What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body and Culture

What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body and Culture

by Edward Slingerland
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press


View All Available Formats & Editions
Current price is , Original price is $33.99. You
Select a Purchase Option (New Edition)
  • purchase options
  • purchase options
    $23.43 $33.99 Save 31% Current price is $23.43, Original price is $33.99. You Save 31%.
    Note: Access code and/or supplemental material are not guaranteed to be included with textbook rental or used textbook.


What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body and Culture

What Science Offers the Humanities examines some of the deep problems facing current approaches to the study of culture. It focuses especially on the excesses of postmodernism but also acknowledges serious problems with postmodernism's harshest critics. In short, Edward Slingerland argues that, in order for the humanities to progress, its scholars need to take seriously contributions from the natural sciences - in particular research on human cognition - which demonstrate that any separation of the mind and body is entirely untenable. The author provides suggestions for how humanists might begin to utilize these scientific discoveries without conceding that science has the last word on morality, religion, art, and literature. Calling into question such deeply entrenched dogmas as the "blank slate" theory of nature, strong social constructivism, and the ideal of disembodied reason, What Science Offers the Humanities replaces the humanities-sciences divide with a more integrated approach to the study of culture.

About the Author:
Edward Slingerland taught in the School of Religion and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900521701517
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/31/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 390
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Edward Slingerland taught in the School of Religion and Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California, where he was recipient of the 2002 General Education Teaching Award. He is currently Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia and is Canada Research Chair in Chinese Thought and Embodied Cognition. His previous books include The Annalects of Confucius and Effortless Action: Wu-wei as Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Ideal in Early China, which won the American Academy of Religion's 2003 Best First Book in the History of Religions Award.

Table of Contents

Figures     ix
Preface     xi
Introduction     1
Two Worlds: The Ghost and the Machine     2
Beyond Dualism: Taking the Body Seriously     4
Vertical Integration     9
Embodied Cognition and the Humanities     11
The Trouble with Embodiment     14
Clearing the Way for Embodiment     16
Why Embodiment Matters     27
Exorcising the Ghost in the Machine
The Disembodied Mind: Problems with Objectivism     31
Characterization of Objectivism     32
Problems with Objectivism     34
Human Knowledge Not Fully Propositional: The Importance of Tacit Know-How     34
No Unitary Subject: The Objectivist Knower Is Not Master of Its Own House     38
Embodied Emotions in Human Cognition: The Role of "Fast and Frugal" Heuristics     42
The Purpose of Our Body-Brain Is Not Accurate Representation but "Enacted Perception"     47
Human Concepts Are Primarily Perceptually Based     56
Prototypes and Radial Categories     59
The Crucial Role of Metaphor in Abstract Thought     60
Problems with Objectivist Science: What Does It Mean to Live in a Post-Kuhnian World?     62
Inductionism and Deductivism     63
There Is No Clear Distinction Between Facts and Theories     65
Hypotheses Are Not Clearly Falsifiable     66
Underdetermination: Facts Consistent with an Infinitude of Hypotheses     68
The Disunity of Science     69
Absolute, Disinterested Objectivity Is an Illusory Goal     70
Objectivism on the Ropes     72
They Live Among Us: Characterizing Postmodernism in the Academy     74
Do as I Say, Not as I Do     74
Poststructuralist Theory: World as Text     79
The Standard Social Scientific Model: The Social Construction of Reality     81
Science Studies and the Slide into Relativism     84
The Almost-Pragmatist Turn: Philosophical Hermeneutics and "Neo-Pragmatism"     88
The Almost-Nondualist Approach: The Later Latour     92
The Almost-Embodied Approach: Pierre Bourdieu     94
The Last Gasp of Postmodernism     96
Pulling the Plug: Laying to Rest Postmodern Epistemology and Ontology     99
Self-Refutation and Internal Incoherence     99
Opacity of Reference, and Stylistic and Political Conformity     102
Cultural Essentialism and Romanticism     105
Thought Is Not Language     110
Perceptual Paradigms Are Not All-Determining      115
No Blank Slate: The "Evolutionary Kantian" Position and the Modular View of the Mind     117
Basic-Level Categories     121
Folk Physics     122
Folk Biology and Essentialism     125
Innate Body Schemas     127
Folk Psychology: "Theory of Mind" and the "Intentional Stance"     129
Folk Mathematics: The "Number Sense"     136
Human Metaculture: A Suite of Innate Modules Combined with "Good Tricks"     138
Finally: The Pragmatic Response to Extreme Skepticism, or What's Really Wrong with Postmodernism     142
Embodying Culture
Embodying Culture: Grounding Cultural Variation in the Body     151
Cognitive Fluidity     152
Synaesthesia and Human Creativity     156
Are Synaesthesia and Metaphor the Same?     160
Conceptual Metaphor: Voluntary, Partial, and Communicable Synaesthesia     161
Putting the Body in Mind: Concepts as Image Schemas     162
Conceptual Metaphor Theory     166
Pervasiveness of Conceptual Metaphor     170
Experimental Evidence for the Cognitive Reality of Conceptual Metaphor     171
Some Limitations of Conceptual Metaphor Theory     174
Mental Space Theory and Conceptual Blending     176
Double-Scope Blends: Beyond Source to Target Mappings     177
Blending and Human Creativity     180
Seeing "As If"     182
Blends and the Recruitment and Transformation of Emotion     185
An Example from Ancient China     188
Multiple-Scope Blends and the Accumulation of Difference: Mencius 2:A:2     196
Stage 1     196
Stage 2     199
Stage 3     203
Embodying Cultural Variety     206
Ratcheted Innovation     206
Reification of Blends in Material Culture     207
Perceptual and Motor Plasticity     209
Putting the Culture in Body     210
An Epidemiological Model of Culture     212
Fine-Tuning and Minor Violations     214
The Human Body-Mind as Universal Decoding Key     217
Defending Vertical Integration
Defending the Empirical: Commonsense Realism and Pragmatic Truth     221
Pragmatism: The "Mother Tongue" of Thought     222
The Empirical Prejudice: Knowing as Seeing     223
Possible Counterexample 1: The Humanities     226
Possible Counterexample 2: Religion     228
Science as an Extension of Commonsense Empiricism     232
Extension Through "Helps"      233
Novel Cross-Domain Mappings     234
A Pragmatic Conception of Truth     237
Truth as Successful Achievement of Goals     238
From Representation to Engagement     238
Pragmatic Response to the Problems with Science     240
Underdetermination and Occam's Razor     240
Preserving a Notion of Progress     245
Limited Realism Concerning Observables and Unobservables     246
So What's So Great About Science?     248
Who's Afraid of Reductionism? Confronting Darwin's Dangerous Idea     250
Darwin's Dangerous Idea     252
The Bogeyman of Reductionism     258
From Physicalism to the Humanities: Levels of Explanation     261
Levels of Explanation and Emergent Qualities     262
The Emergence of Free Will and Intentionality     267
Weak Versus Strong Emergence: Blocking the Move to Mysterianism     270
The Limits of Physicalism: Why We Will Always Be Humanists     278
Why Physicalism Does not Matter     279
We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots     281
Human Reality Is Real     287
The Importance of Physicalism: Why Physicalism Both Does and Does Not Matter     290
Why Physicalism Does Matter      290
Dual Consciousness: Walking the Two Paths     293
Embracing Vertical Integration     295
Conclusion     297
Moving from a Biversity to a True University     298
Why Humanists Need to Work Harder     299
In What Sense Does Vertical Integration Represent Progress?     302
Beyond Objectivism: Embodying Ethics     306
Accounting for Taste: The Embodied Approach to Aesthetics     308
Other Applications     310
Embodying Culture: Selected Bibliography and Other Resources     313
General Resources for Embodied Approaches to Culture     313
Programs and Centers     313
Books     314
Embodied Approaches to Specific Disciplines     315
Aesthetics     315
Literature     315
Morality and Ethics     316
Religion     319
References     321
Index     357

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews