20.063 exemplary articles

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2006 06:33:29 +0100

                Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 63.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2006 06:29:51 +0100
         From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
         Subject: Exemplum - Danto on Beautiful Science and Future of Criticism


You and your students might be fruitfully provoked in your
investigations by Arthur C. Danto's "Beautiful
Science and the Future of Criticism" in _The Future of Literary
Theory_ edited by Ralph Cohen. It is an
accessible piece of philosophical writing that rehearses a number of
themes from the history of science and
situates analytical philosophy vis-a-vis continental practices -- all
with a minimum of name dropping. A
key turn in the essay pivots upon the capability of imagining "a
constructable text" and leads to a
fortifying conclusion:
   <quote>Criticism is then the paradigm human science, and I find it
surprising, even exhilarating, that the
matrix for understanding the physiology and ultimately the molecular
biology of human cognition should be
those strategies applied to analyzing the poems of Donne and the
plays of Shakespeare; and that the
humanists with all their touching inadequacies, should be in the
forefront of science.

This paean to the humble is set up by a consideration of the relation
of science and folk psychology
reminiscent of Jerome Bruner:

If Beautiful Science is an extension and refinement of the
fundamental practices covered by Folk
Psychology, texts, as literary artifacts, are projections and
extensions of the unifying structures of a
self or of a life. The principles, whatever they are, that enable us
to tell and follow stories, to
construct and read poetry, are the principles that bind lives into
unities, that give us the sense of
chapters ending and of new ones beginning. The future of criticism
lies in making these principles

It is also perhaps fortuitous that Danto's appeal to Lebensformen is
echoed in the opening words of the
next article in the collection ("Computing has become a form of life
[...]") by Gregory G. Colomb and Mark
Turner "Computers, Literary Theory, and Theory of Meaning". It is
also a fine article. Worth considering.

All the best to you and your students as you collectively explore
words, practices and consequences.

   -- Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

~~~ to be surprised by machines: wistly and sometimes wistfully
Received on Mon Jun 19 2006 - 02:26:40 EDT

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