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How Literature Challenges Our Infatuation with Numbers

How Literature Challenges Our Infatuation with Numbers

How has the recent economic crisis challenged our trust in data-driven disciplines such as economics and medicine? In dealing with the problems of our time, what is the value of less quantifiable ways of thinking, such as literature?

In this conversation, Michael Mack, author of Philosophy and Literature in Times of Crisis: Challenging Our Infatuation with Numbers, highlights the ways in which literature can help us to come to terms with issues such as mental illness, encouraging us to recognise how it shapes our humanity beyond the 'objective' medical account. Mack discusses the work of writers such as Sylvia Plath, Jonathan Franzen, and Bernard Malamud, showing how these writers challenge our dangerous infatuation with numbers.

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