Jonah Lehrer (10)

Jonah Lehrer’s main argument is that the gap between art and science needs to be bridged. He uses two specific sciences, physics and neuroscience to discuss the open-ended questions that are left with these two sciences. And in order to answer these questions, he believes we need art. Within the science world, Lehrer believes that we have hit a dead end, unable to solve the mystery that lies within the world of science. By getting the art perspective in the science world, science can gain new insights and perspectives to move toward scientific progress.

Overall, this was an interesting article to read. Although mentioning several people in the science and art world, it seemed as if these people whether in the neuroscience or physics realm of science, truly believed they need art in order to make progress. It seems as if they are out of answers to these unknown questions and the only way to answer these questions is by using art. Also, I am really interested in the making of the fourth culture as a solution to this gap between art and science. The idea that neither culture can exist solely by itself. That there is no competition between the two and that they cannot exist alone but only together. This opens up several opportunities in the future and I’m interested to see where this fourth culture will take the arts and sciences world.

  1. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle: any variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle, known as complementary variables, can be known.
  2. The “bridging principle”: looking at how things are the same and different within the same problem.
  3. Reductionism: the practice of analyzing and describing a complex phenomenon in terms of phenomena that are held to represent a simpler or more fundamental level, especially when this is said to provide a sufficient explanation.
  4. Synapse: a junction between two nerve cells, consisting of a minute gap across which impulses pass by diffusion of a neurotransmitter.
  5. Epiphenomenon: a secondary effect or byproduct that arises from but does not causally influence a process, in particular.
  6. Holistic perspective: interested in engaging and developing the whole person or thing.
  7. Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian who was the founder of the Romantic Movement in England. He also was a member of the Lake Poets. In Lehrer’s essay, Coleridge serves as an artist interested in opium who wrote poetry about “the mind’s self experience in the act of thinking” before there was a science of the mind. Semir Zeki was a neurobiologist who specialized in studying the primate visual brain. In Lehrer’s essay, he speaks about painters, noting, “Artists are in some sense neurologists, studying the brain with techniques that are unique to them.” He bridges the gap between science and art, finding something common between the two spectrums.

One Comment

  1. elishaemerson

    I enjoyed reading your thoughtful response to Lehrer’s essay. I found your remarks about the lack of competition between science and art as really interesting. It caused me to wonder about the existing relationship between them–how I would describe it.

    Nice work. 3/3

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