Abstract: The imagination is at the heart of what it means to be human. For this reason, it has been the subject of close examination across time and locale. Yet, while international relations (IR) researchers often mobilize the term rhetorically, its character and operations remain underconceptualized in the discipline and disconnected from the rich literatures that explore this vital faculty. This article identifies a commonsense account of the imagination in IR’s most pervasive discourse on order and anarchy. Taking its cues from the Hobbesian tradition, here a distinctly monological imagination is fearful and pessimistic, rooted in the overriding dread of a sudden and violent death. We draw out its underlying assumptions by foregrounding the deliberate, systematic, and sustained construction of the imagination in Hobbes’ Leviathan, where it acts as a crucial and animating impetus for the Hobbesian subject, including in the oft-analogized “state of nature” scenario. We argue that this Hobbesian imagination has been superseded by a multidisciplinary contemporary scholarship that presents a markedly different view. Anyone thinking seriously about the imagination today should disagree with the Hobbesian account, reconsider theories of international relations predicated on it, and explore the political possibilities entailed in other approaches.