Sean Purcell


Research Area:

Most philosophical approaches to imagination have focused on perception, creativity, or genius.  Paul Ricoeur breaks with the tradition by examining imagination in terms of its function in language, particularly in forms of symbolic language.  This move to understand imagination by its role in particular types of discourse such as metaphors and narratives places imagination within the network of questions related to the problem of interpretation. It is this novel move by Ricoeur that removes some of the veil that prevents our access to imagination by locating it in the everyday activity of language.   My research aims to understand Ricoeur’s significant contribution to a philosophy of the imagination while at the same time attending to the questions that emerge from his reliance on Kant and Heidegger.  This approach will bring to light the questions regarding the ontology and anthropology that undergird Ricoeur's framework.  These questions regarding the basic philosophical foundation for imagination open the door to place Ricoeur's work into dialogue with the work of Reformational philosopher Calvin Seerveld.  His modal aesthetic framework offers a way to understand imagination from within a scripturally-directed non-reductionistic ontology and anthropology.  Hopefully this interaction between Seerveld and Ricoeur will open up new insights into how imagination functions in God's world.

About Sean:

Sean, who is originally from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and his wife Krista, who hails from Grimsby, Ontario, and their daughter Ella (age 3) have now lived in Hamilton for three years.  Prior to moving to Hamilton, Ontario Sean and Krista lived and worked at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.  While at Geneva Sean completed his M.A. in Higher Education and then taught undergrad courses part-time while continuing his graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh.   At Geneva, Krista worked as a Residence Hall Director where she advised, counseled, and administered a college residence of 120 students.  Serving in that capacity offered Sean and Krista the unique opportunity to live in the residence hall alongside undergraduate students which cemented in both of them a love for students and the importance of the university years.

Stories from Sean Purcell