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Journal Article

Humanists, Scientists, and the Cultural Surplus

H. Porter Abbott
SubStance
Vol. 30, No. 1/2, Issue 94/95: Special Issue: On the Origin of Fictions: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2001), pp. 203-219
DOI: 10.2307/3685513
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3685513
Page Count: 17
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Humanists, Scientists, and the Cultural Surplus
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Abstract

Assessing the limits of evolutionary and cognitive approaches to the study of culture goes to the heart of an issue that tends to divide humanists and scientists. The issue is how far, in dealing with complex cultural texts and the complex transactions we perform as readers, can we advance by scientific reduction? The issue is vexed by the fact that at times the complexity and novelty of humanistic discourse is little more than obfuscation and strained ingenuity. But such failings discredit neither the search for novelty, nor the earned perception of irreducible complexity, nor the immense importance of work that is necessarily, and terminally, speculative.

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