Download British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind (Cambridge by Alan Richardson PDF

By Alan Richardson

During this provocative and unique examine, Alan Richardson examines a complete diversity of highbrow, cultural, and ideological issues of touch among British Romantic literary writing and the pioneering mind technology of the time. Poets similar to Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keats, and novelists equivalent to Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, are proven to have shared a shocking quantity of universal floor with pioneering mind scientists together with Erasmus Darwin and F. J. Gall. It demonstrates the price for literary and cultural historical past of studying from contemporary paintings in neuroscience and cognitive technological know-how.

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Sample text

In Keats’s words: 16 Beauty and the Beast Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings Conquer all mysteries by rule and line, Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine— Uneave a rainbow . . ” In fact, Keats said no such thing. It is what he said the Grecian Urn depicts, in his criticism of works of art that deliberately eliminate existing difficulties of life. Keats’s complaint merely reflects the general feeling that magicians’ tricks often lose their charm once we know how they are performed. However, in physics, very often the explanation is even more beautiful than the question, and even more frequently, the solution to one puzzle helps uncover an even deeper and more intriguing mystery.

He went on to identify a beautiful object as one that has a multitude of constituents, all of 26 Beauty and the Beast Figure 4 which at the same time obey a clear, transparent structure that provides the big picture. Quite frequently, the mutual influences between the arts and the sciences are exaggerated. As a physicist who also happens to be an art fanatic, I can testify that the direct, immediate, conscious influence is minimal. Nevertheless, it is true that in some epochs, people from different disciplines sometimes think along similar lines.

Finally, as I discussed in the last section, elegance can certainly contribute to the feeling of attractiveness that is associated with a certain solution to a scientific problem. However, I do not regard it as an essential element of beauty in a physical theory. ” Since “strangeness in the proportion” is to be understood at least partly as an element of surprise, Bacon’s “definition” is more closely associated with what I called elegance than with beauty. However, Bacon’s criterion refers also to the unification of otherwise seemingly independent concepts, and as such to symmetry and reductionism.

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