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Homo Narrator

Inga Clendinnen, 16 March 2000

Mirror Talk: Genres of Crisis in Contemporary Autobiography 
by Susanna Egan.
North Carolina, 275 pp., £39.95, September 1999, 0 8078 4782 8
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... Some years ago, I heard the psychologist Jerome Bruner give a talk about a girl named Emily. At two, Emily was a virtuoso night talker: put to bed, storied, kissed and left, there would be a brief silence, and then the small voice would begin. It could go on for hours. Her loving, anxious parents installed a bug in her bed and recorded her talk – so much for infants’ right to privacy ...

Imagining an orgasm

Colin McGinn, 9 May 1991

Mind and Cognition: A Reader 
edited by William Lycan.
Blackwell, 683 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 0 631 16763 3
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Acts of Meaning 
by Jerome Bruner.
Harvard, 179 pp., £15.95, December 1990, 0 674 00360 8
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Modelling the mind 
edited by K.A. Mohyeldin Said.
Oxford, 216 pp., £25, August 1990, 9780198249733
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... cognition was nourished by a certain unclarity about what precisely a computer program is. For, as Bruner observes in Acts of Meaning, the ‘cognitive revolution’ in psychology was welcomed precisely became it was not properly understood: it was made to seem like less of a departure than it really was. With the idea of computer program as their ...

Fire the press secretary

Jerry Fodor, 28 April 2011

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind 
by Robert Kurzban.
Princeton, 274 pp., £19.95, January 2011, 978 0 691 14674 4
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... of Thomas Kuhn, Norwood Hanson and Paul Feyerabend in philosophy and of the New Look psychology of Jerome Bruner and Mitchell Ash. The art historian Erwin Panofsky made much of it, and the popular press swallowed it whole. The long and short is: one sees what one believes at least as much as the other way around. One views the world from the perspective ...

Four in a Bed

Wendy Doniger, 8 February 1996

Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life 
by Marjorie Garber.
Hamish Hamilton, 608 pp., £25, January 1996, 9780241134481
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... own psyche and libido.’ One could invoke other paradigms besides Freud’s. The psychologist Jerome Bruner once asked a group of experimental volunteers to identify each card in a deck which contained a red ace of spades; some were puzzled and bothered, but most identified the trick card as an ace of hearts or an ace of spades. What this tells us is ...

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