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

18th October 2017, 13:00 to 14:00, School of Education, Room ED 134

Dr Emma Williams, Warwick University will deliver this public seminar. She 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, Dr Williams 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, she 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, she would also like to extend the critique of neuroscience by demonstrating the metaphysical signification of Hacker’s linguistic challenge. To do this Dr Williams will appeal to certain Wittgensteinian and Heideggerian arguments. Wittgenstein and Heidegger, She 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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