It is hard to escape the brain these days-everywhere one turns, one encounters brain-scan images, claims about the neural basis of various human behaviors, and whole new subdisciplines based on the application of neuroscientiﬁc ideas or techniques to traditional domains of enquiry —as in “neurolinguistics,” “neurophilosophy,” and “neuroeconomics.” Another such emergent ﬁeld of inquiry is “neuroaesthetics,” which seeks to illuminate our understanding of aesthetics by examining the brain processes and structures upon which aesthetic experience appears to depend. Among those neuroscientists who have been plowing this furrow, Semir Zeki and V. S. Ramachandran-both eminent in their own ﬁeldshave attracted the most attention. Zeki is known for his arguments concerning object constancy (our ability to perceive the integrity of objects, in spite of changes of angle, lighting, distance, and so on), visual abstraction (visual experiences of colors and forms, rather than of objects per se), and what the visual arts can tell us about these phenomena; Ramachandran caused a stir with his proposed eight “laws” of artistic experience.1 Many other researchers are at work in what is consolidating itself as a research
program. All of these developments have taken place against the backdrop of, or are constitutive of, the gradual move from “cognitive science” to “cognitive neuroscience,” a shift expressive of the changing self-under - standing of the broader domain of inquiry.