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Distributed Cognition in Victorian Culture and Modernism$
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Miranda Anderson, Peter Garratt, and Mark Sprevak

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474442244

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474442244.001.0001

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Distributed Cognition, Porous Qualia and Modernist Narrative

Distributed Cognition, Porous Qualia and Modernist Narrative

(p.189) 11 Distributed Cognition, Porous Qualia and Modernist Narrative
Distributed Cognition in Victorian Culture and Modernism

Melba Cuddy-Keane

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter’s purpose is two-fold: to propose an approach to distributed cognition as qualia and to probe modernist narratives and cultural history for insights about such qualia’s effects. Following Daniel Dennett’s distinction between scientific ontology, dependent on empirically verifiable (or falsifiable) truth, and ‘manifest ontology,’ or the truth of what someone is experiencing, the chapter takes fictional narratives as the manifest truth of ‘porous qualia,’ or what it is like to feel we extend beyond our skin. Drawing on Arnold Bennett, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf, the chapter defines three modes of porous qualia termed projecting, responding, and circulating, ranging from the most minimal forms to the most penetrating and innovative. Against the background of aggressively unified nationalisms, these modes culminate in Woof’s use of rhythmic repetitive touch to adumbrate a new communal modelling that combines feelings of connectiveness with respect for difference in individual lives.

Keywords:   4E cognition, Arnold Bennett, cognitive narratology, communal models, James Joyce, manifest ontology, modernism, porous qualia, touch, Virginia Woolf

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