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[Xmca-l] 2 questions on "the self" in culture, neuroscience and education

Hi all,

I have two questions about how modern euroamerican notions of the bounded, teleological 'selfish' Self may have uncritically found their ways into 1) neuroscience and 2) education.  I am familiar with anthropological and philosophical literature on persons and selves, but not in neuroscience and education. 

1) Does anyone know of a good critique of Default Mode Network imaging studies? DMN is usually associated (in the brain), with our sense of 'ego' or 'self'. Wondering if there is, e.g., data from non euro-american cultures, or from people who are enculturated/enskilled in different models of personhood? A good critique of eurocentric biases in the neural turn in general would be good too. 

2) Any good critiques of current 'learner-centred' dogmas in education? Nothing wrong with decentring knowledge and meaning-making, of course, and I am not looking for conservative teacher-centred backlashes - rather, I am interested in the notion that learner-centred pedagogies may also be self-centred, or ego-centred in the sense that they cater to (and as such shape) not just bounded selves, but selfish, entitled selves, along with a battery of other social pathologies we can expect in anomic contexts. Philosophically, I also feel there may be a problem with the push toward 'self-realization'. Intentionality may be universally teleological in the sense that it is goal-directed and tends toward 'aboutness' more than  'thingness', but I am interested in pedagogical literature that is Being-centred, and not Becoming-oriented. The point here is that if selfhood is characterized as an asymptotic quest toward a never-quite-'there' end-goal, but not a state of being, it follows that one is never satisfied. This easily feeds into more consumeristic models of happiness, etc, etc. 

Thanks for taking the time to consider my questions!



Samuel Veissière, PhD
Visiting Professor | Transcultural Psychiatry, Cognitive Science, & Anthropology
Department of Psychiatry | Department of Anthropology | McGill University
1033 Pine Avenue West - Room 103 |Montreal, Quebec | H3A 1Y1
Tel: (514) 506-7094 | Fax: (514) 375-2498
Email: samuel.veissiere@mcgill.ca