In some contexts Aristotle links phantasia to mistakes, in others to purposive action; phantasia is close to perception, but apparently thought cannot do without it. Is there a single perspective that unites Aristotle’s discussions of phantasia? Or is the main virtue of his philosophical psychology that it opens up different perspectives to philosophers in Antiquity and beyond? In this paper I aim at distinguishing various modes of adaptation and reception of Aristotle’s phantasia – in which history displays the central role of human phantasia in philosophy.