Spring 2014

Hedonistic psychology – the attribution of human motivation to aversion to pain and attraction to pleasure – has a long history, stretching from Thomas Hobbes to B. F. Skinner, and beyond. Starting from contemporary investigations of the psychology of appetite, addiction, and reward, this talk will ask what we might learn from the history of the science of pain and pleasure. 

Are we our brains? Or, more precisely: how and in what contexts have the claims that “we are our brains” or that “the mind is what the brain does” become naturalized to the point they have by the first decade of the 21st century?  

Around the year 2000, a massive conceptual mutation occurred in the neuronal sciences. After the brain had been a chemical, synaptic organ for almost half a century, a new way of thinking and knowing the nervous system emerged –– a biological and cellular way that Tobias Rees would like to call “after neurochemistry.”  

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