Radical Doubt and the Creative Process: A Mobius Strip for Artists and Scientists

The entwined forces of creativity and doubt may be as pivotal in the sciences as they are in the arts. Since the sciences and the arts are not mutually exclusive human enterprises but, rather, resonating forms of perception and representation, the distinction between them might be replaced by the distinction between those scientists and artists who tolerate or appreciate doubt and those who try to banish it.
  • Rita Charon, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Centre and Executive Director, Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University
    Coach House, Green College, UBC

    Tuesday, April 5, 5-6:30 pm, reception to follow
    in the series
    Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor
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  • Art begins in radical doubt. There would be no work of art without a surrender to the dark unknown. When Bach and Henry James and Van Gogh brave the doubt, they emerge not with its resolution but with an account of having existed within it. The Well-Tempered Clavier, The Wings of the Dove, and “Starry Night” expose the peril of the journey through chaos to form, the works of art themselves proof of what has, for the first time, been perceived. Not report but discovery, the works show to the maker and the beholder what has been revealed. The artists’ creativity is both what allows them to brave the doubt and what equips them to report what they there find, while the doubt is perhaps a siren for the creativity in the first place.

    The entwined forces of creativity and doubt may be as pivotal in the sciences as they are in the arts. Since the sciences and the arts are not mutually exclusive human enterprises but, rather, resonating forms of perception and representation, the distinction between them might be replaced by the distinction between those scientists and artists who tolerate or appreciate doubt and those who try to banish it. Although the “machinery” of science—NIH applications, renewal schedules, publication needs—might militate against entertaining questions far from the shores of the known, a creative science poised to share the arts’ radical doubt may launch another Kuhnian revolution in the ways in which we wonder about, perceive, and report back on our world. C.P. Snow may finally be proven wrong.
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  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.

 

When
April 5th, 2016 5:00 PM   through   6:30 PM
Location
Piano Lounge
6201 Cecil Green Park Road
Green College, UBC
Vancouver, BC V6T1Z1
Canada
Contact
Phone: 604-822-8660
Email:
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Speaker Series Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor
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Speaker (new) Rita Charon, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Centre and Executive Director, Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University
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Speaker Affiliation Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Centre and Executive Director, Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University
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