Machiel Keestra - Interdisciplinary Integration After the Neuro-turn: Problems with the ‘Neurofication’ of Theology
From Katie Gentilello
The recent emergence of neuro-disciplines like neuro-economics, neuro-anthropology, neurophilosophy and neuro-politics is exciting for those working in these ‘neurofied’ disciplines, as much as for cognitive neuroscientists and philosophers. New neuro disciplinary research and answers can help to elucidate relevant interactions between our
brains and domains of our culture and society. Yet, neuro-disciplinary research can also lead us astray when flawed concepts, methods or results are employed, and the wrong conclusions are drawn. The challenge for inter-disciplinary research is to properly integrate insights from both fields involved - from cognitive neuroscience and the respective ‘target discipline’.
Machiel Keestra will analyze an example of such ‘neurofication’: neuro-theology. After a brief consideration of the notion of ‘interdisciplinary integration’, he will analyze how neuro-theological research is being conducted and discuss its underlying assumptions and research paradigms. How come that neurotheological research often involves the neuro-imaging of meditating Buddhist monks? Is there a place for the historical and institutional nature of religion in neurotheology? Such questions will lead to a critical evaluation of neurofication that is also relevant for other neuro-disciplines.