New book edited by Tara Mahfoud, Sam McLean and Nikolas Rose “Vital Models”: The Making and Use of Models in the Brain Sciences

cover_VitalModelsThe use of models has been important to the historical and contemporary study of the human brain, yet very little study by social scientists and humanities scholars has been dedicated to how the brain sciences develop and use models to better understand what brains are and how they work, including the complex entanglements between brains, bodies and their environments.

The new book Vital Models: The Making and Use of Models in the Brain Sciences (Elsevier 2017), edited by Tara Mahfoud, Sam McLean and Nikolas Rose, explores the history and use of brain models from clinical psychiatry to psychopharmacology and cybernetics, as well as developments in digital brain modelling, simulation, imaging and connectomics.

Table of Contents


Tara Mahfoud

Preface by Tara Mahfoud, Sam McLean and Nikolas Rose

Chapter 1 | Vital brains: On the entanglement of media, minds, and models  by Cornelius Borck, Institute for History of Medicine and Science Studies, University of Lubeck, Germany

Chapter 2 | Slicing the cortex to study mental illness: Alois Alzheimer’s pictures of equivalence  by Lara Keuck, History of Science, Humboldt Universit at Berlin, Germany

Chapter 3 | Opaque models: Using drugs and dreams to explore the neurobiological basis of mental phenomena by Nicolas Langlitz, The New School for Social Research, New York, US


Sam McLean

Chapter 4 | Man not a machine: Models, minds, and mental labor, c.1980 by Max Stadler, Science Studies, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Chapter 5 | Infrastructural intelligence: Contemporary entanglements between neuroscience and AI  by Johannes Bruder, Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures/Critical Media Lab, Academy of Art and Design, Basel, Switzerland

Chapter 6 | Learning from large-scale neural simulations  by Maria Serban, Philosophy Section, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Chapter 7 | Connectomes as constitutively epistemic objects: Critical perspectives on modeling in current neuroanatomy by Philipp Haueis and Jan Slaby, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt Universit at Berlin, Germany and Institute of Philosophy, Free University Berlin, Germany


Nikolas Rose

Chapter 8 | Bridging the gap between system and cell: The role of ultra-high field MRI in human neuroscience by Robert Turner and Daniel De Haan, Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany and Translational Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

About the editors:

Tara Mahfoud is a Research Assistant and PhD candidate at GHSM.

Sam McLean is a Teaching Fellow and PhD candidate at GHSM.

Nikolas Rose  is Professor of Sociology at GHSM.

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