Publications | Publications récentes (2017-2018)

Being Brains

Being Brains

Making the Cerebral Subject

Fernando Vidal and Francisco Ortega
New York,  Fordham University Press,  [2017], 304 p.
Prix : 60$

Being Brains offers a critical exploration of one of the most influential and pervasive contemporary beliefs: “We are our brains.” Starting in the “Decade of the Brain” of the 1990s, “neurocentrism” became widespread in most Western and many non-Western societies. Formidable advances, especially in neuroimaging, have bolstered this “neurocentrism” in the eyes of the public and political authorities, helping to justify increased funding for the brain sciences.

The human sciences have also taken the “neural turn,” and subspecialties in fields such as anthropology, aesthetics, education, history, law, sociology, and theology have grown and professionalized at record speed. At the same time, the development of dubious but successful commercial enterprises such as “neuromarketing and “neurobics” have emerged to take advantage of the heightened sensitivity to all things neuro. Skeptics have only recently begun to react to the hype, invoking warnings of neuromythology, neurotrash, neuromania, and neuromadness.

While this neurocentric view of human subjectivity is neither hegemonic nor monolithic, it embodies a powerful ideology that is at the heart of some of today’s most important philosophical, ethical, scientific, and political debates.
Being Brains critically explores the internal logic of such ideology, its genealogy, and its main contemporary incarnations.

Fernando Vidal is Research Professor of ICREA (The Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies), Professor at the Center for the History of Science, Autonomous University of Barcelona, and partner member of the Centre Alexandre-Koyré.

Francisco Ortega is Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro and Research Coordinator of the Rio Center for Global Health at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

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