Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NEW MALAS FALL 2013 CLASS... NEUROTEXTS with Dr. Jonathan Ewell

NeuroTexts is a course on the meaning and the mystery of thinking, bringing together approaches from contemporary neuro- and cognitive science with an array of literary texts to explore brains, minds, intelligence, and their role in culture. The course includes two main units. The first, “The Mind-Body Problem, Then and Now,” offers a brief history of that philosophical quandary and its role in shaping cultural attitudes on and perceptions of the mind and human experience more generally.

We begin with readings from Descartes, Montaigne, and the Romantic poets, and then venture into 20th-century perspectives through works by Alan Türing and Daniel Dennett to show how advances in our understandings of neurophysiology and computer-based artificial intelligence have fundamentally changed the terms of the mind-body problem, changing in turn the way we view ourselves and our physical and mental being.  The second unit “Signifying brains,” looks at how the mind represents the world and also how the mind represents itself. We’ll explore representations of the mind in literature and popular nonfiction, including Virginia Woolf’s stream of consciousness style in Mrs. Dalloway, neural representations in contemporary science fiction, and a selection of narrative case histories from neurologist and author Oliver Sacks. Throughout this second unit, too, we’ll be studying a selection of recent scholarship that has attempted to bring cognitive science to our understanding of fiction, literature, and the arts.


  1. let me know when and the time of the class.

  2. Sounds like a great seminar. Please announce the days and time.

  3. 4:00 - 6:40 wednesdays. see you there!