Jan Slaby
Freie Universität Berlin
This paper introduces the motivation and idea behind the recently founded interdisciplinary initiative Critical Neuroscience ( ). Critical Neuroscience is an approach that strives to understand, explain, contextualize, and, where called for, critique developments in and around the social, affective, and cognitive neurosciences with the aim to create the competencies needed to responsibly deal with new challenges and concerns emerging in relation to the brain sciences. It addresses scholars in the humanities as well as, importantly, neuroscientific practitioners, policy makers, and the public at large. Does neuroscience indeed have such wide-ranging effects or are we collectively overestimating its impacts at the expense of other important drivers of social and cultural change? Via what channels is neuroscience interacting with contemporary conceptions of selfhood, identity, and well-being? Importantly, Critical Neuroscience strives to make the results of these assessments relevant to scientific practice itself. It aspires to motivate neuroscientists to be involved in the analysis of contextual factors, historical trajectories, conceptual difficulties, and potential consequences in connection to their empirical work. This paper begins to spell out a philosophical foundation for the project by outlining examples of the interaction taking place between the neurosciences and the social and cultural contexts in which they are embedded and by exposing some of the assumptions and argumentative patterns underlying dominant approaches. Recent anthropological work will be discussed to convey a sense of the de facto interactions between neuroscientific knowledge, its promissory projections, and the self-understandings of laypeople. This can be seen as a first step towards a phenomenology of the “seductive allure” that the neurosciences are exerting upon both the academic and the popular imagination. The concept of “critique” relevant to the project's overall orientation is outlined in the final section
Keywords Neuroscience  Critique  Subjectivity  Normativity  Anthropology  Capitalism
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-010-9170-2
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References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Mind, Language and Reality: Philosophical Papers.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Science, Truth, and Democracy.Philip Kitcher - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact.Ludwik Fleck - 1979 - University of Chicago Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Critical Neuroscience and Socially Extended Minds.Jan Slaby & Shaun Gallagher - 2015 - Theory, Culture and Society 32 (1):33-59.
What the Science of Morality Doesn’T Say About Morality.Gabriel Abend - 2013 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (2):157-200.
Taking Stock of Phenomenology Futures.Shaun Gallagher - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (2):304-318.

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