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336 Books disorders may be genetic. However, not only does she admit this evidence is controversial, but also, by itself, this is no evidence that a supposed drive to create is genetic, unless there is such a drive and unless the connection between affective disorders and creativity is already established. Another difficulty: Her writing often seems simply confused about its direction and imprecise in the use of words. For example, sometimes she calls her claims premises or axioms, which are assumptions, and at other times tries to prove them. Finally, she appears to be ignorant of personality studies that show that creative individuals characteristically tend more to neurosis but also have a greater ego strength that helps them to deal with such problems. In summary, this is a well-meant but intellectually inadequate book. Certainly an interesting and difficult issue, but any possible relationship between creativity and madness deserves a precise, thoughtful and informed scholarship that Morizot simply does not provide. The Arts, Cognition and Basic Skills. Stanley S. Madeja, ed. Cemrel, St. Louis, 1978. 263 pp., illus. Reviewed by Cyril Barrett* The theme of this book, which contains papers read at The Conference on The Arts, Cognition and Basic Skills at Aspen, Colorado, in 1977, is timely. For too long, art has been regarded as concerned primarily with either feeling, emotion, sensation or expression and only secondarily, if at all, with cognition. Not that this view does not persist in the minds of the participants at the Conference. But at least it has been openly challenged, particularly by Anita Silvers, in a paper that, to my mind, is far and away the best of those presented. The theme was broken down into four interesting and important topics: (1) cognitive and noncognitive approaches to the arts; (2) developmental theory and the arts; (3) perception in cognition and the arts and (4) the role of the transfer of knowledge in the arts. Collections of shortish discussion papers seldom make satisfactory reading. This collection is no exception. Indeed, what with jargon, lack of clarity, slovenly English and banalities it is worse than most. For instance, Mihaly Csikszmentmihalyi, whose paper is described by David Feldman as the most ambitious paper at the Conference, makes the staggering suggestion that art should be looked at as 'a process by which men extract knowledge about reality'. As if writers on art have not been saying that since the days of Aristotle! He also treats one to such gems of English prose and lucidity as: 'While physiological needs have an inbuilt ceiling (the physical energy needed for survival is limited to the metabolic capacity of the organism), existential needs have no inherent limits: selfhood is insatiable in its drive to confirm its existence' (p. 123). There are also some staggering omissions, or seeming omissions, as, for instance, in Julian Hochberg's paper on the visual arts and structures of the mind, a topic dear to the hearts of Gestalt psychologists, where there is no mention of the eminent writer in this field, Rudolf Arnheim. But the book is not entirely unrewarding. For example, there is a fascinating paper on visual narrative by Brent and Marjorie Wilson under the dubious title, Recycling Symbols, where the term symbol has to make do for almost anything and everything that could vaguely be called visual representation . For a musically illiterate person (myself), there is a stimulating and practical paper by Jeanne Bamberger on the formal and intuitive approaches to music and on the problem of inculcating the latter. There are also hopeful signs. In particular, her recognition of the importance of the cognitive element in art. And, for someone who was taught 30 odd years ago that skills are not transferrable, it is heartening to see this old dogma vigorously challenged. However, as I have said, the high point of the Conference was, in my opinion, the paper by Silvers, ably supported by the response of David Perkins. The title of the paper was Show and Tell. Silvers built her paper on the excellent *Dept. of Philosophy, University of Warwick, Coventry, Warwickshire CV4 7AL, England. foundation of Nelson Goodman's hypothesis of exemplification , a most fruitful notion in aesthetics. Goodman distinguishes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 336
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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