Edelstein Colloquium 2016-2017
26.4.2017, At the Edelstein Center 20:00
Fernando Vidal, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
The History of the “Cerebral Subject” as History of the Present
Abstract: One of the most widespread and tenacious commonplaces since the late 20th century claims that human beings are essentially their brains, and that neuroscience is capable of providing the clue to the vast spectrum of human behavior, including the most complex manifestations of culture. It thus offers a view of humans as “cerebral subjects.” This talk will explore how doing the history of such a view necessarily turns out to be akin to what Michel Foucault called “history of the present,” i.e. not only a narrative about the past that is valuable because it illuminates the present, but a practice that critically engages the present and self-consciously takes place within a field of power relations.