The cognitive turn in the humanities is an aspect of a more general cognitive turn taking place in the contemporary study of human beings. Because it interacts with cognitive neuroscience, it can seem unfamiliar to students of the humanities, but in fact it draws much of its content, many of its central research questions, and many of its methods from traditions of the humanities as old as classical rhetoric. Its purpose in combining old and new,the humanities and the sciences, poetics and cognitive neurobiology is not to create an academic hybrid but instead to invent a practical, sustainable,intelligible, intellectually coherent paradigm for answering basic and recurring questions about the cognitive instruments of art, language, and literature.

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