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Neuropolitics: Thinking, Culture, Speed

William E. Connolly
Volume: 23
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    By taking up recent research in neuroscience to explore the way brain activity is influenced by cultural conditions and stimuli such as film technique, Connolly is able to fashion a new perspective on our attempts to negotiate—and thrive—within a deeply pluralized society whose culture and economy continue to quicken.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9409-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xv)
  4. ONE The Body/Brain/Culture Network
    (pp. xvi-21)

    My first mission in this study is to explore the critical role that technique and discipline play in thinking, ethics, and politics, and to do so in a way that accentuates the creative and compositional dimensions of thinking. By thecreative dimensionI mean the opaque process by which new ideas, concepts, and judgments bubble into being; by thecompositional dimensionI mean the way in which thinking helps to shape and consolidate brain connections, corporeal dispositions, habits, and sensibilities. Some theories, themselves products of arduous thought, ironically depreciate the activity in which the theorists are invested: they reduce thinking...

  5. TWO The Color of Perception
    (pp. 22-49)

    In an intriguing essay, Samuel Weber discusses the effects of television on perception. He notes a difference, recorded in ordinary language, between perceiving things in everyday life and “watching television.” The latter locution expresses awareness of how television news programs relay perceptions to us already organized by other people, institutions, and instruments. Television predigests what we watch. In this it is like photography and film, but

    what distinguishes television from these other media is its power to combine such separation with the presentness associated with sense perception. What television transmits is not so muchimages, as is almost always argued....

  6. THREE Nature, Affect, Thinking . . .
    (pp. 50-79)

    Every conception of culture, identity, ethics, or thinking contains an image of nature. And the relation goes the other way too. Even the most adamant realist in, say, engineering presupposes a cultural conception of how scientific cognition proceeds. To adopt the correspondence model of truth, for instance, is to act as if human capacities for cognition can be brought into close correspondence with the way of the world separate from those capacities. Nietzsche would say that such a realism preserves the remains of an old theology.¹ Its operational assumption, first, that the worldhasa deep, complete structure and, second,...

  7. FOUR Techniques of Thought and Micropolitics
    (pp. 80-113)

    The naturalism of lucretius has long seemed too crude and perplexing to muster serious support. It construes the smallest constituents of nature to move so fast and chaotically that they cannot become objects of perception or precise explanation; ittreats the mind to be made up of material of the same type—although not the same capacity—as the rest of the body, or animus; it links thinking to the instabilities of sense experience; it locates the mind in the middle region of the breast rather than the head; it has difficulty making sense of free will and responsibility, even while...

  8. FIVE Memory Traces, Mystical States, and Deep Pluralism
    (pp. 114-139)

    It seems simple. Because life is riddled with mystery and uncertainty, an existential faith may encounter paradoxes that call its claim to universality into question. So a dictum becomes tempting: wherever mystery and freedom meet, a variety of faiths bubble up; wherever, therefore, people prize freedom they will support a significant presumption in favor of honoring that variety. Many give preliminary consent to such a dictum. But it quickly runs into difficulties. Christians have often insisted that because their faith is universal it must be sanctioned by public ethics in the states or civilizations they inhabit. Secularists, while praising religious...

  9. SIX Democracy and Time
    (pp. 140-175)

    In a brilliant little essay titled “What Time Is It?” Sheldon Wolin contends that the homogeneous, slow time appropriate to a democratic politics of place has been overwhelmed by several “zones of time” moving at different tempos.¹ “Economy” and “culture” now move at a breakneck pace, due to changes in the infrastructure of transportation, communication, and entertainment. The effects on democratic deliberation are pernicious:

    Starkly put, political time is out of synch with the temporalities, rhythms, and pace governing economy and culture. Political time, especially in societies with pretensions to democracy, requires an element of leisure, not in the sense...

  10. SEVEN Eccentric Flows and Cosmopolitan Culture
    (pp. 176-202)

    Sheldon wolin seeks to save local democracy by slowing down time. Paul Virilio lifts the issue of speed into the ether of global politics itself. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Virilio to exploration of the effects of speed upon the late-modern condition. Everybody who engages the issue is indebted to him, even when they disagree with him profoundly. When speed accelerates, Virilio says, space is compressed. And everything else changes too: the ability to deliberate before going to war; the priority of civilian control over the military; the integrity of the territorial politics of place; the...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 203-216)
  12. Index
    (pp. 217-221)