Invocations of the Muse in Homer and Hesiod : A Cognitive Approach



Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Antichthon
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Muse; Homer; Hesiod; Invocation; Cognitive Science of Religion
Description In this paper, I offer a cognitive analysis of the invocations of the Muse in earliest Greek epic poetry that is based on recent advances in cognitive science in general and the cognitive science of religion in particular. I argue that the Muse-concept most likely originated in a feeling of dependence on an external source of information to provide the singer with the subject matter of their song. This source of information is conceptualised as an ontological type (or template) ‘person’ by means of the hyperactive agency detection, and the Muse’s full access to strategic information, along with other characteristics, establishes her as a minimally counter-intuitive concept (that is to say a concept that conforms to most of our intuitive expectations and runs counter to a few of them), which, in turn, significantly increases the probability of the acquisition and transmission of the Muse-concept within the culture.
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