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Plasticity and PathologyOn the Formation of the Neural Subject$
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David Bates and Nima Bassiri

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823266135

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823266135.001.0001

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Plastic Diagrams

Plastic Diagrams

Circuits in the Brain and How They Got There

(p.219) 8 Plastic Diagrams
Plasticity and Pathology

Joseph Dumit

Fordham University Press

Flowcharts have long been used by researchers to represent the circuits that purportedly make up our brain. This chapter presents a genealogy of these diagrams, inquiring into where these practices of drawing circuits that melded brain, mind, and computer came from, and how they changed along the way. The evolution of diagrams is an extremely useful indicator of conceptual change, of agreement on the framing of problems, and of units of thought, theorizing, and experimentation. By following their theoretical and practical entailments within and across disciplines, we can better understand the importance of both visual and metaphorical studies in the history of science and technology. By concentrating on the actual changes in diagrammatic practices of flowcharts and their semiotic use in publications, we can track how they often cement and reify the mutual implication of computers and brains.

Keywords:   human brain, flowcharts, diagrams, computers, brain circuits

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