Phil/Psych 447, Phil 673, 2010

Seminar in Cognitive Science: Mind and Society

Week 9: Literature

Week 8a: Social experience

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the social functions of literature?
  2. Do novels, plays, and poetry have different cognitive and social functions?
  3. How does empathy contribute to literary understanding and vice versa?
  4. How do cognitive processes of simulation contribute to the appreciation of literature?
  5. What role does imagery play in reading?
  6. What are the cognitive and social processes relevant to narratives?
  7. How are neural mechanisms relevant to understanding the social functions of literature?
  8. How can cognitive literary theory be blended with postmodernist concerns about race, gender, class, and colonialism?

Week 8b: Allegory

Discussion Questions

  1. Can literature change the world? What are some examples?
  2. What roles do emotions play in all kinds of literature?
  3. What are the brain processes that make possible emotional reading and empathy?
  4. How does the multiconstraint theory of analogy mesh with ideas about emotions?
  5. Are cognitive-affective maps a useful technique for understanding literary structure?
  6. Can cognitive theory be used to evaluate literary works?
  7. What are the relations among the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities?

Phil/Psych 447

Paul Thagard

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

This page updated Nov. 8, 2010