Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Why Consciousness Matters: The Importance of Cognitive Science to the Humanities and Vice Versa

Michael Babcock.

This workshop will first define the rise of cognitive science as a significant discipline which humanists in all disciplines must be familiar with. The majority of the workshop, however, will be devoted to a case-by-case presentation of how the issues which concern cognitive science directly interface with the age-old questions of the humanities: personal identity, freewill and moral choice, truth and meaning. Attention will be paid to illustrations drawn from art, literature, philosophy, and linguistics, as well as to the profound implications which cognitive research holds for political and social theory (especially as it relates to the notion of personhood and identity). The main purpose behind the workshop is to draw out points of connection between cognitive science and the humanities and to argue that research in each field can (and must) be enriched by the other.


Michael Babcock  (United States)
Associate Professor of Humanities

Liberty University

Dr. Babcock has lectured extensively on various aspects of literary theory and cognitive science. He conducted a workshop at the 2003 Hawaii International Conference on the Humanities ("Figuring Consciousness: Intersections between the Humanities and Cognitive Science") and he spoke at the 4th International Conference on the Evolution of Language at Harvard University in 2003. Dr. Babcock's research has focused on narrativity in historical sources. He is the author of "The Stories of Attila the Hun's Death: Narrative, Myth, and Meaning." In addition, Dr. Babcock has served as a reader for the 2004 Hawaii International Conference on the Humanities.

  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Identity

(60 min. Workshop, English)