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Distributed Cognition in Enlightenment and Romantic Culture$
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Miranda Anderson, George Rousseau, and Michael Wheeler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474442282

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474442282.001.0001

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Barthold Heinrich Brockes and Distributed Cognition: The Delicate Flux of World and Spirit

Barthold Heinrich Brockes and Distributed Cognition: The Delicate Flux of World and Spirit

Chapter:
(p.40) 3 Barthold Heinrich Brockes and Distributed Cognition: The Delicate Flux of World and Spirit
Source:
Distributed Cognition in Enlightenment and Romantic Culture
Author(s):

Charlotte Lee

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474442282.003.0003

This chapter discusses Barthold Heinrich Brockes, a prolific German poet of the eighteenth-century, as a precursor of theories of distributed cognition. It argues that developments in anti-dualist and radical Protestant thought around 1700, together with Brockes’ own commitment to the ‘mixed-science’ of physico-theology, cause his poetry to resonate with modern approaches to cognition. Through close readings of individual poems from the collection Irdisches Vergnügen in Gott, the chapter examines Brockes’ presentation of the flux between mind, body and world, and of the productive use which, through what we might call ‘epistemic engineering’, humankind can make of its environment. It also remarks on the compatibility of this religious work, geared towards the celebration of God, with modern, essentially secular understandings of our world.

Keywords:   Brockes, German, poetry, anti-dualist, physico-theology, cognition, flux, epistemic engineering, religious, secular

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