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Diderot’s body and cognitive science: sensation, impulse and action in performer training
journal contributionposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Rea DennisRea Dennis, L Lewis
This essay places Diderot's materialist philosophy articulated in Paradox of the Actor in the late Nineteenth century, alongside emerging thinking from neurobiology. Taking Diderot’s pursuit for the recognition acting as an art as a point of departure, it reflects on the labour of the actor as awareness within multiple cognitions: impulse, sensation, and action. The discussion maps various examples including Stanislavsky in the early 1900s through to contemporary more regulated techniques like Susana Bloch’s Alba Emoting method and Phillip Zarrilli’s psychophysical approach. It considers the language of neuroscience in explicating the nuances of technique in acting and proposes that good acting requires a mastery of self at a neural level.