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

The Resonant

Sianne Ngai and The Sublemon have done much, I think, for aesthetics by formalizing certain descriptive terms previously used informally: the zany, cute, and merely interesting (Ngai); the baroque, whimsy, and cheesy (Sublemon). I want to continue that project here. “Resonance” is a term used primarily by non-scholarly readers, as Peter Stockwell notes in “The Cognitive Poetics of Resonance,” and…… Continue reading The Resonant

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. To Alva Nöe, writing…… Continue reading Predictive Processing & Art as Cognitive Remodeling