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Physiognomy

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The Philosophy Of The Face And 20th Century Literature And Art, Bernard J. Rhie Jan 2005

The Philosophy Of The Face And 20th Century Literature And Art, Bernard J. Rhie

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation explores the importance of the human face in modern literature, philosophy, and art. "Meaning is a physiognomy," wrote Wittgenstein--quite literally, if somewhat cryptically--in the Philosophical Investigations. My project takes this remark seriously and begins, in chapters one and two, by reading Wittgenstein's discussion of aspect-seeing alongside recent work in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind in order to explain how we perceive mentality in the appearance of a human face. I then trace the surprising ways in which our ability to understand facial expressions informs not only the way we understand language, but also other minds ...