The sciences of cognition, going back to the early days of the Artificial Intelligence movement in the 1950s, were typically viewed with profound suspicion or distaste by thinkers, Marxist and other, for whom the embeddedness of human beings in the symbolic realm of representations and values was a sine qua non condition of any legitimate theory - whether ethical, political, metaphysical. Attempts to locate mind and action within the natural world studied by the natural sciences, in this case by neuroscience, were viewed as at best conceptual justifications for de-humanizing, secret military projects. The fact that in recent years the sciences of cognition have had a 'social turn' ("social cognition", "social neuroscience," "affective neuroscience", "collective intentionality" and so forth) does little to assuage the fears of the engagé, anti-naturalist thinker. In contrast, I propose a historic-philosophical reconstruction of a 'Spinozist' tradition which locates the brain within the broader network of relations, including social relations. This tradition runs from Spinoza to Marx and Lev Vygotski in the early 20th century, and on to Toni Negri and Paolo Virno in recent European philosophy, as a new perspective on the brain. The concept of social brain that is articulated in this reconstruction - some early-20th century Soviet neuropsychologists spoke of the "socialist cortex" - overcomes distinctions between Continental thought and the philosophy of mind (and its ancillary, cognitive science), and possibly gives a new metaphysical framework for social cognition.

The Social Brain: a Spinozist Reconstruction

Charles Wolfe
2010

Abstract

The sciences of cognition, going back to the early days of the Artificial Intelligence movement in the 1950s, were typically viewed with profound suspicion or distaste by thinkers, Marxist and other, for whom the embeddedness of human beings in the symbolic realm of representations and values was a sine qua non condition of any legitimate theory - whether ethical, political, metaphysical. Attempts to locate mind and action within the natural world studied by the natural sciences, in this case by neuroscience, were viewed as at best conceptual justifications for de-humanizing, secret military projects. The fact that in recent years the sciences of cognition have had a 'social turn' ("social cognition", "social neuroscience," "affective neuroscience", "collective intentionality" and so forth) does little to assuage the fears of the engagé, anti-naturalist thinker. In contrast, I propose a historic-philosophical reconstruction of a 'Spinozist' tradition which locates the brain within the broader network of relations, including social relations. This tradition runs from Spinoza to Marx and Lev Vygotski in the early 20th century, and on to Toni Negri and Paolo Virno in recent European philosophy, as a new perspective on the brain. The concept of social brain that is articulated in this reconstruction - some early-20th century Soviet neuropsychologists spoke of the "socialist cortex" - overcomes distinctions between Continental thought and the philosophy of mind (and its ancillary, cognitive science), and possibly gives a new metaphysical framework for social cognition.
Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
cw-Social Brain ASCS 2009.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Accesso gratuito (solo visione)
Dimensione 247.19 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
247.19 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in ARCA sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3719600
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact