Asya A. Filatova

Don State Technical University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia


Today, neuroscience is undoubtedly at the focus of close public attention and interest. It is associated with the greatest hopes, but also arouses the inner most fears. Neuroscience has become a challenge not only for practical fields such as medicine or pharmacology but for all of the human sciences. Representatives of leading trends in social sciences and humanities have entered the discussion about the possible benefits and threats related to the rapid growth of knowledge in neuroscience. The neuro-turn has become aconceptual framework in which the neuro-centric style of thinking sets the regimen of truth. The article presents a cartography of the space of epistemological solutions proposed by social theory and philosophy in response to the active expansion of neuroscience. Above all, the article explicates the internal mechanics of the critical program — which is based on the logic of “strong explanation” — symmetrically implemented both by critical social theory and neuroscientists. Within the framework of post-critical approaches making a case for replacing the logic of exposure with other epistemological strategies, alternatives to “barbaric criticism” in sociology and philosophy are proposed. In particular, we consider Wittgensteinian sociology which implements a methodology of clarification of the conceptual confusions that arise in neuroscience studies,as well as B. Latour’s actor-network theory and K. Barad’s agential realism proposing to abandon, on principled grounds, basic binary oppositions such as culture/nature, social/biological, and cerebral/symbolic in favour of the notions of “network” and “onto-epistemological entanglement”.

Keywords: neuroscience, neuro-turn, neurocentrism, critical theory, Wittgensteinian sociology of science, actor-network theory, agential realism