Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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p. viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiii

Art and technology have been converging rapidly in the past few years; an important example of this convergence is the alliance of neuroscience with aesthetics, which has produced the new field of neuroaesthetics. The Neural Imagination examines this alliance. Neuroscience has demonstrated its relevance for aesthetics in several ways ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiv-xvi

I have had the privilege of having my work discussed, as well as criticized, by a number of expert but generous audiences. In 2002 I was invited by Professor Paul Sandor to address the sleep research center at Toronto Western Hospital on the subject of the musical dream. In 2004 Professor Frederick Munschauer had me speak on ...

Part 1. The Imagination, Neural

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Chapter 1. Background, Purposes, and Limitations of the Inquiry

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pp. 3-28

Much of the neurological investigation into the arts has been concentrated on localization, that is, on the relation of the musical experience of timbre or rhythm, for instance, to a particular set of neurons in a particular region of the brain. There is also the more general question: whether the “beauty response” itself can be ...

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Chapter 2. Neuroscience and the Visual Arts

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pp. 29-58

“S eeing is believing.” Since about a third of our brain is devoted to seeing, it is not surprising that we should like to think that our investment is sound. On the other hand, it is obvious that seeing, especially because it is a mediated sense, taking place at a distance, is uncertain, liable to all sorts of distortions. These distortions ...

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Chapter 3. At the Limits of Language

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pp. 59-100

In 2001, Ronald Schleifer published a groundbreaking essay, “The Poetics of Tourette Syndrome: Language, Neurobiology, and Poetry.” In that essay, Schleifer set out to demonstrate the affinity between, on the one hand, the language used by patients suffering from a specific neurological disorder and, on the other hand, some ...

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Chapter 4. Music and Language in Dream

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pp. 101-132

The new field of neuroaesthetics (within which the above topic is lodged) has been expanding rapidly during the last few years, and neuroscientific conferences and lectures have begun to proliferate. An annual conference on neuroaesthetics is now held at Berkeley, under the auspices of the Minerva Foundation. In September ...

Part 2. The Imagination, Plain

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Chapter 5. The Three Fields

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pp. 135-160

The second part of this book off ers a summary review of the differences between standard aesthetic and neuroscientific approaches to the arts. I present examples of “the imagination, plain,” that is, essays written without recourse to neuroscience, from each of the three major fields of artistic expression: the visual, the verbal ...

Part 3. Conclusions

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Chapter 6. Ideas and Values

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pp. 163-189

There is no way to deal satisfactorily with the problem of values—for instance, the problem of tragedy treated as a value—within the structure of this book. Yet it is the very fact that values cannot be accommodated comfortably within this structure that defi nes the rest of the book. One can talk about alternative, i.e. ...

Bibliography

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pp. 190-212

Index

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pp. 213-224