Brain Text, Brain-to-Text, and the Mind Style of Literature

Songlin Wang

Published Date: Aug 31, 2021


Zhenzhao Nie’s ethical literary criticism, specifically his theory of brain text and ethical selection, envisions an innovative and energetic understanding of the psychological and ethical processing of literature in the brain. This is evidenced by a survey of the ontological controversy between dualism and monism and a review of contemporary research in neuroscience, together with an investigation of the concept of brain text. Based on a comparative study of the neurolinguistic and neuroethical approaches and Nie’s theory of brain text, the paper endorses Nie in his proposal of the brain text as the source of literature and his advocating of the teaching function of brain text (and literature). Meanwhile, the paper finds that the fruits of modern neuroscience contribute to Nie’s stance: Brain text is a biological and material form with moral attributes. The idea of brain text coincides well with the findings of neuroscientists who have developed a system called brain-to-text that transforms brain activity into corresponding textual representation and have demonstrated that human behavior can be ethically energized in the strata of the brain. Cognitively, Nie’s theory of brain text can be employed to decode the mind style of a writer, specifically a particular writer’s ethical orientation as embodied in their choice of the order of words and syntax, which consciously and unconsciously represents the writer’s world view.


ethical literary criticism, neurotechnologies, mind-brain interaction, cognitive stylistics

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)