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Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


Research Seminar: Out of Our Minds: Hacker, Heidegger and Wittgenstein contra Neuroscience

18th October 2017, 13:00 to 14:00, ED 134, Dr Emma Williams, Centre for Education Studies, University of Warwick

In this paper, I will critically explore the vexed question of whether education should be interested in neuroscience. While there have been claims that neuroscience has a ‘fundamental and increasing relevance’ to education, I will seek to argue that there are limits to what brain science can offer to research and practice in the field of education. To make the case for this, I shall initially draw upon ordinary language philosopher Peter Hacker’s exposition of ‘neuro-mystifications’: the mistaken ascription of psychological concepts to the human brain. Hacker’s main challenge to the neuroscientist can be summarised in the following way: brains don’t think, human beings do. However, I should also like to extend the critique of neuroscience by demonstrating the metaphysical signification of Hacker’s linguistic challenge. To do this I shall appeal to certain Wittgensteinian and Heideggerian arguments. Wittgenstein and Heidegger, I will argue, move us toward a holistic picture of human thinking – one that is richer than the neuroscientific account, and should itself be of more interest to the field of education.

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