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A Neuroscientist and a Humanist Walk into a Bar

Indira Raman, Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biological Sciences in the Department of Neurobiology, and Susie Phillips, Associate Professor of English and Alumnae of Northwestern Teaching Professor, shared their ideas about the relationships and connections between their seemingly unrelated disciplines—neurophysiology and medieval literature—at Northwestern University’s annual A Day at Northwestern.
 
Until a few centuries ago, scholars made no distinction between science and literature, or science and art. Poets such as Chaucer wrote scientific treatises, while figures we think of today as hardcore scientists, like Johannes Kepler, also practiced the creative arts. What would it be like to revive this older paradigm, to reintegrate these supposedly disparate ways of thinking about thinking? Fresh from teaching their new experimental course “Thought Experiments: Ways of Knowing in Neuroscience and the Humanities,” Indira Raman and Susie Phillips, both professors in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, discussed these questions on April 9 as they explored the intersections between their fields, both inside and outside the classroom.

9 April 2016

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