Fictions of Human Development: Renaissance Cognitive Philosophy and the Romance

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The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Literature



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Book Chapter

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Spanish literature -- Classical period, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism Self in literature Other (Philosophy) in literature Mind and body in literature Cognition in literature


Fictions of human development are stories that both explore and portray the evolution of the human mind in relation to its physical, social and historical context. They emerge at a time when the understanding and the representation of consciousness are evolving and becoming increasingly complex, regarding both subjectivity and intersubjectivity. Taking Cervantes’s Don Quixote as a prototype, this chapter explores how the notion of human cognitive development is comprehended and expressed through fictional discourses in the Renaissance, discussing (1) the generic affiliation of these fictions, (2) the early modern philosophical ideas that relate to them and to the work of Cervantes and (3) how Cervantes portrays human development through his character Sancho Panza.


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