June 22, 2012

GNOSIS - Mind and Thinking, Department of Education, Aarhus University (in Copenhagen)


GNOSIS is a research initiative regarding the study of mind and thinking from a philosophical and pedagogical perspective. We aim to track the effects of neuroscientific breakthroughs, considered as an epistemological break. We focus on the consequences for existing scientific fields and aim to point out institutional and disciplinary obstacles to breakthroughs. The aim of the current undertaking is to assess milestones along the road already travelled and on the road ahead.

Our dissemination of research has clearly shown that the technological mapping of the brain and a new neurocentric determinism have but modest substantive and practical effects in the knowledge fields that are affected. The great theoretical expectations are not fulfilled. Properly speaking, the neuroscientific breakthrough is a reinvention of existing forms of knowledge within a special regime.

Neurocentrism is currently expanding but must implode when it becomes clear that mind and thinking are embodied phenomena, that embodied phenomena are embedded, and that the brain can no longer be conceived as mere nature but must also be seen as a historical entity. The brain appears more susceptible to influence and less solid, and with the recognition of the plastic brain as an object and subject of knowledge, new fields, organizations and disciplines become the focus of interest. Social and cultural neuroscience can no longer be conceived as applied neuroscience driven on a natural, biological or technological basis.

But then history repeats itself; all the major questions are back in the arena. GNOSIS – Mind and Thinking aims to make its modest contribution to not let tragedy return as a comedy. We devote June 22 to a Milestones Conference with discussions of the road ahead.


Topics of the afternoon session

Our time possesses and displays great expectations, not only to the neurosciences and the study of the brain, but also to genetics, cognitive sciences and recovery practices. We seem to hunt true knowledge of man.


The mutual topic of the triadic afternoon mini-conference will be how to understand a dominant tendency of our time: man becomes depicted and deciphered between a ‘neurobiologization’ of the humanities and the social sciences and a ‘sociologization’ of the neurosciences. Our primary interest is devoted to knowledge-political perspectives of this ongoing, inevitable, and often productive clash.

We invite you to shed light on this zone of indiscernibility from your specific professional and scientific background. We look forward to listening to thoughts and interpretations, 'springing' at least from philosophy, epistemology, biology, neuroscience, history of ideas, sociology, recovery practices, motivational psychology and biosemiotics.


Program and registration


Comments on content: 
Revised 08.11.2016