1st Edition

Essays on Neuroscience and Political Theory Thinking the Body Politic

Edited By F. Vander Valk Copyright 2012
    304 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    304 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The past 20 years have seen increasingly bold claims emanating from the field of neuroscience. Advances in medical imaging, brain modelling, and interdisciplinary cognitive science have forced us to reconsider the nature of social, cultural, and political activities. This collection of essays is the first to explore the relationship between neuroscience and political theory, with a view to examining what connections can be made and which claims represent a bridge too far.

    The book is divided into three parts:

    • Part I: places neuroscience as a social and political practice into historical context
    • Part II: weaves together the insights from contemporary neuroscience with the wisdom of major figures in the history of political thought
    • Part III: considers how neuroscience can inform contemporary debates about a range of issues in political theory

    This work brings together scholars who are sceptical about the possibility of integrating neuroscience and political theory with proponents of a neuroscience-informed approach to thinking about political and social life. The result is a timely and wide-ranging collection of essays about the role that our brain might play in the life of the body politic. It should be essential reading for all those with an interest in the cutting edge of political theory.

    Introduction  Part I: History and Concepts  1. On the Growing Intellectual Authority of Neuroscience for Political and Moral Theory: Sketch for a Genealogy Maurizio Meloni  2. Neuroscience as Applied Hermenutics: Towards a Critical Neuroscience of Political Theory Jan Slaby, Philipp Haueis and Suparna Choudhury  3. Descartes on Moral Judgement and the Poeer of the Passions Patricia Easton  4. Unpacking Emotional Baggage in Political Inquiry John G. Gunnell  Part II: Neuroscience and Political Thinkers  5. Brain Sculpting as Moral Practice: A Neuro-Aristotelian Approach Leslie Paul Thiele  6. Hobbes, Prudence and Neuroscienve: Early Modern Strategies for Negotiating Contemporary Subjecctivity James Martel  7. Think Big: Toward a Grand Neuropolitics - or, Why I am Not An Immanent Naturalist or Vital Materialis Adrian Johnston  8. The Neuropolitical Habitus of Resonant Receptive Democracy Romand Coles  Part III: Issues in Neuroscience and Political Theory  9. Does Deliberation Make You Angry? Neuroscience and Theories of Deliberative Democracy Marlene Sokolon  10. Bounded Mirroring: Joint Action and Group Membership in Political Theory and Cognitive Neuroscience Machiel Keestra  11. The Extension of Political Subjectivity Frank Vander Valk  12. The Challenge of Gender Research in Neuroscience Emily Ngubia Kuria


    Frank Vander Valk is Associate Professor of Political Science and Western Civilization at the State University of New York, Empire State College. His research interests include political friendship, the philosophy of social science, and Catholic social thought.