Ellen Langer is a social psychologist and the first female professor to gain tenure in the psychology department at Harvard University.
From Transactions of the Charles S. Liddy I find it significant that Susanne K. An Essay on Human Feeling Her earlier works were very enthusiastically received and even now, many years later, continue to have an influence. Apart from some who appreciate her work as prefiguring recent advances in biological science, there has not been a significant response from the philosophical community.
Why the different reception? On the other hand, her earlier writings on art and symbolism gave more scope to what is specifically human in human mentality, and that is the source of the continuing interest in those early writings.
My presentation will consist in three parts: The first was the modern studies of logic epitomized by the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus of Wittgenstein. He is an organism, his substance is chemical, and what he does, suffers, or knows, is just what this sort of chemical structure may do, suffer, or know.
When the structure goes to pieces, it never does, suffers, or knows anything again. In fact, she is intent on standing up to those who would say that science alone represents the intellectual character of the human person and she seeks to vindicate the intellectual character of symbolic and artistic consciousness.
This analysis of symbols as properly intellectual and not reducible to immediate sense perception or emotive response is extended to all art forms in Feeling and Form. There two elements stand out. The creation of a work of art involves, not just feeling-influenced aesthetic experience, but also the idealization of experience, the grasp of what is important in experience as important, and its objectification in a work of art.
Such objectification is a properly human and necessary element in art. Prior to this creative act of symbolization the aesthetic patterns are not fully and humanly known.
The appreciation of a work of art involves a mental shift as radical as the change from hearing noises to hearing speech. Langer is quite clear in asserting that art involves not only the level of perception and experience, but also the level of insight, understanding, contemplation.
The aim of art is insight, understanding the essential life of feeling. The insufficiency of this tendency is in fact the major emphasis in the chapters on art in Philosophy in a New Key and in Feeling and Form.
Art is the intellectual creation for our contemplation of an affect-laden image that liberates us from the demands of practical life and immediate emotion. According to Langer the function of philosophy is to clarify language in an effort to unify the languages of the different sciences.
Invoking her own artistic studies, she comes to the conclusion regarding feeling: Psychologists, therefore, must go to artists to learn about feeling, because art is a final symbolic form making revelations of truths and facts about feeling, precisely the truths and facts that literal scientific statement distorts.
In these activities feeling and imagination obviously blend into the pronouncements of intelligence. The power of seeing one thing in another, which begets our metaphors and conceptual models the oldest of which are myths of nature and human lifeleads also to a characteristically human thought process known as abstraction.
As soon as the differences are dearly recognized, the common element stands out against them and can be conceived alone as that which both of those different things exhibit.
In this way the concept, e.Modern theories of meaning usually culminate in a critique of science. This book presents a study of human intelligence beginning with a semantic theory and leading into a critique of music. Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling Finalist, National Book Awards for Science, Philosophy, And Religion.
Mind. An Essay on Human Feeling. Vol.
2. SUSANNE K. LANGER.
Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, xii, pp., illus. $ prototype of mind. Langer rejects this thing-mindedness. But the dethronement of substance by action, while still .
LANGER, SUSANNE. LANGER, attheheels.come Katherina Knauth Langer ( – ) was a German-American philosopher. She was born the second of five children in an affluent banking family. Educated at the Veltin School in Manhattan, Langer primarily spoke German as a child. Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling (, , ), the culmination of her life’s work.
Langer’s best-known work, Philosophy in a New Key, sold over , copies by the time of her death, making it one of Harvard University Press’ all-time best sellers. Get this from a library!
Mind: an essay on human feeling. 2. [Susanne Katherina Knauth Langer].