On the Neuro-Turn in Education: From Inside Out

Date created: 
Transdisciplinarity, Transhumanism
Philosophy of Education

On the Neuro-Turn in Education gives a lived account of my exploration of quantitative research in education at the intersections of neuroscience, cognitive science, and cognitive psychology. I argue that existing quantitative studies fall short of meeting all (if any) of transdisciplinarity’s multiple dimensions, and I assert that such research is, in essence and methodology, an expression of the neuro-turn in education. This turn has reinforced a view of education, even if largely implicit, as a closed and mechanistic system—a perspective that so far has prevailed in our society over the view of education as a living process.I have met with transhumanists gravitating toward the outer edge of the neuroscience of learning, in the stratosphere of artificial intelligence, where the prospect of becoming smarter overshadows the wish to become wiser. In that respect, neuroethics - the most recent subdiscipline of applied ethics - rises from the paraxial fact that neurotechnologies are generating ethical challenges while at the same time promoting a neuroscientific understanding of ethics. I argue that ethical questions related to “my brain” are not distinct from ethical questions about “my self” in relation to others, a fact that a subdiscipline risks missing because it focuses on the particulars of the biological explanation of ethics, at the cost of the bigger picture: the complexity of the societal constructs involved in elaborating our moral judgments. I reclaim the richness of my embodied phenomenological being across an inside–out continuum from self to others, and from human to non-human others; and I explore intersubjectivity as resonance at both the philosophical and the organic levels. Finally, I reflect on how, as a philosopher of education, I can be an active participant in sharing with educators and all stakeholders a redefinition of the purpose and aims of education. Central to such dialogue is an urgent need to shed light on toxic metaphors that turn humans into data. By illuminating such issues, I hope to initiate our homecoming to a posthumanity embedded in the fabric of the world.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Heesoon Bai
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.