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Lecture ICI Berlin

Noga Arikha: Humoural Bodies and Balanced Minds

Apr 2011

Humoural theory provides a historical continuity to the definitions of mind and mental illness. Where do we stand today on this continuum, equipped as we are with modern tools to complete the naturalist picture of the mind? Mind and body used to be interconnected. Where does the body stand now that the brain is the mind? To answer such questions, we can look back not only into our history, but also out towards Indian metaphysics of mind, which overlap in surprising ways with the Greek classical heritage.

Noga Arikha is a historian of ideas, particularly interested in the relation between mind and body, and in tracing the genealogy of the concepts that pertain to it. Though she began her studies by focusing on early modern Europe, her interests encompass a wide range of periods and cultures, and her work straddles a multiplicity of disciplines, from philosophy, the cognitive and mind sciences, and anthropology, to the histories of science, psychology, medicine, art, and food. She endeavours to bridge the divide between the ‘two cultures’ - the sciences and the humanities - and to bring to a general audience accessible accounts that analyses the origins of our deepest concerns about our embodied selves. She is the author of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours (Ecco, Harper) and more recently with Marcello Simonetta of Napoleon and the Rebel: A story of Brotherhood, Passion and Power on the relationship between Napoleon and his beloved brother Lucien (June 2011, Palgrave McMillan).

This is a keynote lecture within the international ICI conference Situating Mental Illness: Between Scientific Certainty and Personal Narrative organized by Giovanni Frazzetto in collaboration with the European Science Foundation.

Location: ICI Berlin

Time: Friday, 29 April 2011, 18.00

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