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Reasoning from a naturalistic perspective, viewing the mind as an evolved biological organ with a particular structure and function, a number of influential philosophers and cognitive scientists claim that science is constrained by human nature. How exactly our genetic constitution constrains scientific representations of the world remains unclear. This is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, it often leads to the unwarranted conclusion that we are cognitively closed to certain aspects or properties of the world. Secondly, it stands in the way of a nuanced account of the relationship between our cognitive and perceptual wiring and scientific theory. In response, I propose a typology or classification of the different kinds of biological constraints and their sources on science. Using notion of a conceptual space, I distinguish between constraints relating to the ease with which we can reach representations within our conceptual space (which I call ‘biases’) and constraints causing possible representations to fall outside of our conceptual space. This last kind of constraints does not entail that some aspects or properties of the world cannot be represented by us – as argued by advocates of ‘cognitive closure’ – merely that some ways of representing the world are inaccessible to us. It relates to what and have framed as ‘the alien scientist hypothesis’ (the possibility that alien scientists, endowed with radically different cognitive abilities, could produce representations of the world that are unintelligible to us). The purpose of this typology is to provide some much needed clarity and structure to the debate about biological constraints on science.
In the early 20th century the function of poetic imagery was given international attention through the Imagist movement in London and, ever since, many poets have self-consciously employed and exploited imagist techniques. At the same time poets and visual artists have frequently explored connections between each other’s works considering, as Art Berman writes, that “the visual can provide direct and even prelinguistic knowledge since the psyche presumably has operations that precede or take logical precedence over […] language” (49).
Interart comparisons suggest that poetry and the visual arts can be talked about as if “work in one medium […] were operating in another” (Dayan 3). However, it is often unclear what it might mean to describe a work of visual art as “poetic” or a poem as “visual.” This paper explores these ideas with reference to Paul Hetherington’s and Anita Fitton’s practice-led research project, Spectral Resemblances.
The project is investigating some of the ways in which written poetry and still visual imagery may convey related meanings. It asks whether meaningful connections between poetic and visual imagery are at best “spectral” and elusive. It explores how the juxtapositioning of complementary works in these different media may allow resonances to play back and forth in the conceptual spaces between them.
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References Bartning, Inge. Remarques sur la syntaxe et la semantique des pseudo-adjectifs denominaux en francais. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell international, 1980. Print. Besedina, Natal’ja A. “Konceptual’noe prostranstvo morfologii.” (“ConceptualSpace of Morphology”) Konceptual’noe prostranstvo jazyka. (ConceptualSpace of the Language.). Tambov: Izdatel’stvo Tambovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta imeni G.R. Derzhavina, 2005. Print. Carlsson, Lennart. Le degre de cohesion des groupes subst.+de+subst. en francais contemporain, etudie d’apres la place
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i Jylland og på Øerne. In: Ord & Sag 29, p. 5–27. Hovmark, H. (2013). Danish Directional Adverbs: Ways of Profiling a Motion Event. In: Construal of Spatial Meaning: Windows into ConceptualSpace . Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641635.001.0001/acprof-9780199641635-chapter-10 (12 Dec. 2017). Johnson, M., Lakoff, G. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. Lakoff, G. (2011). Kobiety, ogień i rzeczy niebezpieczne. Co kategorie mówią nam o umyśle
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