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The Elusive BrainLiterary Experiments in the Age of Neuroscience$
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Jason Tougaw

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300221176

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300221176.001.0001

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Epilogue: Reading Organisms in the Age of Neuroscience

Epilogue: Reading Organisms in the Age of Neuroscience

(p.228) Epilogue: Reading Organisms in the Age of Neuroscience
The Elusive Brain

Jason Tougaw

Yale University Press

In the epilogue, Tougaw asks, “What does it mean to read as a human organism?” The epilogue surveys recent accounts in “Neuro-Lit-Crit,” emphasizing fledgling attempts to bridge the humanities and the neurosciences—and the controversies that have arisen in the process. Tougaw concludes with a set of propositions: the brain is a representational organ, and we need sophisticated theories of representation to understand it; the efflorescence of brain research in the last three decades has led to more questions than answers, multiplying the variables and angles necessary for understanding relations between brain and behavior; difference is a motivating force in much literature and therefore both neuro-literature and “Neuro-Lit-Crit” must engage with disability studies and politics; literary representations of neurological difference emphasize complications and disjunctions more than they resolve social, political, or philosophical debates; and the sciences and the humanities are converging in their conceptual understandings of the making of self and relations between biology and culture, even though their very different languages often make it appear as though they are diverging; and, therefore, it’s the responsibility of both scientists and humanists to translate disciplinary languages, with the aim of strengthening both disciplines.

Keywords:   Neuro-Lit-Crit, Human organism, Reading, Neurological difference, Representation

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