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A Clearing in the Forest: Law, Life and Mind
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A Clearing in the Forest: Law, Life and Mind (Paperback)

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"There is a virtual revolution going on within the cognitive sciences", writes Steven L. Winter in the preface of this new book. The revolution has irrevocably transformed our basic understanding of the mind, establishing both that imagination is central to cognition and that imagination is an orderly, systematic, embodied process. The implications are profound, changing how we understand language and thought and, therefore, entire debates in philosophy, literary theory and - most significantly - law. Drawing from all these disciplines, as well as from psychology, anthropology and linguistics, Winter has constructed nothing less than a tour de force of interdisciplinary analysis. "A Clearing in the Forest" rests on the simple notion that the better we understand the intricate workings of the mind, the better we will understand all of its products - especially law. Categorization plays a key role in this understanding, for it is categories that define our expectations and, in so doing, shape what we find believable, what we judge accurate, what we experience as cogent, compelling and persuasive. But what does law do when our categories run out?

Is pornographic speech protected by the First Amendment, or should it not be protected because it more closely resembles libel? Should abortion be protected because it falls into the category of rights reserved to the mother, or is it more like the category of harms done to others? Through law, the revolution in cognitive science finds almost limitless applications. In this compelling meditation not only on how the law works, but what it ultimately means, Winter charts a unique course to understanding the world we inhabit, showing us the w

Steven L. Winter is the Walter S. Gibbs Professor of Constitutional Law and director of the Center for Legal Studies at Wayne State University Law School.

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