1 “The Social Brain,” rsa Action and Research Centre (Royal Society for the
Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce),
/action- research- centre/learning,- cognition- and- creativity/social- brain, accessed
August 1, 2014.
2 An exception, it should be noted, was in the clinic, where neurologists chron-
icled the effects of brain lesions. Their tales of patients like Phineas Gage, a
railroad worker in the nineteenth century whose frontal lobe injury reportedly
left him with a radically transformed personality, were cited to illustrate brain
localization, but they also gestured more broadly to the neurobiological under-
pinnings of the psyche. In recent years stories of Gage and other patients in the
annals of neurology have been reprised through the explosion of neuroculture
(Macmillan 2002; Sacks 1995).
3 I am referring here to the European Union funded Human Brain Project, which
has a budget of $1 billion, and to the National Institutes of Health’s $100 million
brain Initiative. These initiatives were announced in 2013.
4 This is, Rose and Abi- Rached argue, specific to “advanced liberal democracies.”
5 Rose (2006) argues that the individual is not reduced to her neurobiology, nor
is she subjected to neuroscientific norms. Even as she is increasingly called on to
think of herself in neural terms, she is not expected to conform to any singular
conception of the brain or cognition. She is aligned with new, emergent brain
ontologies made possible in part through biotechnological and pharmaceutical
interventions, rather than with eugenic ideas of the normal and the patholog-
ical. For Rose, the openness of the neurobiological body to new and emergent
forms of life releases us from the ethical and political worries of the eugenic era.
This begs the question, though, of what new norms are invoked and what new
pressures arise. What kind of brain or brains can or should one have? What
models of neurocognition will be proposed and achieved? What conceptions of
sociality? And how will these entangle with bodies, literally shape and reshape
them (Mol 2002)?
6 See Gallese 2001, 2009, 2014; Iacoboni 2009; Iacoboni et al. 2005; and chapter 3,
where I compare this paradigm with other ways of interpreting mirror neurons.
7 Although they do not always recognize their work in such terms, when they
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