Beckett and the Cognitive Method: Mind, Models, and Exploratory Narratives

ISBN : 9780190664350

Marco Bernini
256 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2021
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Does literature merely represent cognitive processes, or can it enhance, parallel, or reassess the scientific study of the mind? Beckett and the Cognitive Method argues that Samuel Beckett's narrative work, rather than just expressing or rendering mental states, inaugurates an exploratory use of narrative as an introspective modeling technology. Through a detailed analysis of Beckett's entire corpus and published volumes of letters, this book argues that Beckett pioneered a new method of writing to construct (in a mode analogous to scientific inquiry) models for the exploration of core laws, processes, and dynamics in the human mind. Marco Bernini integrates frameworks from contemporary narrative theory, cognitive sciences, phenomenology, and philosophy of mind to make a case for Beckett's modeling practice. Bernini demonstrates how this modeling applies to a vast array of processes including the (narrative) illusion of a sense of self, the dialogic interaction with memories and felt presences, the synesthetic nature of inner experience and mental imagery, the role of moods and emotions as cognitive drives, and the emergent quality of consciousness. Beckett and the Cognitive Method also reflects on how Beckett's fictional cognitive models are transformed into reading, auditory, or spectatorial experiences generating through narrative devices insights on what the sciences can only discursively report. As such, Bernini argues that literature should be considered a proper exploration of the mind, with its own tools and models for cognitive inquiry.


Chapter 1: Modeling the Apparent Self
1.1. Awakening in the Bioscope: Wertheimers Law, Predictive Self, and Chronotopic Groundlessness
1.2. A Torrent of Meiosis: Fissions, Relations, and the Pearl View Explored
1.3. Introspection by Simulation: Inner Third-Person, Polyphony, and Centerless Storyworlds
1.4. Toward the Seed of Motion: Close and Beyond the Center of Narrative Gravity
Chapter 2: A Brain Listening to Itself
2.1. Tracing a Phenomenological Continuum: From the Clinical to the Fictional
2.2. Theorizing a Modeling Continuum: From AVHs to Inner Speech
2.3. Detuning a Fundamental Sound: Mediacy, Co-Modeling, and the Narrated Self
2.4. The Dialogic Cloud: On Memory and Co-Presence
Chapter 3: Synesthetic Innerscapes
3.1. Landscapes of Consciousness as Landscapes of Action: QuasiPerceptual Minds and the Basics of Innerscapes
3.2. Sculpting Latencies: Introspective Affordances, Narrativity, and Personal Geographies
3.3. Windows of Presence: Inner Ecologies and Dreamlike Worlds
3.4. In the Night That Tells No Tales: Synesthesia, Narrative, Table Lamps, and Magic Lanterns
Chapter 4: Cognitive Liminalism
4.1. The Principle of Liminality: Limens and Limes across Domains
4.2. Toward Cognitive Liminalism: Impeded Logomotion and Deflated Narrative Gravity
4.3. Residual Teleodynamics and Maximal Prediction Errors: Emotions, Absential Features, and Cognitive Impenetrability
4.4. Cognitive Conceptual Personae: Enacting Sense-Making without Making Sense
Chapter 5: Emergence and Complexity
5.1. Against the Aboutness of Complexity: From Narrative Chaotics to Blueprints for Emergence
5.2. Neural and Mental Complexity: A Matter of Levels
5.3. The Dynamic Core of the Onion: Patterns, Nodes, Signals, and Boundaries
Conclusion: Toward a Phenomenogeology of Consciousness and the Co-Modeling of Cognition
Becketts Works Cited

About the author: 

Marco Bernini is Assistant Professor of Cognitive Literary Studies at Durham University. He specializes in narrative theory, modernism, and cognitive approaches to literature.

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