As the cognitive neurosciences set out to challenge our understanding of consciousness, the existing conceptual panoply of meanings attached to the term remains largely unaccounted for. By way of bibliometric analysis, the following study first reveals the breadth and shift of meanings over the last decades, the main tendency being a more 'brainy' concept of consciousness. On this basis, the emergence of consciousness studies is regarded as a 'trading zone' (Galison) in which experimental, philosophical and experiential accounts are dialectically engaged. (...) Outside of academic discourse, a neurocognitive concept of consciousness is embraced by popular self-help literature that sweepingly adopts this new discourse and the novel neuropharmacological tools in the self-help toolbox. Consciousness studies are hence not only the product of epistemological and methodological struggles (scientific dimension) but also part of the current re-alignments regarding the notion of consciously acting selves in society (societal dimension). (shrink)
Currently, the neurosciences challenge the concept of will to be scientifically untenable, specifying that it is our brain rather than our "self" that decides what we want to do. At the same time, we seem to be confronted with increasing possibilities and necessities of free choice in all areas of social life. Based on up-to-date (empirical) research in the social sciences and philosophy, the authors convened in this book address this seeming contradiction: By differentiating the physical, the psychic, and the (...) social realm, the neuroscientific findings can be acknowledged within a comprehensive framework of selves in neoliberal societies. (shrink)
We all know what a voluntary action is - we all think we know when an action is voluntary, and when it is not. Yet, performing and action and defining it are different matters. What counts as an action? When does it begin? Does the conscious desire to perform an action always precede the act? If not, is it really a voluntary action? This is a debate that crosses the boundaries of Philosophy, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Social Science. This book brings (...) together some to the leading thinkers from these disciplines to consider this deep and often puzzling topic. The result is a fascinating and stimulating debate that will challenge our fundamental assumptions about our sense of free-will. (shrink)
This book opens up a new route to the study of knowledge dynamics and the sociology of knowledge. The focus is on the role of metaphors as powerful catalysts and the book dissects their role in the construction of theories of knowledge and will therefore be of vital interest to social and cognitive scientists alike.