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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

Thinking With Feeling Workshop

8th November 2008, 11:00 to 18:00, Pemberton Room, Palace Green

Since the writing of Plato, the dominant Western model of knowledge has rested on the assumption that we think with our minds and not our bodies, and that rational consciousness is an entirely separate activity from the processes that underpin our lives as bodily creatures. Recent work in philosophy and psychology, however, has re-examined this mind-body dualism and now approaches consciousness, and therefore thinking, as an embodied activity.

In this new model of mind, feeling is an intrinsic part of rational thinking and essential to the human capacity to make judgements. The idea was first explored in evolutionary terms in Charles Darwin's seminal work, The Expression of the Emotions in Humans and Animals (1872). Here, Darwin developed the idea that the emotions are fundamentally adaptive and basically evaluative in orienting the organism to its environment. Human beings could neither think nor thrive without them.

Though this idea is only now being developed by scientists, in fact poets and novelists have for centuries sought to represent and explore human consciousness in ways that are fascinatingly close to what psychologists are now establishing as the working methods of the mind. Our understanding of human consciousness is progressing through a genuinely interdisciplinary exploration which brings together the arts and the sciences. Three one-day workshops will explore these themes across literary studies, philosophy and psychology and from the medieval to the contemporary period.

The first workshop in the "Thinking with Feeling" series will take place on November 8th, from 11.00 to 18.00, and will be held in Lecture Room 20 of the Pemberton Building, Palace Green, Durham University. The theme for this workshop is Thinking and Feeling/Affect and the Embodied Mind.

11.00 Welcome Charles Fernyhough (IAS Fellow, Durham University)
11.15-12.15 Thinking with Feeling Mark Turner (IAS Fellow, Case Western University)
12.15-1.00 Thinking about Thinking Charles Fernyhough (IAS Fellow, Durham University)
2.00-2.45 Thinking and Feeling in Depression Matthew Ratcliffe (Durham University)
2.45-3.30 Cognitivism, Feelings and Moral Philosophy Benedict Smith (Durham University)
3.30-4.00 Refreshments
4.00-4.45 Talking Feelings Giovanna Colombetti (University of Exeter)
4.45-5.45 Once more with Feeling: Literature, Performance and Affect Derek Attridge (University of York)

The workshops are free and open to all. For more information, and to register your attendance, please contact Professor Patricia Waugh (Department of English Studies):

Contact for more information about this event.

Related Links


Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.


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