cover of book
 

Between Science and Literature: AN INTRODUCTION TO AUTOPOETICS
by Ira Livingston
University of Illinois Press, 2005
Cloth: 978-0-252-03008-6 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09174-2 | Paper: 978-0-252-07254-3
Library of Congress Classification PN49.L538 2006
Dewey Decimal Classification 801

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Between Literature and Science follows through to its emerging 21st-century future the central insight of 20th-century literary and cultural theory: that language and culture, along with their subsystems and artifacts, are self-referential systems. The book explores the workings of self-reference (and the related performativity) in linguistic utterances and assorted texts, through examples of the more open social-discursive systems of post-structuralism and cultural studies, and into the sciences, where complex systems organized by recursive self-reference are now being embraced as an emergent paradigm. This paradigmatic convergence between the humanities and sciences is autopoetics (adapting biologist Hubert Maturana’s term for “self-making” systems), and it signals a long-term epistemological shift across the nature/culture divide so definitive for modernity.  If cultural theory has taught us that language, because of its self-referential nature, cannot bear simple witness to the world, the new paradigmatic status of self-referential systems in the natural sciences points toward a revived kinship of language and culture with the world: language bears “witness” to the world.
 
The main movement of the book is through a series of model explications and analyses, operational definitions of concepts and terms, more extended case studies, vignettes and thought experiments designed to give the reader a feel for the concepts and how to use them, while working to expand the autopoetic internee by putting cultural self-reference in dialogue with the self-organizing systems of the sciences.  Along the way the reader is introduced to self-reference in epistemology (Foucault), sociology (Luhmann), biology (Maturana/Varela/Kauffman), and physics and cosmology (Smolin). Livingston works through the fundamentals of cultural, literary, and science studies and makes them comprehensible to a non-specialist audience.
 

See other books on: INTRODUCTION | Literary Criticism | Literature | Philosophy | Poetics
See other titles from University of Illinois Press

Reference metadata exposed for Zotero via unAPI.