• Shelley's Theory of Mind: From Radical Empiricism to Cognitive Romanticism

    Author(s):
    Mark Bruhn (see profile)
    Date:
    2009
    Subject(s):
    Nineteenth century, British literature, Romanticism
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    cognitivism, 19th century
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M68Z3D
    Abstract:
    This essay reconstructs Percy Shelley's theory of mind from his letters and many unfinished essays as well as his Defence of Poetry (1821), emphasizing his radical insistence on the formal and teleological roles of analogy in human cognition, communication, and culture. Adopting the assumptions, method, and terminology he inherited from the vigorous associationist tradition in eighteenth-century British philosophy and psychology, Shelley sought to demonstrate the innate and thus indefeasible foundations of human morality, especially its master principle of social equity. His analysis took him at once to the heart of a range of psychosocial issues that are today studied under the cognitive scientific rubric of “theory of mind,” including the developmental interrelations of, and motivations for, social imitation, language acquisition, and mental representation. Taking first a historical and then a theoretical view, I argue that Shelley's elegant solution to one of the major philosophical problems of the empirical age remains surprisingly relevant to central issues in contemporary science of mind.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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