- by Mount Saint Mary College
Sarah Maple standing at a podium.

Sarah Maple, assistant professor of Religious Studies at Mount Saint Mary College, recently presented "Imagination, Intuition, and the Beautiful," part of the college's Investigating Research on Campus (iROC) series.

Elizabeth Anscombe was a 20th-century Cambridge scholar widely known for her work in Ethics. In her talk, Maple explored Anscombe's unpublished work on imagination and her possible contributions to the conversation of creative intuition.

"To my knowledge, her thoughts on imagination are not widely known or spoken of," said Maple, adding that Anscombe defined imagination as "the ability to problem solve." Anscombe posited that each animal – including humans – has the capacity for imagination. The distinction comes in the manners and methods each animal employs.

For humans, Anscombe saw imagination as "sensory" – that is, employing our five senses, but also sensory as in "something known, sensed."

First trained as a painter, Maple became fascinated with the moral questions surrounding beauty.  Her talk included her doctoral research, her lived experience of creative intuition, and ongoing research work with the University of Pennsylvania's Elizabeth Anscombe Archive.

Maple, a Mount professor since 2019, earned a Ph.D. in Theology, Imagination & Art from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Her recent publication in God is Beauty is a commentary on Pope John Paul II's previously unpublished retreat for artists. She has recently received an emerging scholars grant from the University of Oxford to support her research and forthcoming publication on beauty, modern art, and the interior life of artists.

The goal of the college's iROC is to provide a forum for Mount faculty, staff, and students to showcase their research endeavors with the college and local communities. Presentations include research proposals, initial data collection, and completed research projects.

Mount Saint Mary College, ranked a Top-Tier University by U.S. News & World Report, offers bachelor's and master's degree programs for careers in healthcare, business, education, social services, communications, media, and the liberal arts.


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