Critical Neuroscience: Challenging Reductionism in Psychiatry and Social Neuroscience

(co-sponsored by UCLA, McGill University, and Neuroscience in Context)

January 28-29, 2009 (workshop) | January 30, 2009 (conference)

In January 2009, the FPR and McGill University co-hosted a two-day multidisciplinary workshop organized by members of the interdisciplinary Critical Neuroscience project. Participants included neuroscientist Steven Rose, cultural psychiatrist Laurence Kirmayer, philosopher Evan Thompson, and historian Cornelius Bork.

The purpose of the critical neuroscience workshop was to consider non-reductionistic ways of studying the role of the brain in cognition and psychiatric theories that can integrate insights from anthropology, history of science, transcultural psychiatry, philosophy, and sociology. The goal of critical neuroscience (“critical” denotes reflexivity) is to develop a more integrative approach to understanding brain and behavior “that attends to the context and experience of the person, as well as the processes, dispositions, and plasticity of the brain.”

A public conference was held on the last day of the 3-day program, featuring talks by Steven Rose (“Why the Mind is Wider than the Brain”), Allan Young (“The Social Brain, Empathy, and Sociopathy”), and Laurence Kirmayer (“Critical Neuroscience and Cultural Psychiatry”), followed by a panel discussion, “Critical Neuroscience, Neurophenomenology, and the Future of Psychiatry.”

List of Participants

Cornelius Borck (Universität zu Lübeck, Germany)
Joel Braslow (UCLA)
Elizabeth Bromley (UCLA)
Carole Browner (UCLA, FPR)
Marie-Françoise Chesselet (UCLA, FPR)
Joan Chiao (Northwestern University)
Suparna Choudhury (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Germany)
Simon Cohn (Cambridge University)
Constance Cummings (FPR)
Joseph Dumit (UC Davis)
Shaun Gallagher (University of Central Florida)
Ian Gold (McGill University)
Martin Hartmann (Institut für Sozialforschung, Germany)
Douglas Hollan (UCLA)
Laurence Kirmayer (McGill University)
Robert Lemelson (UCLA, FPR)
Steven López (USC, FPR)
Saskia Nagel (University of Osnabrueck, Germany)
Eugene Raikhel (McGill University)
Amir Raz (McGill University)
Steven Rose (The Open University)
Jan Slaby (Philipps University Marburg, Germany)
Evan Thompson (University of Toronto)
Allan Young (McGill University)