Literature with Other Arts
Edited By Haun Saussy and Gerald Gillespie
Neuro Studies of Literature and Art. Toward a Responsible Critical Methodology
← 182 | 183 →Neuro Studies of Literature and Art
Toward a Responsible Critical Methodology
Long Island University
The alliance of literature, art and neuroscience is at the heart of interdisciplinarity in our age. Of all the sciences, neuroscience addresses the human factor with its neurobiological insights into perennial questions of memory, identity, emotion and cognition. Various noted neuroscientists are making ontological and epistemological statements about selfhood, consciousness, and truth that were once in the domain of traditional philosophy. While some of these neuroscientists have been reaching out to the humanities for information on these topics, they have not made systematic recourse to the experiential perspective of literature, though a few have attempted to analyze art under the rubric of neuroaesthetics. At the same time, some current cognitive literary critics, while making important gestures toward science, actually draw little from current neuroscience. Moreover, the emphasis by these critics on the cognitive ignores the fact that cognitive science is only one branch of the larger discipline of neuroscience, with only a small percentage of neuroscientific research relating to the cognitive. At the same time, in the field of neurophilosophy, there is the advance of extended mind theory, which neglects the neurobiology of the brain altogether. The researchers in the various fields are actually taking their own paths with little cognizance of each other. Comparative literary scholars are in a strong position to forge a plausible interdisciplinary methodology for conjoining neuroscience and the humanities,...
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