Sunday, June 21, 2015

Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind

Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind by Nikolas Rose and Joelle M.Abi-Rached looks at the development of the neurosciences historically. They stress that a number of technological and conceptual developments in recent years have changed not simply what we know about the brain, but the 'style' with which we think about the brain and its relationship to our personhood. New technologies of visualization [pet scan, fmri] which offer the idea that the nervous system is plastic, and that is capable of change and growth have led to technologies for changing brains. They have also led to a self-help industry focused on brains, 'neurobics.' They suggest that while much has changed, not much has changed. Essentially they argue that the psy disciplines have been re-outfitted as 'neuro' without much being added to our understanding of what matters in human life. While they do take science seriously they offer a wise warning against hype.

     I found their review of developments in the neurosciences helpful for someone like myself, who hasn't been following things too closely. Sharing their views about what we've gotten from the 'psy' industry I was sympathetic to their skepticism about the burgeoning 'neuro' field.


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