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  • Published: 9 July 2019
  • ISBN: 9780262538237
  • Imprint: MIT Press Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 540
  • RRP: $65.00

Making Sense

Conversations on Consciousness, Morality and the Future of Humanity




From the bestselling author of Waking Up and The End of Faith, comes the "best of" conversations from the internationally popular podcast Making Sense.

Why embodied approaches to cognition are better able to address the performative dimensions of art than the dualistic conceptions fundamental to theories of digital computing.In Making Sense, Simon Penny proposes that internalist conceptions of cognition have minimal purchase on embodied cognitive practices. Much of the cognition involved in arts practices remains invisible under such a paradigm. Penny argues that the mind-body dualism of Western humanist philosophy is inadequate for addressing performative practices. Ideas of cognition as embodied and embedded provide a basis for the development of new ways of speaking about the embodied and situated intelligences of the arts. Penny argues this perspective is particularly relevant to media arts practices. Penny takes a radically interdisciplinary approach, drawing on philosophy, biology, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, critical theory, and other fields. He argues that computationalist cognitive rhetoric, with its assumption of mind-body (and software-hardware) dualism, cannot account for the quintessentially performative qualities of arts practices. He reviews post-cognitivist paradigms including situated, distributed, embodied, and enactive, and relates these to discussions of arts and cultural practices in general. Penny emphasizes the way real time computing facilitates new modalities of dynamical, generative and interactive arts practices. He proposes that conventional aesthetics (of the plastic arts) cannot address these new forms and argues for a new “performative aesthetics.” Viewing these practices from embodied, enactive, and situated perspectives allows us to recognize the embodied and performative qualities of the “intelligences of the arts.”

  • Published: 9 July 2019
  • ISBN: 9780262538237
  • Imprint: MIT Press Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 540
  • RRP: $65.00

About the author

Sam Harris

Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. His books include The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, and Waking Up. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. His work has been published in more than twenty languages. Harris has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Economist, TheTimes, the Boston Globe, the Atlantic, Annals of Neurology, and other outlets. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. Please visit his website at SamHarris.org.

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Praise for Making Sense

The history of computing, cybernetics and AI are reinterpreted through cognitive perameters, and the difficult relationship between the logic of cognitive science and the "intelligence" of art (or "situated cognition") is amply debated making the reading of this book a desirable, intense and informed experience.—Neutral.it

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