What's on archive 2010
Seminar: Why the History of the Human Sciences Matters to Medicine01 Dec 2010, 18:00-19:00, Old Anatomy Theatre, K6.29, King's Building, Strand Campus
Event series: Centre for the Humanities and Health Research Seminars
School / area: Arts & Humanities
Department: Centre for the Humanities and Health
Location: Strand Campus
Location map: Strand: detail
Speaker: Reader Roger Smith
Speaker institution: Lancaster University
Contemporary language ties ‘human nature’ to biology, especially to the evolutionary history of the brain, and this appears to make knowledge a matter of discovering ‘the facts’. Once we know normal nature, medical researchers presume, we will be in a position to control illness.
‘Human nature’, however, may not be such a definable and empirically discoverable thing. First, any way of thinking about nature adopts presuppositions which are not empirical but stem from our purposes in seeking knowledge. Second, there are ways of thinking about human nature, now characteristic of the humanities, which understand it in linguistic, historical and cultural, not biological, terms. Third, belief about human nature has a ‘looping’ effect on that nature, that is, changes human nature: there is a sense in which we live in a world of our own creation.
In this talk, I will make these points and illustrate them from the history of argument about whether there is free will. This argument has much relevance to understanding relations between scientific medicine and forms of therapy which are not ‘scientific’.
No RSVP necessary; all welcome.
For more information contact Ben Chisnall or visit the Centre for the Humanities and Health Website.
Contact name: Ben Chisnall
Tel: 020 7848 1405
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