'The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless' proclaimed Rousseau. But thinking we can imagine anything risks making the world more understandable and knowable than it is. Imagination operates within the ideas and concepts we already have available to us. Once we thought it unimaginable that a thing was in two places at once, yet this is just such a reality described by quantum mechanics. While many argue imagination is not sufficient to fully empathise with another, instead we need to have had similar experiences.
Do we need to recognise that imagination is limited and with it so also is our understanding of the world and the lives and experiences of others? Should we see scientists and novelists as being profoundly constrained in their ability to uncover reality or describe the world of those with radically different experiences? Or is this to severely hobble our capacity to make sense of the world and was Rousseau right that the power of the imagination is unlimited?