Medicine Studies International Journal for History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine & Allied Sciences

for a Themed Issue on

„Medicine in a Neurocentric World“

Explanatory models generated by the neurosciences are now gaining more and more importance not only in the reshaping of clinical applications but also with regard to the biomedical and cultural understanding of the human mind. Consequently, tools from the neurosciences, such as imaging techniques, appear to provide a novel knowledge base for the reconceptualisation of both somatic and mental pathological entities. Historically, it is interesting to observe how the extension of neuroscientific models into a broad field of applications has been shaped. Epistemologically, it is a vexing question to ask how technologically constructed knowledge can be extended into diverse realms of explanation in a genuinely transdisciplinary manner. Ethically, it is a valid concern whether this extension of neuroscientific explanations is justified in the light of often empirically underdetermined theorems. Culturally and anthropologically, the emergence of new conceptions
of the self alongside the broad societal impact of the neurosciences – from debates on self-determination to discussions of criminal law – brings about the need for a thorough examination of key concepts of human self-understanding.

Altogether, these challenges have given rise to new debates in medical ethics in general and in neuroethics in particular. However, to reach an in-depth understanding of the ongoing transformations triggered by the neurosciences, we need insights into the historical and cultural contexts and processes, together with an epistemological analysis of the theoretical foundations of medicine in a neurocentric world.

This themed issue of the Journal Medicine Studies is dedicated to the endeavour of contextualising these recent developments in neurosciences and ethics. Relevant questions and topics include – but are not restricted to – the following:

Historical aspects:
–    „Psychosurgery“: on invasive therapies in medicine
–    The development of neuropathology and its clinical applications
–    The development of concepts of the mind
–    From frog to macaque: animal-based research in the neurosciences

Theoretical aspects:
–    „Looking for the Brainome“: about the epistemic reach of neural information
–    The impact of neuroscience on the reconceptualisation of psychiatric diseases
–    Explanatory reach of imaging technologies
–    Interdependencies of experimental systems, conceptualisations and criteria of operationalisation

Ethical aspects:
–    Normative limits to reductionist knowledge in the neurosciences
–    “Neuroethics“: a neuroscientific challenge to morality?
–    “Neuroethics”: old wine in new bottles?

The editors of this special issue welcome contributions reflecting the shifts of knowledge production in medicine from a historiographic, epistemological, or ethical point of view.

We invite original research papers addressing the aims and scope of this themed issue. Manuscripts need to be submitted online before 1st June 2009 in order to be considered for publication.
Further details for submission are available at the journal’s website:

About the journal:
Medicine Studies is an international, peer-reviewed journal exploring the historical development as well as the theoretical, philosophical, cultural, and ethical dimensions of modern medicine and allied sciences. The aim of the journal is to contribute to a better understanding of the inextricable interrelations of medicine, science, technology, and society, and the practical and conceptual consequences of their interplay. The journal promotes inter- and transdisciplinary approaches, true to the conviction that addressing contemporary challenges in medical ethics and bioethics requires knowledge about historical and cultural contexts and processes together with an analysis of the theoretical foundations of medicine and its allied sciences. The journal publishes articles concerned with the historical, philosophical, anthropological, cultural, social and ethical dimensions of medicine devoted to an inter- and transdisciplinary discourse on medicine and
allied sciences. By opening up this discourse, Medicine Studies responds to the need for a thorough analysis of developments, prospects, and ethical challenges arising in modern medicine.