Chapter

Hamlet's Machine

Howard Marchitello

in The Machine in the Text

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608058
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729492 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608058.003.0003
Hamlet's Machine

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The point of departure for this chapter is the critique of the loss of experience in modernity—a critique perhaps inaugurated in Shakespeare's play. In Hamlet, experience is destabilized through the collapse of the perceptual body and the traditional epistemology constructed upon the proper functioning of the senses and the mind's ability to fashion knowledge based on sense perception. Confronted with the failure of the perceptual body, Hamlet is left to discover an alternative method for the recuperation of knowledge and action in the world. Hamlet's response is to attempt the recovery of knowledge through a strategic consolidation of experience derived from perception re-deployed within a network of practices and techniques that together render experience artificial and evidential. Hamlet secures a way to knowing through those practices that serve to construct what will become the defining feature of science, the experiment.

Keywords: experience; sense perception; perceptual body; knowledge; Montaigne; modernity; experiment; Aristotelianism; Tycho Brahe; machine

Chapter.  18111 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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