Mark Turner Home | Cognitive Science at Case
COGS 301: The Artful Mind, Spring 2007
MW, 12:30pm-1:45pm

Email Mark Turner for permission to register for this course.
The instructor provides permission through SOLAR and notifies the student of the provision.
The student then registers for the course through SOLAR.


Turner, Mark, editor. 2006. The Artful Mind: Cognitive Science and the Riddle of Human Creativity. New York: Oxford University Press. Images and links for the chapters.

Additional readings will be posted as documents on Blackboard and also listed at These include radio interviews and other multimedia presentations on the connection of cognitive science and the arts.

Schedule & Syllabus

Students should see the Blackboard Site for the Course, which will be available after the close of Fall semester. For a permit to take this course, email your request to Mark Turner.



This course is at the center of the conception of the distinctive cognitive science program at Case, which emphasizes human higher-order cognition in activities that distinguish human beings from other species, and particularly behaviors for which there are no animal models.

Human beings with mental architecture like ours came into existence only yesterday, evolutionarily speaking—perhaps fifty thousand years ago. At least, the archaeological record as we have it shows no robust evidence of cognitively modern behavior before that epoch. The staggering behavioral singularities that come with cognitively modern minds—advanced tool use, decorative dress, language, culture, religion, science, mathematics, art—present us with the greatest scientific embarrassment, for they appear to indicate a mysterious and unexplained discontinuity between us and the entire rest of Life.

To have a cognitively modern human mind is to be robustly artful, and conversely. This equivalence provides the inevitable starting point for a field of study aimed at exploring obvious yet hard questions: What is the evolutionary path from our remoter ancestors who somehow lacked artful minds to the existence of cognitively modern human beings, who cannot fail to be artful? How did the artful mind emerge? In a leap, or through slow development? What are the basic mental operations that make art possible for us now, and how do they operate? What neurobiology subtends these abilities? What is the interplay, in the phenomena of artfulness, between biological dispositions, individual experience, and cultural history?

Topics include:

Art and Evolution
Art and Emotion
Art and the Way We Think
Art, Meaning, and Form
Art and Sacred Belief
Art and Ambiguity





Some Additional Resources