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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The arts and humanities move us and change our minds—not just metaphorically but literally. This chapter provides a snapshot of some of the work that has occurred at the intersection of cognitive science and theater and literature. I provide a description and analysis of a theatrical experience that staged a challenge to traditional theories of cognition, demonstrating how artists are responding to and prodding work being done across the disciplines. If thinking is “world-making,” rather than processing stimuli into meaning, then the hermeneutic tradition of literary and art scholarship must adapt. If thinking means using objects in our environment in order to make changes to our own extended ecosystem, then an interaction with a work of art can be aesthetic, poetic, and autopoetic. Contemporary art, literature, and performance may suggest a new language—and a richer perspective on old language—for 4E cognition.

Keywords: immersive theater, postdramatic performance, dreamthinkspeak, presence, tool use, cognitive ecologies, cognitive turn, hermeneutics, cognitive linguistics, Shakespeare

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