Neuroplasticity as an Ecology of Mind A Conversation with Gregory Bateson and Catherine Malabou

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Abstract:

Neuroplasticity research marks a considerable shift in focus from localization theories of the brain to more holistic, or systemsoriented, theories of the body-brain-environment interrelation. In What Should We Do with Our Brain?, philosopher Catherine Malabou calls attention to the political significance of neuroplasticity for engaging questions of agency and accountability. This paper addressesMalabou's ethical concerns by way of anthropologist Gregory Bateson's ecological view of human agency. By redefining the individual mind as an ecological 'tangle', Bateson's perspectives offer an important provocation, namely, a re-examination of the conventional parameters that bound the mind or the brain as a localized entity or that bound the mind or the brain as a property of an individual entity. This paper brings together Malabou and Bateson's views on agency and consciousness.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: florence.chiew@unsw.edu.au

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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