Cognitive Classics Bibliography
Abstracts are the authors’ own. Unlike the highly selective Cognitive Humanities list, the Classics list aims to be inclusive while this area is still in its infancy, and authors are invited to send in abstracts of relevant publications via the ‘Contact us‘ form. Forthcoming publications are not included.
Reports and discusses the results of an empirical study of (modern) audience responses to famously ambiguous scenes in Greek tragedy (Libation Bearers, Ajax) and Shakespeare (The Winter’s Tale, Othello). Different, and individually notable, patterns of response emerge. For example, spectators were split when assessing whether Clytemnestra’s protestations of grief over Orestes’ death were genuine or faked, but did not themselves perceive the speech as ambiguous – a form of ‘objective’ ambiguity. By contrast, Iago’s behaviour in the ‘temptation scene’ was perceived subjectively as ambiguous. The degree of ambiguity perceived in any of these scenes pales into insignificance when compared to the ambiguity the same participants evinced in assessing an example of real-life motivation.
This volume studies from a compositional point of view the substantial speeches and the exchanges of speech that the Homeric poet includes in his songs. Part 1 (‘Discourse and memory’) studies the way in which the poet draws on speech-act formats when he expresses rebukes and refusals of invitations, shows the regularities that underpin questions, and identifies and explains from a cognitive point of view the strategies that we find in the responses given. Part 2 (‘Discourse and Gender’) relies more heavily on work in other fields: discourse analysis and sociolinguistics.
Minchin, E. (1996). The performance of lists and catalogues in the Homeric epics. In I. Worthington (Ed.), Voice into text: Orality and literacy in ancient Greece (pp. 3-20). Mnemosyne Supplementa*. Leiden: Brill. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=9004104313 (preview of all but the final page)
An evaluation of lists and catalogues as a genre of their own that plays a special role in oral art. The major lists and catalogues in the Homeric epics are showpieces, according to Minchin, designed to give clear evidence of the singer’s diverse skills as poet and as performer. His audience, as occasional list-makers themselves, appreciate the poet’s ingenuity and assiduity in working up a performance piece that demands in some cases careful rehearsal of traditional material, in others poetic craft, and in every case rehearsal. Since lists, unlike narrative, are not connected discourse, the poet must develop certain skills of memory that will assist him as he prepares for performance. The critical factor in memorization is organisation: Homer’s lists are ‘meaningful’ lists, held together by association. Auditory memory, semantic memory, and spatial memory (the cognitive map) all have roles to play.
This article traces the history of the transmission and reception through time of the story of Hero and Leander. This account exemplifies the role that memory plays in the preservation of a cultural tradition and demonstrates how failures of memory (Daniel Schacter’s ‘misattribution’ and ‘suggestibility’) occur, in this case when travellers to the region tried to identify, often incorrectly, the sites associated with the lovers.
Minchin, E. (2006). Can one ever forget? Homer on the persistence of painful memories. Scholia, 15, 2-16. https://journals.co.za/content/scholia/15/1/EJC100298?crawler=true&mimetype=application/pdf (full text)
This paper takes as its subject Homer’s engagement with and representation of one of the troubling aspects of memory: its unwelcome persistence (when one cannot put a halt to the intrusion of painful memories). An account of persistence, as it is understood in cognitive terms today, is followed by a number of relevant case studies from Homer: Penelope, Helen, Ajax, and Achilles.
‘4E’ (embodied, embedded, enactive, extended) cognition
This chapter proposes that translating an ancient dramatic text must involve more than simply converting ancient Greek to a modern language – the context of the original work should be taken into consideration. A cognitive reading equips the translator with a different set of tools to achieve this. Meineck uses the Watchman scene from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon (1-39) to demonstrate. Four main cognitive areas are explored: spatial relationships, cognitive surrogacy, multisensory experience, and kinaesthetic empathy and embodied cognition.
Eidinow, E. (2015). ‘φανερὰν ποιήσει τὴν αὑτοῦ διάνοιαν τοῖς θεοῖς’: Some ancient Greek theories of (divine and mortal) mind. In C. Ando and J. Rüpke (Eds), Public and private in ancient Mediterranean law and religion (pp. 53-74). Berlin: De Gruyter. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=3110367033 (full preview)
This paper sets out to explore perceptions, ancient and modern, of the limits of the ‘public’, and the nature of what is ‘private’, with reference to the individual, in the context of ancient Greek religion. Inspired by work on cognitive approaches that examine the relationship between individual, society and environment (e.g., embodied, situated and distributed cognition) it offers an alternative model of ancient Greek religion as a network—an emerging configuration of relationships that includes conceptual networks—in which shared meanings were engendered and transmitted, creating a common religious culture, shaped by those involved. As a case study it considers evidence for the perception of the gods as omniscient: did the Greeks believe that the gods could ‘read one’s mind’? This, in turn, offers evidence for ancient Greek theories of mind as ‘private space’ and the perceived relationship of the gods with individuals.
Eidinow, E. (2015). Ancient Greek religion: ‘Embedded’… and embodied. In C. Taylor and K. Vlassopoulos (Eds), Communities and networks in the ancient Greek world (pp. 54-79). Oxford: OUP. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=019872649X (partial preview)
This chapter suggests that a relational, or network, model of ‘embeddedness’ can help to explain the social integration of ancient Greek religion. In that context, recent work across a variety of disciplines suggests that the development of narratives, and the generation and employment of stories, are key to interactions among and between individuals and groups, linking individual cognition, society, and culture (e.g., the work of Kathleen Carley, Armin W. Geertz). This chapter suggests that drawing on such research may help to clarify the meaning of ‘embeddedness’ in ancient Greek religion, and suggests a methodology for examining how ancient Greek religious concepts were shaped and shared. This is illustrated here with a brief examination of the employment of the concept of asebeia in forensic oratory; the range of meanings and network of concepts in which it is embedded; and in particular the development of its association with dimensions of individual, civic, and cosmological risks.
Short, W. M., Welchman, A., and Shearin, W. (2014). Deleuze and the enaction of nonsense. In M. Cappuccio and T. Froese (Eds), Enactive cognition at the edge of sense-making: Making sense of non-sense (pp. 238-265). New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science. London: Palgrave Macmillan. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1137363363 (partial preview)
This paper addresses the relation of the embodied and enactive theories of linguistic meaning using resources from Deleuze. The authors argue that while Deleuze’s analysis of Carrollian nonsense remains broadly within the tradition of embodiment (i.e. can be accounted for in terms of Lakoffian conceptual metaphor theory and the theory of prototypes), his encounter with Artaud suggests the outlines of a more radical, enactive, conception of linguistic meaning that integrates concepts such as phonesthemes or, more generally, what has been called ‘sound symbolism’. Finally, a discussion of Deleuze’s Anti-Oedipus, co-written with Félix Guattari in 1972, helps us to see what is at stake in the enactive challenge to cognitive science, in particular in relation to ‘modal prejudice’, or the idea that a single sensorimotor modality (namely, vision) has been – the authors believe detrimentally – privileged in accounts of human cognition.
Meineck, P. (2012). The embodied space: Performance and visual cognition at the fifth century Athenian theatre. New England Classical Journal, 39, 3-46. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224946624_The_Embodied_Space_Performance_and_Visual_Cognition_at_the_Fifth_Century_Athenian_Theatre (full text)
Meineck applies cognitive spatial theories to the fifth-century performance environment, particularly the work of Previc, which takes an embodied approach to human spatial interaction and how this affects neural chemistry and spatial perception. The paper proposes that the cognitive effects of the open-air theatre and the spectators’ constant exposure to extra-personal ambient space increased tendencies towards abstract thought in spectators.
Emotion [see also, Interpersonal emotion]
Having explored evidence for ancient Greek philosophies of fate, luck and fortune, as well as material evidence for the cult of these concepts, this volume uses theories of cultural models and schemas (drawing on the work of Roy D’Andrade, Dorothy Holland, Naomi Quinn and Claudia Strauss) to examine the presentation and manipulation of these concepts across diverse literary discourses. Sources examined include: Sophocles Oedipus the King, Herodotus’ Histories, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, archaic lyric poetry, and fourth century rhetoric.
Evolution and culture
Offers a cognitive re-evaluation and detailed network analysis of the (predominantly female) Roman cult of Bona Dea. This imagistic cult enshrined a normative mate-guarding strategy, underpinned by appeal to mythological references to the royal customs of primeval Latium. In the likely absence of doctrinal hierarchies, the slow and inefficient dissemination of the cult was dependent on colonisation and/or relocation of the army, with the city of Rome as the passive highest-degree vertex in a broadcast network. Notwithstanding its institutional prestige, the appeal of the cult was limited also by a set of socio-political, gender-related constraints and a changing family ethos.
Ambasciano, L. (2016). The fate of a healing goddess: ocular pathologies, the Antonine plague, and the ancient Roman cult of Bona Dea. Open Library of Humanities 1(1), 1-34. https://olh.openlibhums.org/articles/10.16995/olh.42/ (full text)
Uses the cult of Bona Dea as a case study for discussing the intuitive understanding of epidemics, and the way in which cognitive biases and agentive notions of health shaped the religious response to the outbreak and spread of the Antonine plague (3rd century CE). When Late Antique epidemics struck with unprecedented severity, the long-term lack of epistemic reinforcement for the belief in the efficacy of divine action led to growing disenchantment and disappointment with traditional sacra publica. The paper concludes that Late Antique epidemics selected for specific behavioural concerns integrated in, and implemented by, non-traditional theodicies that proved themselves capable of thriving in a different epidemiological environment.
Lulić, J. (2016) Illyrian religion and nation as zero institution. Studies in Visual Arts and Communication: an international journal 3, 1
The main theoretical and philosophical framework for this paper are Louis Althusser’s writings on ideology, and ideological state apparatuses, as well as Rastko Močnik’s writings on ideology and on the nation as the zero institution. This theoretical framework is crucial for deconstructing some basic tenants in writing on the religious sculpture in Roman Dalmatia, and the implicit theoretical constructs that govern the possibilities of thought on this particular subject. In this paper I try to offer some alternative interpretations through the lens of cognitive theory. I use Whitehouse’s theory of modes of religiosity to discuss the problem of orthodoxy and fixed identities of deities that inform the previous scholarship on the subject.
Lulić, J. (2015) Theorizing Romanization. Cognition and Cultural Change in Roman Provinces: A Case of Religious Change in Roman Dalmatia. In S. Roselaar (ed.) Into the Roman World (pp. 20-38). Leiden : Brill.
This chapter discusses the problem of Romanization from the standpoint of cognitive theory, looking closely at the problem of religious change in the province of Dalmatia. I use the concepts stemming from Dan Sperber’s cognitive theory of culture in order to examine the already existing models of Romanization and resistance in Roman Dalmatia. I attempt to show how both models are unsustainable from the viewpoint of cognition, and that we need to reexamine our theories, articulating more nuanced models that would account for the limitations of the human mind.
Lulić, J. (2014) Dalmatian Silvanus: A Cognitive Approach to Reinterpretation of the Reliefs Representing Silvanus from Roman Dalmatia. In H. Platts, J. Pearce, C. Barron, J. Undock, J. Yoo (eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (pp. 37-51). Oxford and Philadelphia : Oxbow Books.
The paper offers a new interpretation of the sculptures from Roman Dalmatia representing Silvanus in the light of the cognitive theory. It is based on the cognitive theory of culture by D. Sperber, cognitive theory of religion, by Boyer, Barrett, Pyysiäinen and others, and the extended mind theory by A. Clark (as a way to introduce images to the discussion of religious cognition with theoretical consistency). As opposed to the older interpretations, the chapter offers a bottom-up, decentralised model of the emergence of a local deity in Roman Dalmatia.
This is a book about the power of the theatre, how it can affect the people who experience it, and the societies within which it is embedded. Key performative elements of Greek theatre are analysed from the perspective of the cognitive sciences as embodied, live, enacted events, with new approaches to narrative, space, masks, movement, music, words, emotions and empathy. This study combines research from the fields of the affective sciences – the study of human emotions – including cognitive theory, neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, psychiatry and cognitive archaeology, with classical, theatre and performance studies. The overarching theoretical model used in this book is the theory of predictive processing as advanced by Andy Clark. This combines theories of distributed cognition with notions of the computation brain, including the Free Energy Principle and Bayesian processing.
Eidinow, E. (2016). Envy, poison and death: Women on trial in classical Athens. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=0199562601 (partial preview)
This book examines the evidence for a series of trials of women in fourth-century Athens; the charges against these women all involved ritual activity (‘magic’) of some kind. The book uses a wide range of cognitive approaches, including theories of emotions to examine the motivations behind accusations of magic, and magical activity (focusing on phthonos) and psychological analyses of gossip. It employs conceptual blending theory (to analyse the linguistic power of binding spells); and, finally, it uses a psychoanalytic approach to suggest that these trials took place in a context of social trauma.
Cairns, D. (2013). A short history of shudders. In A. Chaniotis and P. Ducrey (Eds), Unveiling emotions II: Emotions in Greece and Rome: Texts, images, material culture (pp. 85-107). Stuttgart: Steiner. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=3515106375 (no preview), http://www.academia.edu/5079046/A._Chaniotis_and_Pierre_Ducrey_eds._Unveiling_Emotions_II._Emotions_in_Greece_and_Rome_Texts_Images_Material_Culture_Steiner_Verlag_Stuttgart_2013 (full text of book contents and introduction)
Starting from the crucial importance of embodiment in emotional experience, this article discusses the role of embodied experience and its phenomenology in the formation of emotion concepts via metonymy and metaphor. Arguing for abandonment of unproductive antithesis between mind and body, cognition and affect, biological and cultural in the historical and cross-cultural study of emotion, the paper seeks to pin down both the universal and the culturally specific in the ancient Greek concept of phrikê (shivering, shuddering, or ‘goose pimples’).
Language, speech, and thought
This paper proposes to rethink the study of oral performativity in the context of modern cognitive science. To that end, the authors list a number of so-far unrecognised parallels between the Parry-Lord theory of composition in performance and what have come to be known as ‘usage-based’ approaches to grammar and language acquisition in the field of Cognitive Linguistics. These connections are developed into an integrated whole, opening up the way for a research programme in the new field of ‘cognitive oral poetics’, and relating it to a number of topical questions in present-day cognitive science (creativity, language acquisition, multimodality).
Short, W. M. (Ed.) (2016). Embodiment in Latin semantics. Studies in Language Companion Series 174. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=9027267189 (partial preview)
This volume introduces theories of embodied meaning developed in the cognitive sciences to the study of Latin semantics. Bringing together contributions from an international group of scholars, the volume demonstrates the pervasive role that embodied cognitive structures and processes play in conventional Latin expression across levels of lexical, syntactic, and textual meaning construction. It shows not only the extent to which universal aspects of human embodiment are reflected in Latin’s semantics, but also the ways in which Latin speakers capitalise on embodied understanding to express imaginative and culture-specific forms of meaning. In this way, the volume makes good on the potential of the embodiment hypothesis to enrich our understanding of meaning-making in the Latin language, from the level of word sense to that of literary thematics. Includes chapters by: Andrea Nuti, Erik Knighton, Luisa Brucale & Egle Mocciaro, Chiara Fedriani, Alessandro Buccheri, David Wharton, Courtney Roby, and Jennifer Devereaux.
Short, W. M. (2013). Latin de: A view from cognitive semantics. Classical Antiquity, 32(2), 378-405. http://ca.ucpress.edu/content/32/2/378 (paywall)
Short argues that, unlike proposition-based lexicographical and historical linguistic definitions, an image schematic account of Latin de allows us to explain the range of its literal, physical senses and of its figurative, abstract senses, as well as the relations between them. Defining de in terms of an image schematic ‘scenario’ portraying two entities connected by a directional trajectory in fact accommodates the co-existence of even antonymous senses within this word’s semantic structure and apparently radical divergences from its presumed essential literal meaning in Latin literature, due to the susceptibility of image schemas to ‘embodied’ transformations such as perspective shifts and profiling effects. De’s more abstract senses may also be linked in this way to widespread metaphorical patterns in Latin, showing that these senses are not haphazard but highly motivated semantically.
This essay offers an account of the mechanisms of social learning through which Roman children acquired their cult tradition. Three mechanisms are examined: (1) imitative learning, (2) participatory learning, and (3) instructed learning. The Romans recognized the pedagogical power of imitation, which involves not only the child imitating an adult’s actions but also the child grasping and adopting the adult’s intentional states, i.e., her religious beliefs, desires, concerns, etc. In addition to imitation, children’s participation alongside adults allowed them to internalize norms of cult practice even as they engaged with representations of gods and thereby inferred informal theological beliefs. Finally, I discuss our rare evidence for children’s formal instruction, especially in choral hymn-singing. Though hardly catechesis or indoctrination, nonetheless, through instruction in and deliberate memorization of hymns, Roman children encountered representations of the gods from which they could infer an informal “folk theology”.
Minchin’s approach to the so-called ‘heroic tumuli’ of the Troad takes in three phenomena of memory: first, the memory system that cognitive psychology refers to as spatial memory – in particular, the capacity of spatial information (in this case, the distinctive topography of the Troad) – to cue the recall of ‘humanising’ stories; second, collective memory, which has the capacity to store and transmit the traditional memories that we associate with any culture; and, third, the human mind’s tendency to memory distortion. The paper aims to bring together the work of scholars like Brian Rose and Michael Sage on the landscape of the Troad with research at that junction where mind and memory meet. It considers how the story of Troy and cultural values associated with it were shaped over centuries (long after the end of the Bronze Age) by the presence of these tumuli in the landscape; and observes how a particular landscape can serve, not only in a pre-literate world but also in the modern world, as a significant repository for a culture’s traditions.
Minchin, E. (2016). Voice and voices: Homer and the stewardship of memory. In N. W. Slater (Ed.), Voice and voices in antiquity: Orality and literacy in the ancient world (pp. 11-30). Leiden: Brill. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=9004329730 (full preview)
A discussion of how we as storytellers organise in memory the stories we hear and how we access them again when we need them. Roger Schank proposes that we ‘label’ or ‘index’ stories as we acquire them, in terms, for example, of the goals of the actor or of the lesson learned. Visual memory will be an important aid in the retrieval process. These understandings are transferred to the secondary tales of the Homeric epics, especially the Iliad, to illustrate these cognitive processes. The paper also looks at the secondary tales of the Odyssey, which are not drawn from a mythological past, as they are in the Iliad, but which have a tighter temporal relationship with the main narrative. In this section of the paper the author observes how the poet manages the homecoming stories of different heroes, all quite similar in content, which the poet interweaves and interleaves. How does the poet avoid confusion? Here Minchin relies on Schacter’s ‘distinctiveness heuristic’ and Schank and Abelson’s ‘thematic packages’. Spatial cues also play a role as a retrieval tool for associated information. The sine qua non for a successful oral poet is a capacious memory store, efficient strategies of access that allow him to retrieve promptly the material he needs, and strategies that forestall confusion.
Minchin, E. (2014). Poet, audience, time, and text: Reflections on medium and mode in Homer and Vergil. In R. Scodel (Ed.), Between orality and literacy: Communication and adaptation in antiquity (pp. 267-288). Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World, vol. 10. Leiden: Brill. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=9004270973 (partial preview)
This paper, on the different contexts in which oral poets and poets who compose in writing work, begins with some discussion of the very limited capacity of short-term memory. This limitation (a ‘cognitive ceiling’) imposes a real constraint on an oral poet who composes in performance, whereas a poet composing in writing is not so constrained: the different media and the different modes therefore require, or allow, different compositional strategies. What is interesting is that the oral poet’s strategies as he composes in (sustained) performance neatly complement the processing needs of the audience members who listen to him. Vergil, on the other hand, as representative of poets who compose in writing, put his efforts into negotiating a relationship that the oral epic tradition had never envisaged: a relationship with an audience of educated and experienced readers, who had the leisure to linger over his words.
Battezzato, L. (2009). Techniques of reading and textual layout in ancient Greek texts. Cambridge Classical Journal, 55, 1-23. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/52CB5C73AB1CDC2CC55984A57CF6A7E4/S1750270500000166a.pdf/div-class-title-techniques-of-reading-and-textual-layout-in-ancient-greek-texts-div.pdf (full text)
The paper discusses the cognitive implication of the lack of spaces between words in ancient Greek script. It also analyses line length in prose texts, in musical texts, and in lyric texts (colometry). The paper argues that textual layout was designed to be efficient for the memory and attention abilities of readers and performers. It argues that several types of ancient written documents were designed for ‘fast reading’ or ‘scanning’, and assume the ability to read quickly and silently. It also argues that the layout of ancient Greek texts was designed to be cognitively efficient.
Minchin, E. (2008). Spatial memory and the composition of the Iliad. In E. A. Mackay (Ed.), Orality, literacy, memory in the ancient Greek and Roman world (pp. 9-34). Mnemosyne Supplementa. Leiden: Brill. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=904743384X (full preview)
A study of landscape and memory. Drawing on ideas from cognitive and social psychology, Minchin discusses the functions of spatial memory in the composition of oral song, comparing the Homeric epics with living epic traditions in Papua New Guinea and indigenous Australia. The Homeric poet uses movement, location, and landmarks as prompts for memory and as cues for a new episode or an embedded story.
Minchin, E. (2005). Homer on autobiographical memory: The case of Nestor. In R. Rabel (Ed.), Approaches to Homer: Ancient and modern (pp. 55-72). Swansea: Classical Press of Wales. http://www.academia.edu/9323827/Homer_on_Autobiographical_Memory_The_Case_of_Nestor (full text)
The Homeric poet, like his heroes, was preoccupied with memory: he often remarks on the activities of reminding, remembering, forgetting, and its opposite, the inability to forget. This study, of Nestor and his relationship with his autobiographical memory, is an attempt to assess the poet’s own understanding of this aspect of the workings of memory. Research in cognitive and social psychology on autobiographical memory and ageing is an important element in this discussion. The portrait that the poet offers us of an elderly man whose memories are again and again drawn from his ‘landmark years’ is authentic; we find a rich vein of psychological insight in the poet’s recreation of the everyday conversational behaviour of a ‘senior citizen’.
Minchin, E. (2001). How Homeric is Hysteron Proteron? Mnemosyne: A Journal of Classical Studies, 54, 635-645. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4433272 (full text)
This paper, which brings together discourse analysis and cognitive studies, examines the nature and function of ‘Homeric’ hysteron-proteron. Minchin demonstrates that this practice, whereby addressees regularly answer the second of two questions posed to them before they address the first, is a common practice in everyday discourse. The reason for this practice is not primarily rhetorical; it is practical. It is easier for the addressee to retain in working memory one question (the first one asked) rather than two (were he or she to decide to answer the questions in the order they were asked).
Minchin, E. (2001). Homer and the resources of memory: Some applications of cognitive theory to the Iliad and the Odyssey. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Homer-Resources-Memory-Applications-Cognitive/dp/0198152574 (preview of first six pages)
An oral traditional poet like Homer relies neither on rote memory nor on a written text. The task of composing-in-performance leads him to adopt a number of memory-based strategies, of which we find traces in the text of the epics. Drawing on recent work in cognitive and social psychology and linguistics, Minchin demonstrates how the Homeric poet, making intense and creative use of those resources of memory that are available to us all (episodic, visual, spatial, and auditory memory), prepared and presented his songs.
Mental imagery and imagination
A typical, if not defining feature of the Homeric epics, the extended simile, is examined here from a cognitive perspective. Minchin observes the interactive relationship between imagery, memory, and language – and the way in which this relationship is worked out in the expression of the Homeric simile. The work of Allan Paivio on imagery and memory and his ‘dual coding’ hypothesis of memory are at the heart of this discussion.
Cognitive research tells us that information about routine activities is stored in episodic memory as scripts; this information has been used to clarify the nature of Homeric ‘type-scenes’, those accounts of routine activities in the world of Homer. In this paper Minchin identifies in the epics a second category of scripted activity: the speech act format. Taking David Rubin’s account of implicit knowledge (‘knowing how’) as a basis, she demonstrates that a Homeric rebuke is typically composed of a particular series of ‘ideas’, or ‘steps’. She argues from analogy with everyday discourse in the contemporary Western world that speakers, when they wish to utter a rebuke, can refer to a recognisable rebuke-format. Minchin suggests that the rebuke-speeches of the Homeric epics are formalised but authentic versions of an everyday format familiar to those traditional poets.
Minchin, E. (1992). Scripts and themes: Cognitive research and the Homeric epic. Classical Antiquity, 11(2), 229-241. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25010974 (paywall)
According to cognitive research (especially the work of Roger Schank and Robert Abelson), we all hold in episodic memory a vast range of ‘scripts’ acquired in the normal course of living. These scripts contain information stored in sequential form about what for us are routine experiences such as using public transport or using a library. We refer to the script when we contemplate, or are engaged in, these activities; and the script supports us as we give a verbal account of those routines. We find accounts of routine activities in the Homeric poems too: they have long been identified as type-scenes, which, it was claimed, the apprentice singer learnt during his ‘training’. But it is more productive to consider these ‘type-scenes’ as the expression of cognitive scripts: for setting out on a journey, or dressing, or preparing a barbecue meal. The poet draws on his memory of everyday experience to support him as he sings. Thus we have a plausible and more realistic view of a poet who composes in performance.
Metaphor, blending, and figurative language
This article explores the role and modes of metaphorical framing in ancient Greek and modern European and American political discourse. It adopts Critical Metaphor Analysis (Charteris-Black) and discusses the role of metaphor scenarios in political discourse (Musolff). It looks at how concepts such as citizenship, ownership, family, morality, finance, sport, war, domination, human life, and animals are used to reframe political issues in ways promoted by the speaker, and how they may continue to be reshaped in ongoing political discourse. Examples of ancient Athenian public rhetoric and modern European and American political debates reveal a variety of differences and similarities in the ways political and civic values were expressed and reframed in antiquity and how they are used today. The essay also discusses the potential effects of such framing both in antiquity and more recent periods (adopting the methodologies of Musolff; Brugman, Burgers & Steen; Perrez & Reuchamps).
Filonik, J. (2017). Metaphorical Appeals to Civic Ethos in Lycurgus’ Against Leocrates. In L. Cecchet and A. Busetto (Eds), Citizens in the Graeco-Roman World: Aspects of Citizenship from the Archaic Period to AD 212, Leiden: Brill, 223-58. http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/books/b9789004352612_011.
Draws on early work by Lakoff et al. to discuss the use of conceptual metaphors (understood as structure mapping) in ancient Greek political discourse. The article analyses the argumentation of Lycurgus’ prosecution speech ‘Against Leocrates’ and explores the ways in which speaker-politicians were able to exploit concepts crucial to the identities of Athenian citizens by using metaphors such as ‘citizenship is warfare’, ‘citizenship is part-owning’, ‘citizenship is protecting others’, ‘citizenship is a prize’, ‘citizenship is a debt’, and ‘citizenship is a duty’, alongside personifications of the city-state, often based on the ‘citizens are children’ metaphor. It also discusses briefly the possible impact of conceptual metaphors on the political discourse of Athenian democracy.
Cairns, D. (2016). Clothed in shamelessness, shrouded in grief: The role of ‘garment’ metaphors in ancient Greek concepts of emotion. In G. Fanfani, M. Harlow, and M.-L. Nosch (Eds), Spinning fates and the song of the loom: The use of textiles, clothing and cloth production as metaphor, symbol, and narrative (pp. 25-41). Oxford: Oxbow. https://www.academia.edu/30438086/Clothed_in_Shamelessness_Shrouded_in_Grief._The_Role_of_Garment_Metaphors_in_Ancient_Greek_Concepts_of_Emotion (full text)
This paper applies conceptual metaphor theory to ancient Greek, showing (a) how the characteristics of the target domain determine the precise development of the metaphors concerned (so that e.g. persistent states are said to be worn, using perfective verb forms, and occurrent emotions are said to cover or conceal, using aorist forms) and (b) how the pragmatics of ancient Greek dress and its use in culturally specific settings condition the development and application of the metaphors in question.
Cairns, D. (2016). Metaphors for hope in early Greek literature. In R. R. Caston and R. A. Kaster (Eds), Hope, joy, and affection in the classical world (pp. 13-44). New York: Oxford University Press. https://www.academia.edu/30438129/Metaphors_for_Hope_in_Archaic_and_Classical_Greek_Poetry (full text)
On the assumption that conceptual metaphors for emotion derive from the attempt to capture, in the intersubjective medium of language, aspects of the subjective phenomenology of emotional experience, this paper looks at metaphors for hope and compares them to those associated with more prototypical members of the category of emotion.
Cairns, D. (2016). Mind, body, and metaphor in ancient Greek concepts of emotion. L’Atelier du Centre de recherche historique, 16. https://acrh.revues.org/7416 (full text)
A synthesis of Cairns’ 2013 (under ‘Interpersonal emotion’), 2014, and two 2016 papers (all under ‘Metaphor, blending, and figurative language’)
Eidinow, E. (2016) Envy Poison and Death: Women on Trial in Classical Athens, Oxford: OUP, 234-250
This section of the book offers an analysis of the conceptual blend of a generic Athenian binding spell, drawing on Jesper Sørensen’s arguments concerning the cognitive creation of religious and magical ritual. It argues that the conceptual blend of a generic Athenian binding spell drew on the profane domain of the Athenian courtroom, associating the spell with processes of civic punishment, and therefore investing its user with a strong sense of legitimacy.
Pagán Cánovas, C. (2016). Rethinking image schemas: Containment and emotion in Greek poetry. Journal of Literary Semantics, 45(2), 117-139. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jlse.2016.45.issue-2/jls-2016-0008/jls-2016-0008.xml (paywall)
Research on the perceptual gestalts called image schemas (containment, path, blockage, etc.) is largely based on de-contextualised linguistic expressions. This results in a view of image schemas as source domains for fixed conceptual projections from the concrete to the abstract. By showcasing examples of the poetics of containment throughout the long diachrony of Greek poetry, this article proposes that image schemas reflect the early attentional preferences of the human mind. These central features of image schemas are further selected for their suitability to create ad-hoc, non-perceptual meanings. Templates for conceptual integration involving image schemas also offer coherent patterns of variation, which opportunistically exploit arising connections with culture, context, and goals.
Short, W. M. (2016). Spatial metaphors of time in Roman culture. Classical World, 109(3), 381-412. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William_Short2/publication/303668162_Spatial_Metaphors_of_Time_in_Roman_Culture/links/578374cf08ae37d3af6bed7e.pdf (full text)
Short argues that image schemas and their metaphorical interpretations not only deliver meaning in Latin’s semantic system, but also organise other forms of Roman symbolic representation. Building on Maurizio Bettini’s analysis of Latin’s metaphorical expression of time in terms of horizontal and vertical linear spatial relations, he traces the structuring effects of these metaphors on other aspects of Roman social practice: as he shows, these metaphors motivate the ‘axial’ configurations of certain socially instituted genealogical representations, as well as providing principles of organisation for the construction and decoration of material objects (such as calendar stones and funerary depictions).
Short, W. M., and Duffy, W. (2016). Metaphor as ideology: The Greek folk model of the epic tradition. In C. Cánovas and M. Antović (Eds), Oral poetics and cognitive science (pp. 52-78). Berlin: De Gruyter. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=3110348535 (preview of pp. 52-70)
Ancient Greeks’ conception of the tradition of oral poetry was ordered by two overarching metaphor systems that work to create an artificial opposition between epic composition and epic performance, processes that were co-extensive in actual practice. The authors propose that this metaphorically constituted folk model served a crucial ideological function: by distinguishing between epic-as-composition and epic-as-performance, Greek speakers were able to place their trust in the fixity and stability of the tradition as a vector of cultural knowledge, even as its performative nature entailed (and indeed depended on) it being anything but fixed and stable.
Budelmann, F., and LeVen, P. (2014). Timotheus’ poetics of blending: A cognitive approach to the language of the New Music. Classical Philology, 109, 191-210.
This article applies Fauconnier and Turner’s theory of ‘conceptual integration’, or ‘blending’, to the poetics of the New Music (fifth/fourth cent. BC). It argues that Timotheus’ notoriously complex images, which are difficult to describe in terms of ‘metaphor’, can be successfully analysed as ‘blends’, by drawing on Fauconnier and Turner’s model. Timotheus’ blends have certain qualities: they are difficult, and systematically push the listeners’ capacity to their limits. However, the challenge they pose is carefully managed (by a combination of simple syntax and reliance on well-known frames to process images), and has considerable pay-off.
Cairns, D. (2014). Psyche, thymos, and metaphor in Homer and Plato. Les Études Platoniciennes, 11, 1-37. (Special issue ed. O. Renaut on Psyche chez Platon et ses prédécesseurs.) https://etudesplatoniciennes.revues.org/566 (full text)
Beginning with a survey of classic account of conceptual metaphor theory alongside recent developments and criticisms, this paper then applies that theory to the role of metaphor (esp. the ontological metaphor of personification) in the construction of the concepts of psychê and thymos in Homer and Plato. The paper argues against those who see the personified parts of the soul in Plato either as real agents or as mere names for drives or capacities and against those who believe that the use of such metaphors (in Homer, Plato, or both) implies a fragmentation of the person as agent.
Pagán Cánovas, C. (2014). Cognitive patterns in Greek poetic metaphors of emotion: A diachronic approach. In J. E. Díaz Vera (Ed.), Metaphor and metonymy through time and cultures (pp. 295-318). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=311033545X (no preview of this chapter)
Poetic imagery systematically integrates archetypical emotion scenes with schematic narratives grounded on spatial cognition. To model these recurrent imaginative patterns, the author uses generic structures of conceptual integration, exposing conceptual templates recurrent across different periods of Greek poetry. These patterns recruit image schemas, that is, condensed redescriptions of perceptual experience, to construct imaginary narratives that blend basic spatial events with emotional meaning. For example, an erotic emission coming from the body or from a superior force (as in the arrows of love, or a light or scent from the beloved) has been repeatedly used to conceptualise love causation in literature, everyday language, or rituals, from antiquity to the twentieth century.
Short, W. M. (2014). Metafora. In M. Bettini and W. Short (Eds), Con i romani: Un’antropologia della cultura antica (pp. 329-352). Bologna: Il Mulino. http://www.academia.edu/24162709/_Metafora_in_M._Bettini_and_W._M._Short_Con_i_Romani_Unantropologia_della_cultura_antica_Bologna_Il_Mulino_pp._330-52_ (full text)
This book chapter introduces the Lakoffian theory of conceptual metaphor as a tool of anthropological analysis. Short proposes a method that begins from the analysis of metaphorical linguistic expressions in order to reconstruct cultural models traceable in Roman society’s symbolic configurations at large – its institutions, beliefs, values, theories, practices, and so forth, including its material artefacts.
Short, W. M. (2013). Getting to the truth: Metaphors of mistakenness in Greek and Latin. Arion, 21(2), 111-140. http://www.academia.edu/2388554/Getting_To_The_Truth_Spatial_Metaphors_of_Trueness_and_Falseness_in_Latin (full text)
This paper compares metaphors of ‘mistakenness’ in Greek and Latin to suggest that Latin’s ‘wandering’ metaphor, as part of a generalised spatial conceptualisation of knowledge, can be distinguished from the (quite circumscribed) Greek metaphor as a kind of ‘covert model’ or ‘hidden ideology’. This model has not only widespread semantic effects, but also recognisable cultural implications, underlying aspects of Latin speakers’ reasoning about – and thus behaviours and practices in respect of – making mistakes.
Short, W. M. (2013). ‘Transmission’ accomplished? Latin’s alimentary metaphors of communication. American Journal of Philology, 134(2), 247–275. http://www.academia.edu/2392184/Transmission_Accomplished_Latins_Alimentary_Metaphors_of_Communication (full text)
This paper describes Latin speakers’ understanding of ‘communication’ as being delivered via a system of alimentary metaphors recruiting images of cooking, serving, eating, and digesting food. More than providing simply colourful ways of speaking about thought and speech, however, these alimentary metaphors are shown to function together to deliver a coherent overall model of how mental representations come to be verbally shared between individuals. While it is not the only metaphorical model available to Latin speakers in conceptualising communication, Short shows that the alimentary model represents a privileged model that regularly informs scholarly and philosophical theorising.
Short, W. M. (2012). A Roman folk model of the mind. Arethusa, 45(1), 109-147. http://www.academia.edu/1247784/A_Roman_Folk_Model_of_the_Mind (full text)
In this paper, Short presents evidence of Latin speakers’ conceptualisation of mental activity in terms of an extensive network of metaphors drawing on images from physical and spatial experience (seeing; moving; dividing, weighing, shaping, and grasping objects), artistic practice (painting, sketching), and so forth, each of which targets the understanding of a different aspect of mental experience (conscious awareness, knowledge states, conceptual elaboration, intellectual judgment). From this evidence Short reconstructs a coherent Roman ‘folk model’ of the mind that motivates and structures certain dimensions of Roman society’s thought and behaviour. In a comparative perspective, he explores how Latin speakers’ ‘preferential conceptualisation’ of mental activity in terms of spatial motion conditions Roman understandings of the literary tradition and of literary imitation.
Short, W. M. (2012). Mercury in the middle: The many meanings of (medius) sermo in Latin. Classical Journal, 108(2), 189-217. http://www.academia.edu/2247086/Mercury_in_the_Middle_The_Many_Meanings_of_Medius_Sermo_in_Latin (full text)
Image schemas do not structure the semantics only of simple prepositions; complex, culturally-situated concepts are also conceived in image-schematic terms. This paper argues that the range of linguistic meanings of the key Roman concept sermo can be explained in terms of the linkage. The same can be said of sermo’s close association with the god Mercury in the Roman cultural imagination. In fact, the equivalence of sermo and Mercury at the level of image-schematic conceptualisation likely motivates the systematic ‘slippage’ of meaning between these signs, as suggested by usages of medius sermo in grammatical jargon, which systematically correspond to aspects of Mercury’s mythic representation. At the same time, this equivalence permits imaginative exploitation of this term in literary contexts, as an analysis of Vergil’s Aeneid shows.
Pagán Cánovas, C. (2011). The genesis of the arrows of love: Diachronic conceptual integration in Greek mythology. American Journal of Philology, 132(4), 553-579. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Cristobal_Canovas/publication/254926617_The_Genesis_of_the_Arrows_of_Love_Diachronic_Conceptual_Integration_in_Greek_Mythology/links/551ceeae0cf2909047bcb307.pdf (full text)
When and how were the arrows of love created? Individual invention has been argued for by classicists; a connection to everyday metaphors has been suggested in cognitive linguistics. Pagán Cánovas propose new cognitive-theoretical tools: the Abstract Cause Personification blend and an emission image-schema. He explains the emergence of Love the Archer in Antiquity through conceptual integration from earlier materials: Apollo the Archer personifying death, erotic emissions in lyric imagery, the link between passion and extreme illness, and possibly the arrows of glance. The embodied, human-scale story of causation that structures the arrows of love has been crucial for their success.
Pagán Cánovas, C. (2010). Erotic emissions in Greek poetry: A generic integration network. Cognitive Semiotics, 6, 7-32. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270018142_Erotic_Emissions_in_Greek_Poetry_A_Generic_Integration_Network (full text)
Uses the network model of Blending Theory to present a conceptual generalisation over several case studies of imagery, belonging to three different periods of Greek love poetry: ancient Greek lyric, medieval folksongs, and two 20th-century poets, Ritsos and Elytis. All these linguistic expressions conceptualise the erotic attraction as an emission event. Variation in the realisation of the pattern crucially relies on assigning the role of the emitter to the loved person or to an external agent, and on selecting a specification for the EMISSION image schema, like light, wind, or an object that is thrown. Culture and context impose further constraints that can be studied systematically.
Budelmann, F. (2010). Bringing together nature and culture: On the uses and limits of cognitive science for the study of performance reception. In E. Hall and S. Harrop (Eds), Theorising performance: Greek drama, cultural history and critical practice (ch. 9). London: Duckworth. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1472519787 (partial preview)
Makes the case for cognitive frameworks in Classical reception studies. Such frameworks add a transhistorical dimension while being able to accommodate cultural variation. The three case studies focus on pain (in Philoctetes), embodied metaphors (in Oedipus at Colonus), and Theory of Mind.
Short, W. M. (2008). Thinking places, placing thoughts: Spatial metaphors of mental activity in Roman culture. Quaderni del Ramo d’Oro, 1, 106-129. http://www.academia.edu/192958/Thinking_Places_Placing_Thoughts_Spatial_Metaphors_of_Mental_Activity_in_Roman_Culture (full text)
Shows that Latin speakers’ conventional ways of speaking about ‘acquiring’, ‘relinquishing’ and ‘having’ ideas in mind is organized not, as in English, through metaphors of physical manipulation, but through metaphors of spatial motion: very specifically, the images motion toward, motion from, and position in a location. But this metaphor system, which centres around the idea that ‘ideas are locations’, is not only an aspect of language in Roman culture. As an analysis of the mnemonic technique of loci in Roman oratorical practice, the senatorial voting procedure of pedibus in sententiam ire, and the augural ritual of inauguratio reveals, the figurative association of ideas and locations actually provided a generalized symbolic framework that motivated a range of non-linguistic behaviours and thus functioned in the sense of what has been called a ‘macrosignified’ in cultural semiotics.
Morality and ethics
Reports an empirical study of audience responses to individual characters in the opening scenes of Antigone and King Lear, measuring identification, moral approval, and attribution. Two different (live) stagings were used of each scene, which attempted to elicit sympathies for different characters.
This paper explores the significance of diverse conceptions of the self for our understanding of the ritual practice of oracular consultation in ancient Greece, focusing primarily on the evidence of the question tablets from the sanctuary at Dodona, augmented by related literary material for oracular consultation. The paper begins with a very brief overview of some of the ways in which conceptions of the self have developed in modern Western thought; it introduces some alternatives to those conceptions (e.g., Marilyn Strathern). It argues that an ancient Greek conception of the self as interdependent may be traced in the evidence for the behaviour of individuals generally in episodes of deliberation and decision making, and specifically in their approach to, and expectations of, oracular sanctuaries.
Budelmann, F. (2018), Lyric minds. In F. Budelmann and T. Phillips (eds.) Textual Events: Performance and the Lyric in Early Greece, pp. 235-56, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Like other forms of lyric, the solo lyric of early Greece creates encounters with another mind. The article attempts to capture the quality of these encounters by drawing on the notion of mentalising. Unlike in Greek epic or drama, where it is typically the – horizontal — interaction between a multiplicity of characters, who may misunderstand or deceive one another, that makes mentalising complex (and thus intriguing), lyric minds attain complexity vertically: we encounter the minds of the speaker in the text, of the performer, and the author. Lyric thus fragments and asks us to reassemble what in ordinary life is one – the flesh-and-blood person before us, the words, and the person from whom the words originate – and thus creates its peculiar blend of immediacy and opacity.
Dilley, P. (2017). Monasteries and the Care of Souls in Late Antique Christianity: Cognition and Discipline, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Studies monastic socialisation and identity formation from the perspective of cognitive studies, including anthropology. The monograph shows how monks gradually acquired a new Theory of Mind, one marked especially by the availability of their thoughts to god, and through god to holy people, as well as the possibility of regulating the mind through a series of embodied practices or ‘cognitive disciplines’. The focus of the book is on coenobitic (communities) monasticism, and it explores how Theory of Mind is connected to various rituals of collective ‘heart-work’ that were practised within them: the evaluation and hazing of postulants, group ceremonies of praise for the founder, and collective repentance of sins.
Grethlein, J. (2015). Is narrative ‘the description of fictional mental functioning’? Heliodorus against Palmer, Zunshine & Co. Style, 49(3), 257-284. http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/20455/9/Style%2049.3_01_manuscript.pdf (full text)
Challenges from a historical perspective concepts that consider the Theory of Mind to be key to our response to narrative. The classical modern novel lends itself to the claims of Palmer, Zunshine, and others on account of its prominent consciousness presentation, but the ancient novel and modern paralittérature cannot be adequately described as ‘the description of fictional mental functioning’. Through an exemplary reading of Heliodorus’ Aithiopika, the essay argues that cognitive narratology should consider, together with fictional minds, the temporal dynamics of narrative. It proposes experience as a concept that embraces the crucial aspect of time as well as consciousness processes. This issue of Style also contains responses to the essay by Palmer, Fludernik, and Ryan (pp. 285-298).
Grethlein, J. (2015). Social minds and narrative time. Collective experience in Thucydides and Heliodorus. Narrative, 23(2), 123-139. http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/20414/1/Social%20minds_manuscript.pdf (full text)
Uses the examples of Thucydides and Heliodorus to show the salience of collective minds in both fictional and factual ancient narratives. Bolstered by tense and other narratological and linguistic features, the presentation of collective responses to the action is an important means of immersing the reader in the narrative. However, the essay suggests using the notion of collective experience instead of collective mind. Neither in Thucydides nor in Helidorus is the presentation of social minds an end in itself; in both it feeds into the temporal dynamics of narrative. While the notion of mind can be static, the idea of experience is inherently dynamic and therefore better suited to capturing the entanglement of character with plot.
Scodel, R. (2015). Sunt lacrimae rerum. Classical Journal, 111(2), 211-239. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5184/classicalj.111.2.0219 (paywall)
While scholars have studied focalisation in the Aeneid, they have given less attention to how characters think about the mental states of other characters. The Aeneid does not often show Theory of Mind as we frequently see it in Homer, where characters speak indirectly but other characters infer their thoughts and feelings. The epic often shows characters who fail to make correct inferences about the mental states of others, or to predict their own future mental states.
Scodel, R. (2012). ἦ and Homeric Theory of Mind. In M. Meier-Brügger (Ed.), Homer, gedeutet durch ein großes Lexikon (pp. 319-334). Berlin: de Gruyter. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=3110292572 (partial preview)
This paper argues that in Homer, the particle ἦ typically asserts a speaker’s confidence in a subjective claim. It is therefore found often in Theory-of-Mind passages in which one character claims understanding about the mental state of another. However, these assertions are sometimes rhetorical and deliberately inaccurate, and sometimes the speakers are simply mistaken about the beliefs of others.
Eidinow, E. (2011). Networks and narratives: A model for Ancient Greek religions. Kernos, 24, 9-38. http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/1890/ (full text)
This paper uses a social network theory to examine the role of individuals in ancient Greek religion. Working with the insights of Harrison White, it argues that individuals in different settings negotiate different identities, creating networks of relationships, through the use of narratives. It suggests that this approach can offer an additional dimension to our understanding of ancient Greek religion–describing it in terms of dynamic, interacting networks–which allows us to take account of coexisting, sometimes overlapping, networks of ritual activities, and the role(s) of the individual within them. The paper uses two case-studies: first, the creation and use of binding spells; second, cults relating to the worship of Dionysus. It argues that this approach may be able to overcome some conceptual difficulties created by the polis religion model, including the much-debated question of the place of particular ‘magical’ practices, and their practitioners.
Meineck, P. (2011). The neuroscience of the tragic mask. Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, 19(1), 113-158. http://www.academia.edu/download/13483993/Meineck2.pdf (full text)
A reappraisal of the emotional and attentional capabilities of the classical Greeks’ tragic mask, which applies studies in neuroscience, facial recognition, and affective science to the existing evidence. Meineck proposes that the mask is far from static or neutral but instead acts as a powerful ‘motor exposure board’ for the projection of various emotional states by the spectators, and that in a large open-air theatre space this kind of mask was essential for the efficacy of ancient drama.
Minchin, E. (2011). ‘Themes’ and ‘mental moulds’: Roger Schank, Malcolm Willcock, and the creation of character in Homer. Classical Quarterly, 61(2), 323-343. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/4CA1C86456DE03D2CBCD84C3D4A3851C/S0009838811000164a.pdf/themes-and-mental-moulds-roger-schank-malcolm-willcock-and-the-creation-of-character-in-homer.pdf (full text)
In this paper Minchin returns to the work of Roger Schank and Robert Abelson, who argued that whereas cognitive scripts allow us to handle routine events, it is our knowledge of plans and goals that plays a central role in our understanding of others’ behaviour and actions. Where do plans and goals originate? Schank and Abelson speculate that the background data which we need to predict an individual’s goal and plans is that package of so-called themes that ‘describe’ him: role themes, interpersonal themes, and life themes. These themes produce goals, which will be addressed in turn by plans, all consistent with the thematic makeup of the individual. This information about an individual’s characteristic behaviour is stored in organised form in long-term memory. This concept of a package of themes (along with related goals and plans) runs parallel with Malcolm Willcock’s concept of ‘mental moulds’: he proposed that the poet retains in memory a ‘pattern’ or ‘theme’ for each of his main characters.
Budelmann, F., and Easterling, P. (2010). Reading minds in Greek tragedy. Greece and Rome, 57, 289-303. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/1CD48DACBB252DB4B0C283DBE2DDF858/S0017383510000033a.pdf/reading-minds-in-greek-tragedy.pdf (full text)
This article introduces Theory of Mind as a tool for analysing the construction of character in Greek tragedy. The play texts stimulate the spectators’ and readers’ propensity to ‘read minds’. They manipulate the same cognitive skills that are fundamental to everyday human interaction, though in their own way. Antigone and the Cassandra scene in Agamemnon serve as case studies.
Scodel, R. (2009). Ignorant narrators in Greek tragedy. In J. Grethlein and A. Rengakos (Eds), Narratology and interpretation (pp. 421-447). Berlin: de Gruyter. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=3110214520 (partial preview)
This paper discusses narrators within tragedy and their awareness, or lack of awareness, of their own limits, particularly in Theory of Mind. This essay is especially concerned with the narratives of the Messenger in Oedipus the King and of Io in Prometheus Bound, where the speakers leave gaps because they do not draw obvious inferences or speculate about causality.