IMF

Acting on the Immoral Brain – Historical Perspectives on the Interplay of Knowledge, Order, and Action

Seminari a càrrec de: Felix Schirmann (Universitat de Groningen)

Organitza: Departament d'Història de la Ciència de la Institució Milà i Fontanals

Data: divendres, 14 de febrer de 2014

Lloc: Aula Gran, Institució Milá i Fontanals (IMF)
(c/Egipcíaques 15, 08001 Barcelona)

Hora: 12-13:30h

Resum:
Scientists have been trying to research the cerebral underpinnings of immorality since the 19th century. Criminal anthropologists studied misdemeanants' bodies, anatomists tried to locate moral centers in the brain, and alienists' searched for hereditary causes for misbehavior. This scientific quest did not happen in a vacuum. In several historical contexts, notions of corporeal or cerebral immorality have triggered therapeutic interventions on immoral persons' brains and have disseminated into socio-political discourse thereby shaping mental health as well as penal policy. Thus, the brain science of immorality provides an instructive example for the interplay of scientific knowledge, medico-legal order, and therapeutic action. In this talk, I will discuss three pertinent examples: the discourse on the biology of moral insanity in the German-speaking countries before 1900, the British Mental Deficiency Act of 1913, and the psychosurgery debates around the middle of the 20th century.

Felix Schirmann is a PhD Candidate at the department for Theory and History of Psychology. He studied psychology in Berlin and Vienna with an emphasis on theory, methodology, and philosophy of psychology. Currently, he pursues his PhD Thesis on the history of the neuroscience of morality. Homepage: http://www.rug.nl/staff/f.schirmann/

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