When Explanations Rest

Chronic Fatigue CFS 4

“Good-Enough” Brain Science and the New Socio-Medical Disorders. Published in in Living and Working with the New Biomedical Technologies: Intersections of Inquiry, eds. Margaret Lock, Allan Young and Alberto Cambrosio. Explanations come to an end somewhere. – Wittgenstein Wittgenstein’s opening to Philosophical Investigations points to a funda­ mental crisis in scientific and medical research: When is there enough Continue reading…

Cyborg Babies

CyborgBabies

From Techno-sex to Techno-tots Edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Joseph Dumit (Routledge, Aug 1998) From fetuses scanned ultrasonically to computer hackers in daycare, contemporary children are increasingly rendered cyborg by their immersion in technoculture. As we are faced with reproductive choices connected directly with technologies, we often have trouble gaining perspective on our own cultural 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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»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…

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