Reading the Human Brain: How the Mind Became Legible

Body and Society 22 (2):140-177 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The human body was made legible long ago. But what of the human mind? Is it possible to ‘read’ the mind, for one human being to know what another is thinking or feeling, their beliefs and intentions. And if I can read your mind, how about others – could our authorities, in the criminal justice system or the security services? Some developments in contemporary neuroscience suggest the answer to this question is ‘yes’. While philosophers continue to debate the mind-brain problem, a range of novel technologies of brain imaging have been used to argue that specific mental states, and even specific thoughts, can be identified by characteristic patterns of brain activation; this has led some to propose their use in practices ranging from lie detection and security screening to the assessment of brain activity in persons in persistent vegetative states. This article reviews the history of these developments, sketches their scientific and technical bases, considers some of the epistemological and ontological mutations involved, explores the ecological niches where they have found a hospitable environment, and considers some implications of this materialization of the readable, knowable, transparent mind.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,215

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Can Brain Imaging Breach Our Mental Privacy?Amihud Gilead - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (2):275-291.
How to read minds.Tim Bayne - 2012 - In Sarah Richmond, Geraint Rees & Sarah J. L. Edwards (eds.), I Know What You're Thinking: Brain Imaging and Mental Privacy. Oxford University Press. pp. 41.
The Brain--A Mediating Organ.Thomas Fuchs - 2011 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (7-8):7-8.
The Mind/Brain Identity Theory.Jjc Smart - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Brain reading.John-Dylan Haynes - 2012 - In Sarah Richmond, Geraint Rees & Sarah J. L. Edwards (eds.), I Know What You're Thinking: Brain Imaging and Mental Privacy. Oxford University Press. pp. 29.
Brain reading! Decoding mental states from brain activity in humans.Iohn-Dylan Haynes - 2011 - In Judy Illes & Barbara J. Sahakian (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 1.
Quantum Metaphors and the Study of the Mind-Brain.Delores D. Liston - 1998 - The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 29:228-234.
Ecology of the Brain: The Phenomenology and Biology of the Embodied Mind.Thomas Fuchs - 2017 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
How/why the mind-body problem is hard.S. Harnad - 2000 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):54-61.
Mind-brain puzzle versus mind-physical world identity.David A. Booth - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (3):348-349.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-11-25

Downloads
3 (#1,314,415)

6 months
1 (#449,220)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?