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Leonardo, Vol. 13, pp. 348-352. Pergamon Press, 1980. Printed in Great Britain. LETTERS Readers' comments are welcomed on texts published in Leonardo. The Editors reserve the right to shorten letters. Letters should be written in English or in French. HOMOSPATIAL THINKING IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS I was pleased to read Albert Rothenberg's article in Leonardo 13,17 (1980). Although I have collaborated with him and have had the opportunity to discuss with him his ideas on 'homospatial thinking', the article made even clearer to me the insight that informs the ideas. The article is a stimulus for reading Rothenberg's recent book, The Emerging Goddess (Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press, 1979), where his ideas are developed more extensively. The view that metaphorical expressions fuse two terms that otherwise appear to be in tension constitutes a view of metaphor that deserves attention. Too many interpretations of metaphors turn them into implicit analogies--into discoveries of antecedent similarities and comparisons. As Rothenberg says, the similarities and comparisons revealed by metaphors are the results (what I have called 'consequent meanings') of a more fundamental original meaning. His view reminds one that metaphors can be creative expressions rather than vehicles of clever selection. He also illustrates clearly how such expressions can be seen in non-verbal media. His accounts of the works by Oskar Kokoschka and Henry Moore are, I find, convincing, but the account of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' somewhat less clearly illustrative of the central principle, perhaps because, in contrast to the first two examples, the analysis of the 'Mona Lisa' requires so much from a viewer, who must interpretively overcome the temporal, sequential comparisons of attributes (which are to that extent not fused). And much of the analysis requires the introduction of verbal, non-spatial thinking. Must homospatial thinking be present in every creative act? I am inclined to think so, but illustrating this in the many styles and traditions in the history of the visual arts as well as in other fields is a challenging task. And showing the condition under which certain 'discrete entities ... ought to be together' is even more challenging. The thesis of homospatial thinking is linked with the 'interaction' view of metaphor, as proposed by I. A. Richards in his book The Philosophy of Rhetoric. One of the major tasks for a thesis in this tradition is to show how the discriminable terms of metaphors interact functionally so as to yield radically new meaning. Rothenberg points out that the terms both function in integration-where they 'retain their identity within a whole'-and at the same time function so as to fuse and provide the unity that gives a new meaning. But one does have a paradox here, and it is a paradox that I have said elsewhere cannot be avoided. The integration retains the tension of the conflicting terms in metaphors. But the fusion (in one space) gives a unity, and, as a result, tension should be overcome. Can both fusion and integration be attributed to a single work? Perhaps they can in metaphors and thus in artworks, for what sustains their appeal and power is the fact that they manifest at once both tension and unity. Carl R. Hausman Dept. of Philosophy Pennsylvainia State University 246 Sparks Building University Park, PA 16802, U.S.A. RESEARCH IN VISUAL ARTS AND IN NATURAL SCIENCES: TOM JONES AND MARCEL BESSIS Tom Jones in his article [Leonardo 13, 89 (1980)] says that research in the visual fine arts is a cognitive rather than an expressive activity and, therefore, quite similar to scientific research. Then he concludes his paper by stating that an artist can be said to be engaged in research if purposes, methods and results obtained can be verbalized clearly, so that the work can be self-explicit and accessible to the general public. This point of view can be compared with that of Marcel Bessis in Leonardo 12,316 (1979), who asserts that a work of art need not to be proven and cannot be measured by objective criteria and that artistic and scientific creativity have as their basis precisely the same mechanism. Reading Jones' paper, I obtained the impression that he...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 348-352
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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