From Brain Research to Neurocultures

Spring 2011 – Eugene Lang College, New York

LANT 2020 A – Tu/Th 8:00 – 9:40 am

Course description

Since U.S. President George H. W. Bush had announced the 1990s as the “Decade of the Brain,” neuroscientists, philosophers, bioethicists, and journalists have incessantly proclaimed and warned against the emergence of a new neuroscientifically informed image of humankind confronting us with unprecedented ethical challenges. The seminar will explore a laboratory science and its cultural ramifications from a historical, social scientific, and philosophical perspective. We will discuss questions such as: What does it mean to identify persons with their brains? What new forms of sociality have emerged around cerebral conceptions of the self? How are the humanities currently being transformed by brain research? And how are we to respond to this latest wave of naturalism? The course will enable students to critically reflect on these topics and to assess the significance of brain research for the conduct of our lives.