Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Proust Is in the Pudding

Jonah Lehrer, the author of several popular science books, debuted with a look at several examples of artists whose discoveries of the mind predated those made by researchers from the scientific community. In Proust Was a Neuroscientist, we read, for example, that Gertrude Stein—she of the “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” fame—exposed the deep structure of language long before Noam Chomsky and other linguists.

Lehrer is a favorite of mine because of his aplomb in explaining scientific abstractions to those of us who last took a science class in the senior year of high school. For this and other reasons, he has been criticized, but the truth is that I wouldn’t be reading the scientific and research papers he cites had he not deciphered them for the general public. I look forward to reading Imagine: How Creativity Works, his newest release, later in the year for 50/50.

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