Visual Analogy: Consciousness as the Art of Connecting

Overview

Recuperating a topic once central to philosophy, theology, rhetoric, and aesthetics,
this groundbreaking book explores the discovery of sameness in otherness. Analogy poses an intriguingly ancient and modern conundrum. How, in the face of cultural diversity, can a unique someone or something be perceived as like what it is not? This book is for anyone puzzled by why today, as Barbara Maria Stafford claims, "we possess no language for talking about resemblance, only an ...

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Overview

Recuperating a topic once central to philosophy, theology, rhetoric, and aesthetics,
this groundbreaking book explores the discovery of sameness in otherness. Analogy poses an intriguingly ancient and modern conundrum. How, in the face of cultural diversity, can a unique someone or something be perceived as like what it is not? This book is for anyone puzzled by why today, as Barbara Maria Stafford claims, "we possess no language for talking about resemblance, only an exaggerated awareness of difference." Well-designed images, Stafford argues, reveal the mind's intuitive leaps to connect known with unknown experience.

The first of four wide-ranging chapters paints a challenging overview of several pressing contemporary issues.
Cloning, legal controversies about social inequity, identity politics, electronic copying, and the mimicry of virtual reality expose the need for a nuanced theory of similitude. The second examines the historical tug-of-war between analogy and allegory, or disanalogy. Stafford provocatively suggests that, since the Romantic Era, we have been living in polarizingly allegorical times. The third roots this divisiveness within the momentous shift from a magical universe, modeled on sexual bonds, to an engineered world built of discrete automated units. Finally, recent developments in computational brain research notwithstanding, major phenomenological questions about memory, emotion, intelligence, and awareness beckon. In the fourth chapter, Stafford intervenes in the consciousness debates to propose a humanistic cognitive science with bridging/analogy at its artful core.

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262692670
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,276,868
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Stafford is the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Art History at the
University of Chicago. She is the author of Good Looking, Artful
Science,
Body Criticism, and Voyage into Substance
(all published by MIT Press).
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Preview: The Game of Back and Forth 1
1 Postmodernism and the Annihilation of Resemblance 7
2 Figures of Reconciliation 57
3 The Magic of Amorous Attraction 97
4 Recombinancy: Binding the Computational "New Mind" to the Combinatorial "Old Mind" 137
Postscript: Beyond Duality: From Adepts to Agents 180
Notes 185
Index 207
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