The Age of Minerva - Vol. 2

The Age of Minerva - Vol. 2

The Age of Minerva - Vol. 2

The Age of Minerva - Vol. 2

Excerpt

In the previous volume, Counter-Rational Reason in the Eighteenth Century, I described the nonrational modes of expression that are symptomatic of cognitive discontinuity.Casting Reason in the role of a guarantor of philosophical connectednessor continuity, I showed how Reason could also harbor aberration and foster discontinuity in what I called the Age of Minerva. The evidence for a "counter-rational" Reason consisted of Western Europe an texts interpreted through the lens of Goya's Capricho 43 (The Sleep/Dream of Reason Produces Monsters, Fig. 1). Although my interpretation approached the borderline of science and pseudoscience, the history of biology seemed tangential to this goal. My notion was that dreaming was a nonlinguistic mode of cognition for Goya's contemporaries, a way of apprehending the metamorphic reality that eludes empirical Reason. Dream cognition, so to speak, was held intuitively to originate in the neurophysiology of an imagination set free from Reason. I planned a second book (this one) that would discuss Goya's universal dream language and its relation to animal spirits and to what I would call the epistemology of aether. The writing of this book progressed in an unforeseen manner, however. It began to encroach upon a scientific-literary framework that became alarming because of the unexpected new materials that insisted on being included. The result turned "progress" into a forced march along the landscape of eighteenth-century treatises on anatomy and physiology.

Meanwhile, there arose a scholarly complaint over scientific models that I'll describe shortly, a complaint which is pertinent to this methodological orientation and which exposed the uncertain nature of evidence. Given the divergent positions among eighteenth-century natural philosophers, it was unclear what weight should be given to writings that described competing scientific models. Specifically, why cite this particular . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.