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[Related Event] The 39th Tokyo Colloquium of Cognitive Philosophy (TCCP)

16:00-18:00, Sunday, February 10, 2013
Room 710, Bld 14, The University of Tokyo, Komaba

Department of History and Philosophy of Science will hold the 39th Tokyo Colloquium of Cognitive Philosophy. Everyone is welcome.

*This time, please be careful of the date and time. Since it will be Sunday, the building will be closed and one of our students will be waiting at the entrance to let you in. So, please do not be late.

Date & Time: February 10th (Sun), 2013, 16:00-18:00
Venue: the 14th Building, Room 710 on the 7th floor, Komaba Campus

Presenter: Kai-Yuan Cheng (Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan)

Title: Brainhood, Personal Identity, and Culture

Neuroscience has rapidly emerged in the past few decades as a most prominent discipline in the inquiry of uncovering the perennial question of what it is to be a person, and when suitably elaborated, a self. Brainhood—the quality or condition of being a brain—has thus become the focus of contemporary neuro-scientific study of the self. This paper has three parts. In part I, I will lay out two research paradigms of brainhood: one is to treat a brain as a complete and isolable item that defines the essence of an individual person (Macperson, 1962; Ehrenberg, 2008; etc.), and another is to construe a brain as being essentially inalienable from social and cultural elements in its constitution (Ambady and Bharucha, 2009; Kitayama and Tompson, 2010; etc.). In part II, I will show that these two research paradigms of the brain correspond to two philosophical conceptions of personal identity—one rooted in Locke (1690) and elaborated by Parfit (1984) and another developed by Johnston (2010). In part III, I will address some of the significances and implications of this preliminary work. In particular, I hope to show how we may bring cultural factors such as being situated in a Daoist or Buddhist tradition into the neuroscientific study of human brain and behavior in a legitimate and productive way.

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