What Should We Do with Our Brain?
Hence there is a thin line between the organization of the nervous system and the political and social organization that both conditions and is conditioned by human experience. Looking carefully at contemporary neuroscience, it is hard not to notice that the new way of talking about the brain mirrors the management discourse of the neo-liberal capitalist world in which we now live, with its talk of decentralization, networks, and flexibility. Consciously or unconsciously, science cannot but echo the world in which it takes place.
In the neo-liberal world, "plasticity" can be equated with "flexibility"-a term that has become a buzzword in economics and management theory. The plastic brain would thus represent just another style of power, which, although less centralized, is still a means of control.
In this book, Catherine Malabou develops a second, more radical meaning for plasticity. Not only does plasticity allow our brains to adapt to existing circumstances, it opens a margin of freedom to intervene, to change those very circumstances. Such an understanding opens up a newly transformative aspect of the neurosciences.
In insisting on this proximity between the neurosciences and the social sciences, Malabou applies to the brain Marx's well-known phrase about history: people make their own brains, but they do not know it. This book is a summons to such knowledge.
- Paperback | 120 pages
- 140 x 210 x 8.89mm | 149.69g
- 15 Oct 2008
- Fordham University Press
- New York, United States
Other books in this series
01 Jan 2001
01 Dec 2020
01 Oct 2012
"The mind is a mirror; a projector; a computer; an economy; it is a self-creating ecology, a wheat field blown by a correspondent breeze. Catherine Malabou appreciates the power of a fast-branching metaphor, but she also knows that we are the ones who possess the minds that make the metaphors. Malabou, instead of offering yet another application of research on the brain to yet another sub-discipline, offers a perspective. Instead of rigid determinism, she looks at plasticity, the ability of brains to adapt, to sculpt forms, to embody history, but also to undo past formations, at times explosively. Instead of finding reasons to go on mindlessly accumulating, connecting, and distributing, Malabou hints at what history might become if we are able, as a society, to step back from our necessary but flawed metaphors and become conscious of the brain. -- -Joseph Tabbi * author of Cognitive Fictions *
About Catherine Malabou
His most recent book in English is Motor Cognition: What Actions Tell the Self.