From experimental interaction to the brain as the epistemic object of neurobiology

Human Studies 32 (2):153 - 181 (2009)
This article argues that understanding everyday practices in neurobiological labs requires us to take into account a variety of different action positions: self-conscious social actors, technical artifacts, conscious organisms, and organisms being merely alive. In order to understand the interactions among such diverse entities, highly differentiated conceptual tools are required. Drawing on the theory of the German philosopher and sociologist Helmuth Plessner, the paper analyzes experimenters as self-conscious social persons who recognize monkeys as conscious organisms. Integrating Plessner’s ideas into the stock of concepts used in science and technology studies provides richer descriptions of laboratory life. In particular, this theory allows an understanding of a crucial feature of neurobiological brain research: the construction of the brain as the epistemic object of brain research. As such, the brain must be isolated from the acting and interacting organism in a complicated process.
Keywords Actor  Brain  Epistemological object  Human-monkey interaction  Plessner  Representation  Second person perspective  Science studies
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,211
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Bruno Latour & Steve Woolgar (1982). Laboratory Life. The Social Construction of Scientific Facts. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 13 (1):166-170.
Bruno Latour (1994). On Technical Mediation. Common Knowledge 3 (2):29-64.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

31 ( #135,562 of 1,935,081 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #196,228 of 1,935,081 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.