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
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DOI 10.2307/40270687
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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.

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