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Seminars and lectures winter term 2019/20

Carl Craver, Explaining the Brain (Seminar)

What distinguishes good explanations in neuroscience from bad? Carl F. Craver constructs and defends standards for evaluating neuroscientific explanations that are grounded in a systematic view of what neuroscientific explanations are: descriptions of multilevel mechanisms. In developing this approach, he draws on a wide range of examples in the history of neuroscience (e.g. Hodgkin and Huxleys model of the action potential and L.T.P. as a putative explanation for different kinds of memory), as well as recent philosophical work on the nature of scientific explanation. Readers in neuroscience, psychology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science will find much to provoke and stimulate them in this book.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Stephan Sellmaier
Time: Tuesdays, 10:00 - 12:00; 15.10.2019 - 04.02.2020
Place: Biocenter (Großhaderner Str. 2), GSN Course Room D 00.003

Registration: e-mail to

Psychiatry in the scientific image (Seminar)

In Psychiatry in the Scientific Image, Dominic Murphy looks at psychiatry from the viewpoint of analytic philosophy of science, considering three issues: how we should conceive of, classify, and explain mental illness. If someone is said to have a mental illness, what about it is mental? What makes it an illness? How might we explain and classify it? A system of psychiatric classification settles these questions by distinguishing the mental illnesses and showing how they stand in relation to one another. This book explores the philosophical issues raised by the project of explaining and classifying mental illness

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Stephan Sellmaier
Time: Thursdays, 16:00 - 18:00; 17.10.2019 - 06.02.2020
Place: Main Building (Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1), M210 (MKE, Münchner Kompetenzzentrum Ethik)

Requirements: Basic knowledge of philosophy of science and philosophy of mind
Registration: (LSF) pre-registration is not necessary.

The Neuroscience of Freedom and Creativity (Seminar)

We will read and discuss Joaquín M. Fusters "The Neuroscience of Freedom and Creativity". This book provides his view on the question of whether we have free will. Based on his seminal work on the functions of the prefrontal cortex in decision-making, planning, creativity, working memory, and language, Fuster argues that the liberty or freedom to choose between alternatives is a function of the cerebral cortex, under prefrontal control, in its reciprocal interaction with the environment. Freedom is therefore inseparable from that circular relationship. The Neuroscience of Freedom and Creativity is a fascinating inquiry into the cerebral foundation of our ability to choose between alternative actions and to freely lead creative plans to their goal.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Stephan Sellmaier
Time: Thursdays, 14:00 - 16:00 c.t.; 17.10.2019 bis 06.02.2020
Place: Main Building (Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1), Room M 201

Requirements: Basic knowledge of philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and action theory.
Registration: e-mail to