Abendvortrag von Prof. Michael Hagner – "Meister Floh and the Puzzling Art of Mindreading"
Mind reading is usually associated with extra-sensory perception or charlatanry. In contrast, brain imaging is all but irrational. Looking inside the head of a living human being without opening the skull is regarded as a respectable biomedical technology. In his lecture, Michael Hagner will show that since the nineteenth century the idea of mind reading was closely related to the emergence of visualizing technologies such as photography, X-ray, electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance tomography. Mind reading has been thematized on the borderline of science and fiction, and this ambivalent status gave way to epistemological considerations about the relationship of the mind and the brain. Whether or not the "reading" of neuronal activity can lead to a full understanding of thoughts or of mental imaginations, is an open and controversially debated issue. In recent publications on neuro-imaging, there is an obvious tendency of confusing brain states and mental states. This phenomenon is not only due to conceptual confusion, it also reflects the utopian desire of mind reading, which has its origins in the nineteenth century.
Michael Hagner ist Professor für Wissenschaftsforschung an der ETH Zürich.
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