To Begin With
To Begin With
The introduction presents the basic question this book seeks to explore: How did the idea that humans are essentially their brains become thinkable? It also positions itself not “against” brain research, but against some of the most extravagant claims of the “neuro.” It explains that although the book does not explicitly explore the biopolitical repercussions of the neurosciences, it is “political” in the general sense that it deals with processes that touch on people’s lives, the constitution of subjectivities, and the distribution of power within societies. The introduction also presents the book’s threefold argument: First, the identification between brain and mind was made possible by early modern scientific and philosophical developments that affected notions of personhood. Second, neuroscientific research did not substantiate the “cerebralization” of personhood either conceptually or empirically; rather, it is an underlying presupposition that dictates the way research is done and its results interpreted. Finally, despite its powerful rhetoric, the cerebralization of personhood is neither necessary nor inevitable.
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