Literature provides us with otherwise unavailable insights into the ways emotions are produced, experienced, and enacted in human social life. It is particularly valuable because it deepens our comprehension of the mutual relations between emotional response and ethical judgment. These are the central claims of Patrick Colm Hogan's study that carefully examines a range of highly esteemed literary works in the context of current nurobiological, psychological, sociological, and other empirical research. In this work, he explains the value of literary study (...) for a cognitive science of emotion and outlines the emotional organization of the human mind. He explores the emotions of romantic love, grief, mirth, guilt, shame, jealousy, attachment, compassion, and pity - in each case drawing on one work by Shakespeare and one or more works by writers from different historical periods or different cultural backgrounds, such as the eleventh-century Chinese poet Li Ch'ing-Chao and the contemporary Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka. (shrink)
Cognitive Science, Literature, and the Arts is the first student-friendly introduction to the uses of cognitive science in the study of literature, written specifically for the non-scientist. Patrick Colm Hogan guides the reader through all of the major theories of cognitive science, focusing on those areas that are most important to fostering a new understanding of the production and reception of literature. This accessible volume provides a strong foundation of the basic principles of cognitive science, and allows us to begin (...) to understand how the brain works and makes us feel as we read. (shrink)
This book explores how the creations of great authors result from the same operations as our everyday counterfactual and hypothetical imaginations, which cognitive scientists refer to as 'simulations'. Drawing on detailed literary analyses as well as recent research in neuroscience and related fields, Patrick Colm Hogan develops a rigorous theory of the principles governing simulation that goes beyond any existing framework. He examines the functions and mechanisms of narrative imagination, with particular attention to the role of theory of mind, and (...) relates this analysis to narrative universals. In the course of this theoretical discussion, Hogan explores works by Austen, Faulkner, Shakespeare, Racine, Brecht, Kafka and Calvino. He pays particular attention to the principles and parameters defining an author's narrative idiolect, examining the cognitive and emotional continuities that span an individual author's body of work. (shrink)
Explanatory accounts of emotion require, among other things, theoretically tractable representations of emotional experience. Common methods for producing such representations have well-known drawbacks, such as observer interference or lack of ecological validity. Literature offers a valuable supplement. It provides detailed instructions for simulating emotions; when successful, it induces empathic emotions. It too involves distortions, through emotion-intensifying idealization and ideological biases. But these also relate to emotion study. There are three levels at which literature bears on emotion research: (1) the individual (...) work; (2) generic and related patterns; and (3) properties found widely across individual works and genres. Even at the third, most general level, literature suggests potentially important hypotheses about our pleasure in emotional simulation and our need to share emotional experiences. (shrink)
In The Culture of Conformism, I set out to isolate what might be called “dominant modes of consent.” Central social hierarchies are preserved or reproduced through broad patterns of acquiescence. In other words, people generally act in accordance with common social norms, even in cases where those norms run against their self-interest, their spontaneous empathic feelings, or their moral commitments. Thus people do not generally challenge the fundamental economic principles of a system that skews the distribution of wealth to a (...) tiny minority; they accept and even celebrate a political system that minimizes their participation and allows only marginal space for the consideration of their needs; they fight in wars that, even with the best outcome, cannot benefit them or anyone like them. The Culture of Conformism focused on our participation in these large, society-wide forms of consent. Indeed, without saying so, I was primarily addressing consent at the level of nations. Thus, I concentrated on the punitive reach of the state within and outside its borders; the political economy of nations and, to a lesser extent, of international relations; the news and other media that circulate information and ideology, first of all, to a national audience. (shrink)
I. When, through the power of emblems, I revealed to him fantastical cities formed from desire and fear, the great Khan baffled. Everyone else comes with politic accounts of maneuvering threats or the chance for precious goods. But me? I tell tales that arrive like stray thoughts to an idle man seated by the doorway of his home, taking in a little fresh air of an evening. "What does that serve for you, then, all that traveling?" he asks ("A che (...) ti serve, allora, tanto viaggiare?" [Calvino, Le Città, 25]).II: There are scenes in Premchand's Godān that persist in your memory. One concerns the young, motherless widow, Jhuniyā; her lover, Gobar; and Gobar's parents, Horī and Dhaniyā. Abandoned by Gobar, the pregnant .. (shrink)
Before reinventing literary theory for the twenty-first century, we should consider what theory might do in principle. Both the functions of theory and its targets in literary study are often understood too narrowly. This chapter isolates three broad functions for theorization: description and explanation, both general and particular ; ethical-political or esthetic evaluation; and production of practical effects. From here, the chapter takes up the target orientations of literary study, organizing them into literature-oriented study and world-oriented study. These broadened conceptions (...) of the functions of theory and the orientations of literary study open up potentially valuable research programs beyond the theoretical practices of recent decades. (shrink)
The target article presents a thought-provoking approach to the relation of neuroscience and art. However, at least two issues pose potential difficulties. The first concerns whether is a coherent topic for scientific study. The second concerns the degree to which processing fluency can explain aesthetic feeling or may simply be one component of a more complex account.
Hibbing et al.'s article isolates a plausible psychological factor contributing to differences in political orientation. However, there are two potential difficulties. Both the nature of negativity and the liberal–conservative opposition are ambiguous. A possible way of treating these problems enhances the theoretical framework through fuller reference to emotion systems and categories of triggers for those systems.
Recent decades have witnessed an explosion in neuroscientific and related research treating aesthetic response. This book integrates this research with insights from philosophical aesthetics to propose new answers to longstanding questions about beauty and sublimity. Hogan begins by distinguishing what we respond to as beautiful from what we count socially as beautiful. He goes on to examine the former in terms of information processing and emotional involvement. In the course of the book, Hogan examines such issues as how universal principles (...) of aesthetic response may be reconciled with individual idiosyncrasy, how it is possible to argue rationally over aesthetic response, and what role personal beauty and sublimity might play in the definition of art. To treat these issues, the book considers works by Woolf, Wharton, Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Beethoven, Matisse, and Kiran Rao, among others. (shrink)
In recent years, few areas of research have advanced as rapidly as cognitive science, the study of the human mind and brain. A fundamentally interdisciplinary field, cognitive science has both inspired and been advanced by work in the arts and humanities. In _Conversations on Cognitive Cultural Studies: Literature, Language, and Aesthetics,_ Frederick Luis Aldama and Patrick Colm Hogan, two of the most prominent experts on the intersection of mind, brain, and culture, engage each other in a lively dialog that sets (...) out the foundations of a cognitive neuroscientific approach to literature. Despite their shared premises, Aldama and Hogan differ—sometimes sharply—on key issues; their discussion therefore presents the reader not with a single doctrine, but with options for consideration—an appropriate result in this dynamic field. With clarity and learning, Aldama and Hogan consider five central topics at the intersection of literature and cognitive science. They begin with the fundamental question of the nature of the self. From here, they turn to language, communication, and thought before moving on to the central issue of the structure and operation of narrative. The book concludes with thought-provoking explorations of aesthetics and politics. Illustrating their arguments with work that ranges from graphic fiction and popular cinema to William Faulkner and Bertolt Brecht, Aldama and Hogan leave the reader with a clear sense of what cognitive cultural studies have already achieved and the significant promise the discipline holds for the future. (shrink)