Constituting Neurologic Subjects: Neuroscience, Subjectivity, and the Mundane Significance of the Brain, by Pickersgill, Cunningham-Burley and Martin
The sociologist Martin Pickersgill and his colleagues (2011) investigated how people draw on neuroscience and neuro ideas to articulate self-understanding. [...]
[...] Working with patients suffering from epilepsy, head injury, and dementia as well as with neuroscientists and other professional groups (teachers, counselors, clergy, and foster care workers), they showed that individuals turn their attention to (popular) neuroscience mainly after some kind of neurological event, for example, a brain hemorrhage. This contingent interest, however, does not imply attributing to neuroscience an absolute capacity to define or explain subjectivity. Overall, attitudes are governed by pragmatism and personal relevance; rather than altering notions and practices of the self, neuroscientific concepts “seemed to simply substantiate ideas already held by individuals.” The brain thus emerges “as an object of mundane significance,” which sometimes helps one understand oneself but is “often far from salient to subjective experience” (Pickersgill, Cunningham-Burley, and Martin 2011, 358, 361–362)."
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