the plastic arts
- in drawing and architecture
- in dance and other movement arts
- in literary creation

Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, and the role of Invention and Imagination in knowledge:
- What is the relationship between imagination, invention and scientific discovery?
- What is the role of imagination in mathematics and geometry?
- What is the role of imagination and invention in theories, models, and representations in Physics?
- What is the role of imagination and invention in the Humanities and Social Sciences?

Invention and Imagination in the Philosophy of Techniques and Technologies:
- What is the significance of technological invention and imagination?
- invention, imagination, innovation and the spontaneity of living beings
- corporeality, imagination and invention in solving problems of praxis

Invention and Imagination in the Philosophy of Education and Psychology:
- Imagination and invention in the tension between traditions, transmission, and innovation
- Can we educate for what is not yet?
- Memory, imagination and fiction.
- Invention, imagination, affectivity and emotions.
- Invention, space and the unconscious image of the body.
- Unconscious, dreams, insights and their role in creation and knowledge.

Invention and Imagination in the History and Philosophy of Religions and Spiritualities
- Ecstasy, vision and reconfiguration of the world.
- How to figure the infinite?
- The symbolic imagination and the invisible and ineffable dynamics of mind and body.
- Invention, imagination and altered states of consciousness.
- What is the significance of imagination in the debates between iconodulism and iconoclasm?
- Theories of the "imaginal" in the relation between immanence and transcendence, in prophetic vision, etc.
- images, invention and fantasy in philosophy as a way of life.

Proposals should be sent to
by July 7th, 2023.

Decisions will be communicated by September 15.

Proposals for individual papers and panels (a thematically coherent set of 3 or 4 papers) are welcome.

This conference will have a hybrid format and each participant may choose at the beginning to present a communication in person or over the Internet (via Zoom). Each presentation and its discussion may last up to 30 minutes (for instance 20+10 min. or 25+5 min), in one of the following languages: English, French, Portuguese or Spanish.

Each submitted proposal must contain two separate documents:

- A word or pdf file with the title, the abstract (200 to 300 words per paper), 5 keywords and 3 to 5 bibliographical references.
- A word or pdf file with the identification of the person making the proposal (name(s), brief bio-bibliographical note(s), contact(s) and statement of preference on the modality of intervention in person or online)


Scientific Committee

Maria de Jesus Cabral (CEHUM)
João Pedro Cachopo (CESEM- NOVA)
António Caeiro (NOVA-FCSH, IFILNOVA)
Carlos Caires (ESML, CESEM-NOVA)
Nélio Conceição (IFILNOVA)
Guido Guiglioni (University di Macerata)
Ana Lúcia Mandelli de Marcillac (UFSC)
Soraya Nour-Sckell (CFUL, NOVA School of Law)
Susana Viegas (IFILNOVA)


Organising Committee

Nuno Miguel Proença (CHAM)

Adelino Cardoso (CHAM)

Teresa Lousa (CHAM; FBAUL)

Nuno Fonseca  (IFILNOVA)

Paulo Cardoso de Jesus (CFCUL)








CFUL - ULisboa

CFUL is financed with National Funds through FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., within the project 00310/2020.


Poster (.pdf)

Abstracts (.pdf)

Program (.pdf)