Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg


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Dr. Hans Zillmann

Hans Zillmann

Hans Zillmann

PhD Student of the Graduate School 2014-16

1st Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Matthias Kaufmann
2nd Supervisor: apl. Prof. Dr. Robert Schnepf
Mentor: Dr. James M. Thompson

Understandig the Subject: Philosophical and neuroscientific aspects

The attempt of the neuroscientific description of the Subject is one of the most actual scientific discourses and the philsophy has the chance and ability to participate profitable. In this attempt cultural terms as ‘autonomy’ and ‘free will’ are targeted by an reductionist physicalism. There are different strategies pursued by the humanites to respond to the validity claimed by the neuroscience. In this case with my project I try to adopt a position between the poles of scientism and dualism or metaphysics.

With reference to the philosophies of Dilthey, Foucault and Cassirer I develop a epistemologically acount and contextualize the neuroscientific research of the human mind at two levels: The object of research (the brain or mind) and the research are effected in several ways. On the one hand there are ethnological aspects of an description. On the other hand the research is impacted by theoretical assumptions. It seems necessary to analyse both in a scientific-theoretical way.

Against this backdrop I analyse three selectet approaches (1. Network Theory / P. Churchland, 2. Dynamic-Core-Hypothesis / G.Edelmann and G.Tononi, 3. Theory of Mind / A Damasio) and illustrate the two-level thesis of contextualism. .

My main focus lies on the understanding of the Subject and the theoretical assumptions of the approaches. This could guide to a better understanding of the possibilites and limits of the neuroscientific research.