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The Human Sciences after the Decade of the Brain - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128042052, 9780128042601

The Human Sciences after the Decade of the Brain

1st Edition

Editors: Jon Leefmann Elisabeth Hildt
Paperback ISBN: 9780128042052
eBook ISBN: 9780128042601
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 9th February 2017
Page Count: 320
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The Human Sciences after the Decade of the Brain brings together exciting new works that address today’s key challenges for a mutual interaction between cognitive neuroscience and the social sciences and humanities. Taking up the methodological and conceptual problems of choosing a neuroscience approach to disciplines such as philosophy, history, ethics and education, the book deepens discussions on a range of epistemological, historical, and sociological questions about the "neuro-turn" in the new millennium. The book’s three sections focus on (i) epistemological questions posed by neurobiologically informed approaches to philosophy and history, (ii) neuroscience’s influence on explanations for social and moral behavior, and (iii) the consequences of the neuro-turn in diverse sectors of social life such as science, education, film, and human self-understanding.

This book is an important resource both for students and scholars of cognitive neuroscience and biological psychology interested in the philosophical, ethical, and societal influences of—and on—their work as well as for students and scholars from the social sciences and humanities interested in neuroscience.

Key Features

  • Explores the recent influence of neuroscience on the humanities and social sciences and how they respond to these influences
  • Offers in-depth analysis of the theoretical and practical influence of a brain-centered scientific view in diverse areas of the social sciences including economics, education, cultural studies, and philosophy
  • Investigates contributions of the history of science to scrutinizing current neuroscience–based approaches to social and moral behavior


Researchers and advanced students in neuroscience, psychology, and related disciplines interested in the ethical, philosophical, societal, and legal implications of neuroscience; researchers and advanced students from philosophy, sociology, and related disciplines interested in the impact of neuroscience on research in their fields

Table of Contents

Part I: Prospects and Limitations of Neuroscience Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Chapter 1. Neurophilosophy or Philosophy of Neuroscience? What Neuroscience and Philosophy Can and Cannot Do for Each Other

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • What is the Philosophy of Neuroscience?
  • Neurophilosophy: How to Combine Neuroscientific Findings with Philosophical Theory
  • Neurophilosophy in Action: Personal Identity and Memory Research
  • What Neuroscience and Philosophy Can and Cannot Do for Each Other
  • References

Chapter 2. Philosophical Puzzles Evade Empirical Evidence: Some Thoughts and Clarifications Regarding the Relation Between Brain Sciences and Philosophy of Mind

  • Abstract
  • Philosophy-to-Science: Ethics, Logic, Terminology, and Clarity
  • Science-to-Philosophy: Can Scientific Data Settle Philosophical Debates?
  • Conclusion
  • References

Chapter 3. “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Neuroscience?” Neuroscience’s Impact on Our Notions of Self and Free Will

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The Promises and Perils of Neuroscience
  • The Selves of Neuroscience and Our Selves
  • Conclusion
  • References

Chapter 4. Free Will—Between Philosophy and Neuroscience

  • Abstract
  • Free Will and Philosophy
  • Free Will and Neuroscience—Libet’s Approach
  • Free Will and Neuroscience—Tse’s Approach
  • Conclusions and Further Research
  • References

Chapter 5. Histories of the Brain: Toward a Critical Interaction of the Humanities and Neurosciences

  • Abstract
  • On the History of Neurosciences, the Old-Fashioned Way
  • On Neurohistory, or on Making History After the Neuro-turn
  • Toward a Critical History of the Neuro-turn, or “Plasticity and its Discontents”
  • References

Part II: The Neurosciences of Social Sciences and Ethics

Chapter 6. The Theory of Brain-Sign: A New Model of Brain Operation

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Background on Brain-Sign Theory
  • An Overview of Brain-Sign Theory
  • Some Notes on Neural Functioning
  • The Human Sciences after Brain-Sign Theory
  • References

Chapter 7. On the Redundancies of “Social Agency”

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • There Is No Such Thing as Social Agency
  • Potential Criticisms
  • Empirical Evidence for Agency and Against Social Agency
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

Chapter 8. Two Kinds of Reverse Inference in Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Location-Based Reverse Inference
  • LRI: General Problems and Limitations
  • Pattern-Based Reverse Inference
  • Conclusion
  • References

Chapter 9. The Neuroscience of Ethics Beyond the Is-Ought Orthodoxy: The Example of the Dual Process Theory of Moral Judgment

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Part One: Is-Ought Orthodoxy
  • Part Two: Neuroscience of Ethics Beyond the “Is-Ought” Problem
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

Part III: The Neurosciences in Society. Social, Cultural, and Ethical Implications of the Neuro-Turn

Chapter 10. Effects of the Neuro-Turn: The Neural Network as a Paradigm for Human Self-Understanding

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The Neuro-Turn in the Sciences
  • New Self-Concepts and Their Ontological Underpinnings
  • Computing Life
  • Representations of the Neural Net in Cinematic Narratives
  • Closing Remarks
  • References

Chapter 11. Brain, Art, Salvation. On the Traditional Character of the Neuro-Hype

  • Abstract
  • Introduction: Some Theses about the Character of Neurologization
  • Incorrect Use of Language and the Academic Criticism Thereof
  • Invading Society: Neuro-Art for Instance
  • Neuro-Philosophy and its Metaphysics
  • Neurologization and the European Search for Salvation
  • On Applied Ethics and the Background of the Given Interpretations
  • References

Chapter 12. “A Mind Plague on Both Your Houses”: Imagining the Impact of the Neuro-Turn on the Neurosciences

  • Abstract
  • Setting the Stage: Definitions and Scope
  • Case Study: 2012–13 Backlash
  • Case Study: An Open Letter to the Human Brain Project
  • What’s at Stake and for Whom? Translation, Reputation, and Marketability
  • References

Chapter 13. Being a Good External Frontal Lobe: Parenting Teenage Brains

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Teen Brain Plasticity and the Maturing Prefrontal Cortex Thesis
  • Acting as an External Frontal Lobe: Two Moral Repertoires of Parenting Teenage Brains
  • Parenting Turmoil: The Teenage Brain and Ideals of Good Parenting
  • Conclusion: Popular Neuroscience as Ethics Through Different Means
  • References

Chapter 14. Toward Neuroscience Literacy?—Theoretical and Practical Considerations

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Considerations on the Conceptualization of Neuroscience Literacy
  • An Educational Gap
  • Considering Teachers’ Literacy
  • Science Education in Biology Classrooms Through “Everyday Myths”
  • Conclusion
  • References

Chapter 15. “Strangers” in Neuroscientific Research

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The Human Brain Project
  • Challenges
  • Addressing the Challenges
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

Chapter 16. At the Push of a Button, Narrative Strategies and the Image of Deep Brain Stimulation

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Putting DBS in Place
  • “At the Push of a Button”: Switching DBS on and Off for Observation
  • The Metaphorical Meanings of On and Off
  • A Good Story Needs a Plot Point
  • “And This Works, Like That, Instantly”
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References


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© Academic Press 2017
9th February 2017
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Editors

Jon Leefmann

Jon Leefmann is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Applied Ethics and Science Communication (ZIEW) at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. His research and teaching focusses primarily on philosophical, ethical and social implications of neuroscience research and on issues in social epistemology such as epistemic trust and knowledge from testimony. He is the author of one book (in German) and several articles on the ethics of cognitive enhancement. Before taking up the position in Erlangen he was a research fellow with the Research Group on Neuroethics and Neurophilosophy at the University of Mainz, Germany, where he worked on the impact of neuro-cognitive-sciences on contemporary research on the humanities and on contemporary culture. He has wide ranging philosophical and non-philosophical interests, but feels most at home in Ethics, Applied Ethics, and Epistemology.

Affiliations and Expertise

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Applied Ethics and Science Communication (ZIEW), Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.

Elisabeth Hildt

Elisabeth Hildt is professor of philosophy and director of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at Illinois Institute of Technology, where her research focuses on philosophical and ethical issues in neuroscience, most significantly the field of cognitive enhancement. Her previous appointments include scientific coordinator of the interdisciplinary project European Network for Biomedical Ethics and assistant professor at the Chair for Ethics in the Life Sciences at the University of Tübingen. Prior to moving to the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2014, she spent six years as the head of the Research Group on Neuroethics/Neurophilosophy at the University of Mainz. She serves on the editorial board of PLOS ONE and the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience (AJOB Neuroscience). She has authored and edited twelve other books on neuroethics and biomedical ethics, and is the author of 70 articles on the subject.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Philosophy and Director, Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA

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