Plastic Neuroscience: Studying what the brain cares about

hand-brain

Drawing on Allan Newell’s “You can’t play 20 questions with nature and win,” this article proposes that neuroscience needs to go beyond binary hypothesis testing and design experiments that follow what neurons care about. Examples from Lettvin et. al. are used to demonstrate that one can experimentally play with neurons and generate surprising results. In Continue reading…

Neuroexistentialism

CyborgMouse

[Excerpts:] Parsing the neuronal sensorium is already to dismantle through analysis that which we imagine to be a comprehensive totality. If our sensorium is the sensing package that constitutes our participation in the world, then it follows that this assemblage of sensory inputs defines our boundaries, making the world present to us and by subtraction making Continue reading…

Objective Brains, Prejudicial Images

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Science in Context 12, 1 (1999), pp.173-201 In this article I argue that brain images constructed with computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) are part of a category of “expert images” and are both visually persuasive and also particularly difficult to interpret and understand by non-experts. Following the innovative judicial analogy of “demonstrative Continue reading…

»Introduction to Cultural Anthropology through Debt

Strike Debt

A class for 500 students, 29 sections, 10 Teaching Assistants… any suggestions most appreciated! Objectives: Learn to read social science writing: understand how articles are structured, how data is collected, how arguments are made. Learn to think critically about social science concepts like cultures, practices, performances, economies, friends, family, timings, exchanges, debts, and gifts. Learn Continue reading…

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»Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity

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By showing us the human brain at work, PET (positron emission tomography) scans are subtly–and sometimes not so subtly–transforming how we think about our minds. Picturing Personhood follows this remarkable and expensive technology from the laboratory into the world and back. It examines how PET scans are created and how they are being called on Continue reading…

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»Playing Truths

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Logics of Seeking and the Persistence of the New Age File Here  

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