Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise

Little Heresies Seminar Series14

Heresy #14: Curb your neuro-enthusiasm

Heretic: Sue White, University of Birmingham (16 June 2016).

Sue White's heresy questioned the use of science evidence to social policy asking who benefits? And who is controlled? She stated that there are fundamental dilemmas and contradictions in the enduring utopian project of human improvement. At present, the contradictions are obscured by a high-tech turn in the bio-sciences. The neuro prefix, (neuromarketing, neurotourism, neuromanagement etc) has become ubiquitous. Technological biologies have proved very enticing for politicians and welfare campaigners alike.

Scientists under pressure from the 'impact' agenda and perhaps their own moral positions, make portentous claims. But the moral complexities have not gone away. Indeed, rejuvenated biological understandings add to the moral maze. Utopians, like circus horses, smelling the sawdust, cannot help but dance. The tune may be different but the steps are well rehearsed.

Listen to Heresy #14: Curb your neuro-enthusiasm.