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Selves in Turmoil: Neurocognitive and Societal Challenges of the Self

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Abstract:

As the cognitive neurosciences set out to challenge our understanding of consciousness, the existing conceptual panoply of meanings attached to the term remains largely unaccounted for. By way of bibliometric analysis, the following study first reveals the breadth and shift of meanings over the last decades, the main tendency being a more 'brainy' concept of consciousness. On this basis, the emergence of consciousness studies is regarded as a 'trading zone' (Galison) in which experimental, philosophical and experiential accounts are dialectically engaged. Outside of academic discourse, a neurocognitive concept of consciousness is embraced by popular self-help literature that sweepingly adopts this new discourse and the novel neuropharmacological tools in the self-help toolbox. Consciousness studies are hence not only the product of epistemological and methodological struggles (scientific dimension) but also part of the current re-alignments regarding the notion of consciously acting selves in society (societal dimension).

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Basel, Switzerland., Email: Sabine.Maasen@unibas.ch

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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