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Neuroeconomics, neuromarketing, neuroaesthetics, and neurotheology are just a few of the novel disciplines that have been inspired by a combination of ancient knowledge together with recent discoveries about how the human brain works. The mass media are full of news items featuring colour photos of the brain, that show us the precise location in which a certain thought or emotion, or even love occurs, hence leading us to believe that we can directly observe, withno mediation, the brain at work. But is this really so? This fascinating, accessible, and thought provoking new book questions our obsession with brain imaging. Written by two highly experienced psychologists, it discusses some of the familiar ideas usually associated wtih mind-body,
What can’t neuroscience tell us about ourselves? Since fMRI--functional magnetic resonance imaging--was introduced in the early 1990s, brain scans have been used to help politicians understand and manipulate voters, determine guilt in court cases, and make sense of everything from musical aptitude to romantic love. But although brain scans and other neurotechnologies have provided groundbreaking insights into the workings of the human brain, the increasingly fashionable idea that they are the most important means of answering the enduring mysteries of psychology is misguided--and potentially dangerous. In Brainwashed, psychiatrist and AEI scholar Sally Satel and psychologist Scott O. Lilienfeld reveal how many of the real-world applications of human neuroscience gloss over its limitations and intricacies, at times obscuring--rather than clarifying--the myriad factors that shape our behavior and identities. Brain scans, Satel and Lilienfeld show, are useful but often ambiguous representations of a highly complex system. Each region of the brain participates in a host of experiences and interacts with other regions, so seeing one area light up on an fMRI in response to a stimulus doesn’t automatically indicate a particular sensation or capture the higher cognitive functions that come from those interactions. The narrow focus on the brain’s physical processes also assumes that our subjective experiences can be explained away by biology alone. As Satel and Lilienfeld explain, this "neurocentric” view of the mind risks undermining our most deeply held ideas about selfhood, free will, and personal responsibility, putting us at risk of making harmful mistakes, whether in the courtroom, interrogation room, or addiction treatment clinic. A provocative account of our obsession with neuroscience, Brainwashed brilliantly illuminates what contemporary neuroscience and brain imaging can and cannot tell us about ourselves, providing a much-needed reminder about the many factors that make us who we are.
Challenging the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution, Shepherd argues that this sense, which constitutes the main component of flavor, is far more powerful and essential than previously believed. --from publisher description
The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such. Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. InMind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic. In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.
The brain sciences are influencing our understanding of human behavior as never before, from neuropsychiatry and neuroeconomics to neurotheology and neuroaesthetics. Many now believe that the brain is what makes us human, and it seems that neuroscientists are poised to become the new experts in the management of human conduct. Neuro describes the key developments--theoretical, technological, economic, and biopolitical--that have enabled the neurosciences to gain such traction outside the laboratory. It explores the ways neurobiological conceptions of personhood are influencing everything from child rearing to criminal justice, and are transforming the ways we "know ourselves" as human beings. In this emerging neuro-ontology, we are not "determined" by our neurobiology: on the contrary, it appears that we can and should seek to improve ourselves by understanding and acting on our brains. Neuro examines the implications of this emerging trend, weighing the promises against the perils, and evaluating some widely held concerns about a neurobiological "colonization" of the social and human sciences. Despite identifying many exaggerated claims and premature promises, Neuro argues that the openness provided by the new styles of thought taking shape in neuroscience, with its contemporary conceptions of the neuromolecular, plastic, and social brain, could make possible a new and productive engagement between the social and brain sciences. Copyright note: Reproduction, including downloading of Joan Miro works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience brings together multi-disciplinary scholars from around the world to explore key social, historical and philosophical studies of neuroscience, and to analyze the socio-cultural implications of recent advances in the field. This text’s original, interdisciplinary approach explores the creative potential for engaging experimental neuroscience with social studies of neuroscience while furthering the dialogue between neuroscience and the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities. Critical Neuroscience transcends traditional skepticism, introducing novel ideas about ‘how to be critical’ in and about science.
Interdisciplinarity has become as important outside academia as within. Academics, policy makers, and the general public seek insights to help organize the vast amounts of knowledge being produced, both within research and at all levels of education. The second edition of The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity offers a thorough update of this major reference work, summarizing the latest advances within the field of inter- and transdisciplinarity. The collection is distinguished by its breadth of coverage, with chapters written by leading experts from multiple networks and organizations. The volume is edited by respected interdisciplinary scholars and supported by a prestigious advisory board to ensure the highest quality and breadth of coverage. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity provides a synoptic overview of the current state of interdisciplinary research, education, administration and management, and of problem solving-knowledge that spans the disciplines and interdisciplinary fields. The volume negotiates the space between the academic community and society at large. Offering the most broad-based account of inter- and transdisciplinarity to date, its 47 chapters provide a snapshot of the state of knowledge integration as interdisciplinarity approaches its century mark. This second edition expands its coverage to discuss the emergence of new fields, the increase of interdisciplinary approaches within traditional disciplines and professions, new integrative approaches to education and training, the widening international presence of interdisciplinarity, its increased support in funding agencies and science-policy bodies, and the formation of several new international associations associated with interdisciplinarity. This reference book will be a valuable addition to academic libraries worldwide, important reading for members of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities engaged in interdisciplinary research and education, and helpful for administrators and policy makers seeking to improve the use of knowledge in society.