English 172

Literature and Psychology: Literature and the Brain

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2016 Gang, Joshua
TTh 3:30-5 109 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

See below.


What can the scientific study of mind tell us about literature? And what can literature tell us about the ways our minds and brains do—and do not—work? Looking at literature, philosophy, and the sciences of mind from the past three hundred years, these are some of the questions this course will try to answer. Philosophical topics will include: the relation between literary form and empirical problems of mind, such as self-knowledge and other minds; a priori knowledge; language acquisition and use; reductionism, physicalism, and theories of mind-brain identity (i.e., 'the hard problem'); behavior; psychoanalysis and hysteria; neuroaesthetics and the cognitive study of literature.

Literary readings will potentially include those by: Defoe, Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Woolf, Beckett, Pinter, Coetzee, Haddon, McEwan, and McCarthy. Philosophical and scientific readings will potentially include those by: Descartes, Locke, Hartley, Galvani, William James, Freud and Breuer, Watson, Thorndike, Wittgenstein, Ryle, Skinner, Quine, Place, Chomsky, Churchland, Nagel, Chalmers, Putnam, Noe and others.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List