Research report 2009 - Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
The Cerebral Subject: Brain and Self in History and Contemporary Culture
Ideale und Praktiken der Rationalität (Prof. Dr. Lorraine Daston)
MPI für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin
SummaryA project at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science studies the history and contemporary forms of the “cerebral subject“ – an anthropological figure according to which the brain is the only part of the body we need in order to be ourselves. Rooted in philosophical and scientific developments of the late 17th century, the cerebral subject has become since the mid-20th century a major form of thinking and practicing personhood in industrialized and highly medicalized societies.