Netherlands, Nijmegen

Neurophilosophy: Self, Science and Society

when 8 August 2016 - 12 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 400

Neurophilosophy is the relatively young but thriving field of interdisciplinary research, which explores the relevance of recent developments in neuroscience for traditional philosophical questions about human nature. At the same time, it seeks to clarify the methods and results of neuroscience using the conceptual rigour and methods of philosophy. This summer course focuses on four central topics in neurophilosophy:

Cognitive Enhancement: Implications for Self and Personal Identity
Neuroscience increasingly allows us to manipulate and alter brain processes. This form of cognitive enhancement holds great promise but also raises philosophical questions and ethical challenges. Pim Haselager (cognitive neuroscience) will discuss the use of brain stimulation techniques in clinical practice and the court of law. Leon de Bruin (philosophy) will focus on the implications of cognitive enhancement for our common sense notion of self and personal identity.

Levels of Explanation and Folk Psychological Concepts in Neuroscience
Cognitive neuroscience often makes claims about the mind that contradict common sense and psychological vocabulary. Jolien Francken (neuroscience) will demonstrate this contradiction. Marc Slors (philosophy) will then discuss various solutions to the mind-body problem and argue that only positions that abandon a thorough mental realism can deal with the situation. Iris van Rooij (cognitive science) will discuss the problematic nature of the very notion of 'explanation' in cognitive science. Finally, Jeroen Geurts (neuroscience) will respond to these lectures from the viewpoint of clinical neuroscientific studies.

Phenomenological Perspectives on the Self
Phenomenology and neuroscience influence each other in different ways. Julian Kiverstein (philosophy) will elaborate on how phenomenological insights into the experience of self are borne out by neuroscience. Sanneke de Haan (psychiatry) and Erik Rietveld (philosophy) will show how phenomenological analyses of the perception of our environments can be used to analyse changes in experience induced by deep brain stimulation. Finally, Marc Lewis (neuroscience) will explain how neuroscience helps to understand the phenomenology of addictive craving.

Psychiatry and Mental Disorder
Developments in neuroscience can help to further our understanding of mental disorders but also raise the question to what extent mental disorders can be explained in terms of neurobiological processes. Derek Strijbos (psychiatry, philosophy) will deal with the implications of these developments on our understanding of mental disorders, focussing on conceptual questions about causation and levels of explanation. Gerrit Glas (psychiatry, philosophy) will discuss the impact of neuroscience on the psychiatric concept of the self. Finally, Sanneke de Haan (psychiatry) will investigate the tension between neuroscientific and experiential aspects of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Course leader

Dr. Leon de Bruin
Department of Philosophy
Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
Radboud University

Target group

MA students, PhDs, Post-docs, professionals

Course aim

- Ask philosophical questions about the implications of recent neuroscientific developments, in particular in connection with the topics of the course.
- Engage with the literature and the lectures in a productive manner.
- Give a presentation on one of the topics of the course.
- Write a report of two pages on the relevance of the course for their own study or work.

Fee info

EUR 400: Course fee: € 400 - Master's students and PhD candidates.
Course fee: € 600 - Other participants

The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2016.
15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities.
EUR 195: Housing (optional)