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Notes on the Inexact Sciences

“Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes, and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer questions in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness.”

Wait, what? Sense-breaking in contemporary art

x-post from Carcinisation In a recent paper, my collaborator Tom Rutten and I advanced a tentative theory of how contemporary visual artworks might interact with a predictive error minimization (or “predictive processing“) system in human viewers. The predictive processing model of cognition is a relatively recent figuration of the age-old problem of inference (how humans… Continue reading Wait, what? Sense-breaking in contemporary art

Predictive Hermeneutics

A preprint of “A Bayesian hermeneutic” — the cogsci paper Thomas Rutten & I worked on last summer in Mexico City — is available at Research Gate here. It aims to introduce a new subfield of hermeneutics we term “predictive hermeneutics.”

Corpus as Concept: Poetic Sensibilities in Literary-Theoretic Discourse

There are two parts to an argument I want to make but lack the qualifications: 1) showing poetry, and poets in large, express, across their corpus, a worldview or way of seeing; 2) showing that literary-theoretic discourse actively leverages poets as concept handles in meta-level discourse (discourse about discourse; that is, to talk about how… Continue reading Corpus as Concept: Poetic Sensibilities in Literary-Theoretic Discourse

Predictive Processing & Art as Cognitive Remodeling

Visual art — representational imagery — begins somewhere between fifty and one-hundred thousand years ago, overlapping with the Upper Paleolithic Transition. The period consists of rapid gains in tool technologies alongside the beginnings of modern symbolic thought, with human societies developing currency systems, dispersed social organizations, and increasingly sophisticated religious belief.

Art as the Antithesis of Design

From the footnotes of an upcoming piece examining predictive processing and Alva Nöe’s 2015 work on aesthetics, Strange Tools: Nöe makes [his] argument through exclusion: art practices which are not interrogative, which do not challenge existing structures and practices are not, technically speaking, art. Pop songs, to Nöe, aren’t musical art, they’re a first-level human practice (or “organized activity”)… Continue reading Art as the Antithesis of Design

Genre, Values Hierarchies, & Intentionality in Pop

I. Does intentionality matter? Critical consequentialism put to the ultimate test: David Cooper Moore’s “The Scary, Misunderstood Power of a ‘Teen Mom’ Star’s Album”  discusses Farrah Abraham’s infamous pop record My Teenage Dream Ended: It’s tempting to consider My Teenage Dream Ended alongside other reality TV star vanity albums, like Paris Hilton’s excellent (and unfairly… Continue reading Genre, Values Hierarchies, & Intentionality in Pop