RCC/MINDLab Guest Talk - MINDLab


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RCC/MINDLab Guest Lecture


Prof. Edward Slingerland, University of British Columbia

Debunking Myths About Early China: Realizing the Benefits of Science-Humanities Consilience

In this talk I will draw upon debates in Asian and Religious Studies concerning the existence of mind-body dualism in early China as an example of how general insights and specific techniques drawn from the natural sciences can be useful to humanities scholars. For instance, findings about the nature of human cognition can serve as hermeneutical limit setters when it comes to interpreting texts from ancient or alien cultures, imposing some brakes upon the humanistic tendency to impute radical strangeness to the cultural “Other.” Similarly, techniques of large-scale textual corpus sampling and coding can supplement the qualitative intuitions of experts in a given field with quantitative data; with the advent of a new age of “digital humanities,” the potential power of such analyses is already enormous and continually growing. I will conclude by emphasizing the importance of valuing both directions in the science-humanities exchange, and by providing an example of how one venerable issue in religious studies is being examined with renewed vigor precisely because scholars in both the sciences and humanities are learning to ignore or transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012
15.15 to 17.00 
Building 1483 room 354 (Nobelparken)

Arranged by RCC and MINDLab

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Revised 9-27-2012