Thomas Fuchs: Embodied Cognition and Psychiatry in a Technological World

Date(s) - February 26, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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Being human in our technological age requires not merely technical skills but—more importantly—intellectual capacity to navigate a rapidly changing philosophical milieu. Join us this winter for our online lecture series, Human Flourishing in a Technological Age, to learn from leading scholars about key aspects of what it means to be human in a technological age: personhood, embodied cognition, leisure, transhumanism and more.

Please join us on Friday, February 26 as we welcome Prof. Dr. Thomas Fuchs who will give the lecture “Embodied Cognition and Psychiatry in a Technological World.”

In this lecture, Dr. Fuchs will argue from a psychiatrist’s perspective against the new gnosticism of the transhumanist movement, which assumes a fundamental mind-body dualism, insisting rather that processes of life and consciousness are insep­arably linked through the living body as a whole. In the unity of the per­son, both aspects are intertwined: the body is alive and therefore also mindful; the mind is alive and therefore also truly embodied. Dr. Fuchs will demonstrate the importance of embodied cognition for psychiatry, a medical discipline increasingly dominated by brain-centered research resulting in therapeutic approaches focussing on drug treatment, deep-brain stimulation and neuroenhancement, technologies aimed at directly changing a per­son’s psyche. He will argue that such an approach neglects both the embodied and relational struc­ture of the human mind and risks rendering the patient dependent on technical support. Durable therapeutic changes can only be achieved through personal, i.e., embodied and interactive experiences, which over time also influence the neu­ronal substrate through a circular interaction of ‘process’ and ‘structure.’Dr. Fuchs will conclude by arguing that, as a medical field dealing with persons, psychiatry should embrace relational medical practices commensurate with the flourishing of human beings.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Fuchs, psychiatrist and philosopher, is head of the section Phenomenological Psychopathology and Psychotherapy at the University of Heidelberg. He is the coordinator of the Heidelberg Marsilius-Project “Embodiment as a Paradigm of an Evolutionary Cultural Anthropology,” and chairman of the German Society for Phenomenological Anthropology, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGAP). He was coordinator of the European Marie-Curie Research Training Networks “DISCOS – Disorders and Coherence of the Embodied Self” (2007-2011) and “TESIS”—Towards an Embodied Science of Intersubjectivity” (2012-2016), and of the Joint National Research Project “The Brain as an Organ of Interrelations” (2008-2011).

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