Lecture series on history of the human mind

On behalf of HHH members Marie Van Haaster and Timo Houtekamer.

The History of Science and Medicine Working Group at the European University Institute, Florence, is hosting a hybrid lecture series on the history of the human mind.

The next talks are as follows:

8 February 13.30-15.00: Mattia della Rocca (Università di Roma Tor Vergata):
Environment and Information: What is Alive and What is Dead in J.J. Gibson Ecological Theory of Perception.

Mattia Della Rocca will discuss James J. Gibson’s The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception from 1979. Through the analysis of Gibson’s book, Mattia Della Rocca will present his work in progress about the historical evolution of psychology and cognitive science. In the past two decades, historians and philosophers of psychiatry and psychology have been using a definition of the mind as “embodied cognition”. The epistemic entitlements of this “enactive turn” are to be understood alongside their consequences on psychiatry and “abnormal” psychology. In this framework, Mattia Della Rocca’s presentation will put into perspective the concept of “cognitive environment” by looking at both its classical definition within behavioral environment studies and its more recent development in environmental humanities and the psychology of digital environments.

Participation is possible both on-premises (Villa Salviati, Florence) and on Zoom. If you wish to register, use the following link: https://www.eui.eu/events?id=554301
You will receive the zoom link after registration. Make sure to send an e-mail to Timo Houtekamer to acquire the reading material (timo.houtekamer@eui.eu).

1 March 13.30-15.00: Noga Arikha (European University Institute): ‘How far down does top-down go? Franz Boas between psychology and anthropology.’

There is a rich and growing body of experimental research on the “bottom-up” neural mechanisms undergirding our emotional, social and interactive lives. Straddling psychology and anthropology, this talk asks how these phenomena can be understood in “top-down” terms, as an outcome of cultural norms and family cultures that determine our implicit criteria of self-control and our relation to valenced inputs, at a more cognitive, normative level than the physiological accounts will tell us. This social picture also encapsulates the formation of second-order emotions. What constitutes the generic family culture within human societies is described by ethnologists and analysed by anthropologists, while psychologists can look at the interaction of embodied selves that underpins it. This is the question at the heart of this talk (and indeed of my current research): how does “top-down” work all the way down?

Participation is possible both on-premises and on Zoom. If you wish to register, use the following link: https://www.eui.eu/events?id=554302
You will receive the zoom link after registration. Make sure to send an e-mail to Marie van Haaster to acquire the reading material (marie.vanhaaster@eui.eu).

8 March 13.30-15.00: Guido Giglioni (Università di Macerata): ‘How to be suspicious of your own mind: From Bacon to Locke’

For more information on the last two talks and to receive the Zoom link, please email one of the organisers:  timo.houtekamer@eui.eu, marie.vanhaaster@eui.eu, maxime.guttin@eui.eu.