Tom McCarthy On Neuroscience

“It’s idiocy. Neuroscience is one of the biggest follies of our era, or the idea that you can transfer neuroscience to the cultural arena. It’s a category mistake. We don’t think in our brains, we think in language and culture. If you want to understand meaning in the world, and the history of meaning, you’ve got to read Antigone and then you’ve got to read Hegel and then you’ve got to read Lacan. You can’t slice up anyone’s brain, not even Sophocles’, and then understand meaning. If you take a bit of Joyce’s brain and put it under a microscope, it’s not going to explain Finnegans Wake. It’s absolute idiocy, but an idiocy that has a lot of currency simply because people don’t want to think. They want easy answers. It’s a form of God; it’s a form of absolute certainty that will kind of flatten all the complexity of culture, and the beauty of it as well.”


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