Revisiting the neuro-turn in the humanities and natural sciences

  • David Budtz Pedersen University of Copenhagen


In the last twenty years there has been an unprecedented advance in neuroscience, infields such as pharmacology, neurology and behavioural genetics. A growing number of ethicists, legal scholars and philosophers have begun to analyse the implications of these advances; from the use off MRI scanning to the way in which scientific disciplines are organised in order to deliver techno-economic innovation. Drawing on recent contributions in philosophy of science and science policy studies I arguethat much like the optimism surrounding the benefit of advances in pharmaco genomics and gene therapy, there is a risk of overstating the real impact and explanatory power of advances in the neurosciences.


ASHCROFT, R., & MARTIN, P. (2005), What is Neuroethics? Report on Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Summer School, Oxford, 26-29 September 2005 (

AUSTIN, J. L. (1975), How to do Things with Words, Second Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

AVADIKYAN et al. (COHENDET and HERAUD) (ed. 2003), The Economic Dynamics of Fuel Cell Technologies, Springer Verlag Berlin.

BANDURA, A. (2008), «Reconstrual of free will from the agentic perspective of social cognitive theory». In: J. BAER, J. C. KAUFMAN & R. F. BAUMEISTER (eds.), Are we free?: Psychology and free will, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 86-127.

BARNES, B.; BLOOR, D., & HENRY, J. (1996), Scientific Knowledge A Sociological Analysis, Athlone.

BENNETT, M., & HACKER, P. M. S. (2003), Philosophical foundations of neuroscience, Blackwell.

BORUP, M., et al. (BROWN, N.; KONRAD, K., & LENTE, H. V.) (2006), «The sociology of expectations in science and technology», Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 18/3: 285-298.

BROWN, N.,& MICHAEL, M. (2003), «A Sociology of Expectations: Retrospecting Prospects and Prospecting Retrospects», Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 15/1: pp. 3-18.

BUDTZ PEDERSEN, D. (2011), «A new start for the humanities is required for the 21st century», Danish Yearbook of Philosophy, Vol. 44, No. 1, forthcoming.

BURGE, T. (2010), «A Real Science of Mind», New York Times (, The Opinion Pages, December 19, 2010.

CARO, M. D., & MACARTHUR, D. (2006), Naturalism in Question, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

CHUBIN, D., & HACKETT, E. (1990), Peerless Science: Peer Review and U.S. Science Policy, Albany NY: State University of New York Press.

COLLIN, F. (2011), Science Studies as Naturalized Philosophy, Synthese Library, Dordrecht: Springer.

CORDERO, A. (2008), «Pluralism, Scientific Values, and the Value of Science». In: AGAZZI, E., & MINAZZI, F. (eds.), Science and Ethics: The Axiological Context of Science, Brussels, Peter Lang: 101-116.

CRICK, F., & KOCH, C. (1990), «Toward a Neurobiological Theory of Consciousness», Seminars in the Neurosciences, 2:263-275.

DENNETT, D. (1995), Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, NY: Touchtone.

DOWNES, S. (1992), «The importance of models in theorizing: a deflationary semantic view». In: HULL, D.; FORBES, M., & OKRUHLIK, K. (eds.), PSA 1992, Philosophy of Science Association: 142-153.

DUPRÉ, J. (2001), Human Nature and the Limits of Science, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

— (2006), «The Disunity of Science». In: NEWALL, P. (ed.), Galilean Library ( Retrieved September 1, 2010.

ELGER, C. E., et al. (A. D. FRIEDERICHI, C. KOCH, H. LUHMANN, C. MALSBURG, R. MENZEL, H. MONYER, F. RÖSLER, G. ROTH, H. SCHEICH & W. SINGER) (2004), «The Manifesto», Brain and Mind, 6: 30-37.

FAYE, J. (2007), «The pragmatic-rhetorical theory of explanation», Rethinking Explanation, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 252: 43-68.

— (2012), After Postmodernism: A Naturalistic Reconstruction of the Humanities, Palgrave.

FELT, U. (2007), Taking European Knowledge Society Seriously, European Commission: Brussels.

GERRANS, P. (2009), «Bubble trouble», Times Higher Education (, 9 July 2009.

GIERE, R. N. (1999), Science Without Laws, Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.

— (2010), «An agent-based conception of models and scientific representation», Synthese, 171: 269-281.

GODFREY-SMITH, P. (2006), «The strategy of model-based science», Biol Philos, 21: 725-740.

GOLDMAN, A. I. (1999), Knowledge in a Social World, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

HAALSTEN, H. (2007), «What to ask of an explanation theory», Rethinking Explanation, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 252: 13-26.

HABERMAS, J. (2007), «The Language Game of Responsible Agency and the Problem of Free Will», Philosophical Explorations, 10/1: 13-50.

HEDGECOE, A., & MARTIN, P. (2003), «The Drugs Don’t Work: Expectations and the Shaping of Pharmacogenetics», Social Studies of Science, 33/3: 327-364.

HOLTZMAN, N. A., & MARTEAU, T. M. (2000), «Will genetics revolutionize medicine?», New England

Journal of Medicine, 343: 141-144.

HORST, M. (2007), «Public Expectations of Gene Therapy», Science, Technology, & Human Values, 32/2: 150-171.

HUMPHREY, N. (2011), Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness, Quercus Publishing Plc.

IRZIK, G. (2009), «Why Should Philosophers of Science Pay Attention to the Commercialization of Science?», EPSA Epistemology and Methodology of Science, 129-139.

KITCHER, P. (1990), «The Division of Cognitive Labor», The Journal of Philosophy, 87/1: 5-22.

— (2001), Science, Truth, and Democracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

LANDES, X.; ANDERSEN, M. M., & NIELSEN, M. E. J. (2011), «On Academia and Sea Elephants», International Institute for Asian Studies, 57: 41.

LAUDEL, G. (2006), «The art of getting funded: how scientists adapt to their funding conditions», Science and Public Policy, 33/7: 489-504.

LENTE, H. V., & BAKKER, S. (2010)), «Competing expectations: the case of hydrogen storage technologies», Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 22(6): 693-709.

LENTE, H. V., & RIP, A. (1998), «The rise of membrane technology: from rhetorics to social reality», Social Studies of Science, 28(2): 221-254.

LEVIDOW, L., & MARRIS, C. (2001), «Science and Governance in Europe: lessons from the case of agbiotech», Science and Public Policy, 28(5): 345-60.

MCDOWELL, J. (2004), «Naturalism in the Philosophy of Mind». In: CARO, M. D., & MACARTHUR, D. (eds.), Naturalism in Question, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 91-105.

NORDMANN, A. (2004), Converging Technologies. Shaping the Future of European Societies, Luxembourg: European Commission.

PALCHIK, G. (2009), «Conference Report: Neuroscience & the Nature of Being», Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, 4:9.

PAUWELS, E. (2009), The Value of Science and Technology Studies (STS) to Sustainability Research in Europe, unpublished.

PSILLOS, S. (2007), «Causal Explanation and Manipulation», Rethinking Explanation, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 252: 97-112.

PUTNAM, H. (2002), The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

RACINE, E.; BAR-ILAN, O., & ILLES, J. (2006), «Brain Imaging: A Decade of Coverage in the Print Media», Science Communication, 28 (1): 122-143.

RADDER, R. (ed.) (2010), The Commodification of Academic Research. Science and the modern university, Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

RAMACHANDRAN, V. S. (2001), «Mirror Neurons and Imitation Learning as the Driving Force Behind The Great Leap Forward in Human Evolution»,

RIP, A. (2009), «Futures of ELSA», EMBO Reports, 10(7): 666-670.

ROBINSON, M. (2010), The Privatization of Neuroscience: The University, The State and the Moral Aims of Science,, Wednesday, November 10, 2010 (retrieved 11 January 2011).

ROHRLICH, F. (2001), «Cognitive Scientific Realism», Philosophy of Science, 68(2): 185-202.

SCHNEIDER, T. (2010), Neurosociety. What is it with the brain these days?, Retrieved 16 April 2011 from

SISMONDO, S., & CHRISMAN, N. (2000), «Deflationary Metaphysics and the Natures of Maps», Philosophy of Science, 68(3): S38-S49.

STERELNY (1998), «Reductionism in the philosophy of mind». In: CRAIG, E. (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, London: Routledge.

STILGOE, J. (2011), «A question of intent», Nature Climate Change, 1(1): 325-26.

TALLIS, R. (2011a), Apeing Mankind, Durham: Acumen Publishing.

— (2011b), «A mind of one’s own», The New Statesman, Published 24 February 2011 (

TRAVIS, G. D. L.,& COLLINS, H. M. (1991): «New light on old boys: cognitive and institutional particularism in the peer review system», Science, Technology and Human Values, 16(3): 322-341.

VAN DER MEULEN, B. (2008), «Interfering governance and emerging centres of control». In: WHITLEY, R., & GLÄSER, J. (eds.), The Changing Governance of the Sciences: The Advent of Research Evaluation Systems, Dordrecht: Springer: 191-204.

WEINGART, P. (2009), «On Best Practice Rules of Publishing and Their Erosion», Minerva, 47:237-239.

WESSELY, SIMON (1998): «Peer review of grant applications: what do we know?», Lancet, 352(9124): 301-305.

WILSON, E. O. (1998), Consilience: The Unity of Science, New York: Knopf Publishers.

Cómo citar
Budtz Pedersen, D. (1). Revisiting the neuro-turn in the humanities and natural sciences. Pensamiento. Revista De Investigación E Información Filosófica, 67(254 S.Esp), 767-786. Recuperado a partir de