A Woman Looking At Men Looking At Women upends notion of the superiority of scientific truths over artistic ones
An excerpt from the Boston Globe correspondent Wendy Smith's book review: "The great enemy of thought and creativity is the received idea," Siri Hustvedt writes, and woe to the lazy purveyor of unexamined “truths’’ who comes under her sharp scrutiny in this stimulating essay collection. It doesn’t matter who they are or what their credentials are; well-known sociobiologist E.O. Wilson and evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker, both Harvard professors, are among those whose glib certainties she coolly dismantles. Hustvedt, a superb novelist who is also a lecturer in psychiatry at Cornell University’s Weill medical school, is unintimidated. When a neuroscientist at a 2011 conference proclaimed, "Artistic truths . . . are inevitably ‘squishy.’ Scientific truth, on the other hand, is hard, tough, verifiable, and rigorous," Hustvedt shot back, "And often muddled by dubious epistemological assumptions."