On the extraordinary nature of the ordinary things around us.

What is the role of imagination in Science?

Allow me to briefly introduce myself. My name is Sabine Winters. I live with my daughter and partner near the woods, where we love to hike. I work as a freelance philosopher and as a professional in the world of philosophy, science and art, I’m practically oriented and interested in the process of idea development and the ‘how and why’ behind a theory or process. Over the last seven years, I have organized, directed and programmed many interdisciplinary workshops, meetings and lectures – in assignment as well as for my platform Future Based. I programmed three residency periods each of three months in which interdisciplinary teams of scientists and artists worked together on cases (provided by institutions or companies).

Why did I opt for an interdisciplinary approach in my work you might ask. Well, I believe that interdisciplinary research allows for a synthesis of ideas that integrates characteristics from different disciplines. The crossing of borders between disciplines can be highly potent spaces, but the challenge lies in how to bridge the different disciplines in such ways that they can trade and integrate information successfully. Therefore, I’m equally interested in analysing the pitfalls of interdisciplinary projects. I strongly believe that the potentials and pitfalls of interdisciplinary research—art, science, design, technology— merits further attention.

I’m pursuing a Master’s degree, specializing in philosophy and science at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. This specialization research developed with a focus on the role of the imagination in astronomy. However next to the academic research I’m equally interested in the role of imagination in the natural sciences in the broadest sense. Therefore, I started Scientific Imagination. Scientific Imagination is aimed to analyze the role of the imagination, not only in the context of discovery (from this perspective, imagination as a source of knowledge is connected to innovation) but also in the context of justification (What relationship does imagination have with reality?), and context of interpretation (What is the connection between visualization and imagination? In what way does data constrain imagination?) Does imagination has a truth value and if so, how and in what definition? By sharing podcasts and articles and organizing reading sessions, I hope to share some of my enthusiasm for this particular field of philosophy.

Studying topics thematically is an ideal way to bring a variety of ideas and approaches together, which can result in inspiration, new perspectives and meaningful learning. With this in mind, Scientific Imagination will focus on the function of imagination in sciences from different perspectives, which will form the roots of the project.

The philosophical quest of this project is based on the wish to understand more about the role of imagination in our understanding of the world. Furthermore, the different perspectives on the function of imagination, represents a wider perspective on questions on human knowledge: how we obtain knowledge and which beliefs we hold about the methodologies in acquiring knowledge.

Thank you for your interest in the project.

Sabine Winters