1st Edition

Literature, Social Wisdom, and Global Justice Developing Systems Thinking through Literary Study

By Mark Bracher Copyright 2022
    216 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book responds to the pressing and increasingly recognized need to cultivate social wisdom for addressing major problems confronting humanity. Connecting literary studies with some of the biggest questions confronted by researchers and students today, the book provides a practical approach to thinking through, and potentially solving, global problems such as poverty, inequality, crime, war, racism, classism, environmental decline, and climate change.

    Bracher argues that solving such problems requires “systems thinking” and that literary study is an excellent way to develop the four key cognitive functions of which systems thinking is composed, which are causal analysis, prospection/strategic planning, social cognition, and metacognition.

    Drawing on evidence-based learning theory, as well as the latest research on systems thinking and its four cognitive functions, the book provides a comprehensive and detailed explanation of how these advanced thinking skills can be developed through literary study, illustrating the process with numerous examples from major works of literature.

    In explaining the nature and importance of these thinking skills and the ability of literary study to develop them, this book will be of value to literature teachers and students from introductory to advanced levels, and to anyone looking to develop better problem-solving and decision-making skills.


    Chapter One: Systems Thinking as the Core of Social Wisdom

    Chapter Two: How to Educate for Wisdom: Developing Mental Models of Causality

    Chapter Three: Developing Mental Models of Causality by Reading Literature

    Chapter Four: Principles of a Wisdom-Cultivating Literary Pedagogy

    Chapter Five: Faulty Causal Analysis and Its Harmful Consequences

    Chapter Six: Causal Analysis I: Proximal, Distal, and Root Causes of Problems

    Chapter Seven: Causal Analysis II: System Openness and Dynamism

    Chapter Eight: Causal Analysis III: Causal Loops

    Chapter Nine: Faulty Prospection and its Harmful Consequences

    Chapter Ten: Developing Adequate Prospection

    Chapter Eleven: Social Cognition I: Situational Causes of Behavior and Life Outcomes

    Chapter Twelve: Social Cognition II: Environmental Causes of Character

    Chapter Thirteen: Social Cognition III: Human Nature as a Root Cause of Character

    Chapter Fourteen: Metacognition: Developing an Accurate Mental Model of Oneself


    Mark Bracher is Professor of English and Director of the Neurocognitive Research Program for the Advancement of the Humanities (NRPAH) at Kent State University, USA. He has published widely on literary study as a means of promoting personal well-being and social justice.