„Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.“

Edited by Martin Svoboda. Last update June 13, 2021. History
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Albert Einstein702
German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativi… 1879 - 1955

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Albert Einstein photo
Albert Einstein photo

„Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Cosmic Religion : With Other Opinions and Aphorisms (1931) by Albert Einstein, p. 97; also in Transformation : Arts, Communication, Environment (1950) by Harry Holtzman, p. 138. This may be an edited version of some nearly identical quotes from the 1929 Viereck interview below.
1930s
Context: I believe in intuition and inspiration. … At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. When the eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised. In fact I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.

Jonathan Edwards photo

„Of all the knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves, are the most important.“

—  Jonathan Edwards Christian preacher, philosopher, and theologian 1703 - 1758

Source: A careful & strict inquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of the will, which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, virtue & vice, reward & punishment, praise & blame...

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Albert Einstein photo

„Curiosity is more important than knowledge.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Variant: Imagination is more imortant than Knowledge

John Perry Barlow photo

„Imagine discovering a continent so vast that it may have no end to its dimensions. Imagine a new world with more resources than all our future greed might exhaust, more opportunities than there will ever be entrepreneurs enough to exploit, and a peculiar kind of real estate that expands with development.“

—  John Perry Barlow American poet and essayist 1947 - 2018

As quoted in Who Controls the Internet? : Illusions of a Borderless World (2006) by Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu
Context: Imagine discovering a continent so vast that it may have no end to its dimensions. Imagine a new world with more resources than all our future greed might exhaust, more opportunities than there will ever be entrepreneurs enough to exploit, and a peculiar kind of real estate that expands with development. Imagine a place where trespassers leave no footprints, where goods can be stolen infinite number of times and yet remain in the possession of their original owners, where business you never heard of can own the history of your personal affairs...

Wallace Stevens photo
Albert Einstein photo

„The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Albert Einstein photo

„Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

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„We define a semantic network as "the collection of all the relationships that concepts have to other concepts, to percepts, to procedures, and to motor mechanisms" of the knowledge."“

—  John F. Sowa artificial intelligence researcher 1940

Source: Conceptual Structures, 1984, p. 76 as cited in: Jacques Demongeot (1988) Artificial intelligence and cognitive sciences. p. 179

Northrop Frye photo

„In imaginative thought there is no real knowledge of anything but similarities (ultimately identities): knowledge of differences is merely a transition to a new knowledge of similarities.“

—  Northrop Frye Canadian literary critic and literary theorist 1912 - 1991

Source: "Quotes", Notebooks and Lectures on the Bible and Other Religious Texts (2003), p. 215

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