While it is still unclear whether or not Chaucer the poet, Chaucer’s narrator, or a combination of the two actively engage in a proto-cognitive science in the House of Fame and the greater body of Chaucerian dream visions, it is evident that similar questions pertaining to the process of dreaming that are being tackled by modern day cognitive scientists do emerge within the text of this medieval poem.
Chaucer clearly has some level of exposure to models of cognition or at least cognitive understanding and an understanding of the conscious mind. Chaucer also exhibits a knowledge of a wide spectrum of dream theory. The degree to which his understanding may or may not extend is still a point of contention, but his grasp is deep enough for him to develop interesting characters who are able to traverse in and out of a waking and sleeping state, and in and out of real and fantastic worlds. While there is still much to be explored in the House of Fame, one can conclude that cognitive science in some form is not as new a field as many may argue. It is important to take the content of our current conversations and revisit older texts to see if they are illuminated under our new lights.
Perhaps the answers to these questions lie within Chaucer’s House of Fame. Hobson and Hartmann may be pleased to know that the inspiration for their modern day research could be traced as far back as the 14th century, and even further according to Chaucer.