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Battle within. Shakespeare's brain and the nature of human consciousness

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Many avenues lead to human consciousness: introspection, phenomenology, cognitive science, philosophy, neurobiology. To these can be added aesthetics; both the production of artful objects and the appreciation of artful objects are characteristic of human minds. By looking at artful objects we can hypothesize why the human mind both produces them and responds to them, and derive from such hypotheses ideas about the nature of human consciousness, including its power to make present in the mind that which is absent from view. In particular, the art of Shakespeare, being both verbal and formal, both articulates the peculiar burdens of human consciousness and demonstrates art's response to these burdens. His play Troilus and Cressida serves as an example, exhibiting and exploring the discordancies human consciousness is liable to, and at the same time incorporating those discordancies into a greater harmony through the formal structures of art.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of English, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, USA.

Publication date: April 1, 1997

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