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Connecting the cerebral cortex with the artist's eyes, mind and culture

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V.S. Ramachandran and William Hirstein's thought-provoking article ‘The science of art: a neurological theory of aesthetic experience’ (1999) and the accompanying commentaries raise serious questions about what a science of art is. Unfortunately this short piece will only be able to address them broadly. Overall the problems arise from (1) the exclusion of neurological studies of artists, (2) the exclusion of the artist's experience, and (3) the premises of the theory, which are based on problematic valuations related to aesthetics and spirituality. With these valuations, for which there is no scientific proof, the model is unable to sufficiently address the scope of what artists do and what art forms are. While it is my view that the Ramachandran and Hirstein theory is fundamentally flawed, it is likely the flaws are due to implicit assumptions rather than explicit intentions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: PO Box 12748, Berkeley, CA 94712-3748 USA.

Publication date: 01 August 2000

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