This article examines visual practices inside the laboratory and in the arts, highlighting a problem of reductionism in the transformation from data to images and in the visual incarnation of the neuro-realism fallacy, that is the extreme images of brain scan. Neurosciences are not inherently reductionist. John R. Mallard’s work around data visualisation problems in the development of biomedical imaging shows how scientists themselves can be attentive to the construction of visual practices and their meaning. If neuro-realism is a fallacy within the neurosciences, are art-neuroscience collaborative projects reproducing this fallacy at visual level? The article analysis how neuroscience-art projects can enable us (or not) to foster and maintain a stereoscopic vision in the way in which we approach the conundrum of what it is like to be both a biological organism made up of molecules, neurons, cells, and an entity equipped with intentionality, desires, thoughts, values.
Soraya De Chadarevian Nick HopwoodModels. The Third Dimension of Science (Stanford: Stanford University Press2004). On the enactment of models in molecular biology laboratories see Natasha Myers Rendering Life Molecular. Models Modelers and Excitable Matter (Durham and London: Duke University Press 2015). On the history of the different models and metaphors used to represent and investigate the brain see Cornelius Borck “Toys Are Us. Models and Metaphors in Brain Research” in Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience edited by Suparna Choudhury Jan Slaby (London: Blackwell 2011) pp. 111–133.
Giovanni Frazzetto Suzanne Anker“Neuroculture,”Nature Reviews Neuroscience2009 10:815–821 p. 819. On neurocultures see also Francisco Ortega Fernando Vidal (eds.) Neurocultures: Glimpses into an Expanding Universe (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang 2011).
Joseph Dumit“How (Not) to Do Things with Brain Images,” in Representation in Scientific Practice Revisitededited by Catelijne Coopmans Janet Vertes Michael Lynch Steve Woolgar (Cambridge and London: the MIT Press 2014) pp. 291–313.
John R. Mallard“The Radionuclide Imaging Process and Factors Influencing the Choice of an Instrument for Brain Scanning,” in Progress in Nuclear Medicineedited by James Potchen Ralph McCready (Baltimore: University Park Press 1972) pp. 1–114: 6–7.
Dumit“How (Not) to Do Things” (cit. note 9), p. 304. Other scholars pointed out at the flaws in functional neuroimaging. See, for example, Edward Vul, Harold Pashler, “Voodoo and Circularity Errors,”NeuroImage2012 62/2: 945–948; Cornelius Borck “How to Do Voodoo with Functional Neuroimaging” EspacesTemps.net http://www.espacestemps.net/articles/neuroimaging/ (accessed 1st October 2016).
Ibid. p. 5. Sellars always uses the locution “man-in-the-world” to highlight that the image is that of the position of man in the world not of man and of the world as two separate entities.
Ibid. p. 32.
Ibid. p. 19.
Ibid. p. 5. Stereoscopic photography interestingly was a mean to achieve realism in science and medicine. For example Joseph Towne one of the most skilled makers of wax moulages in the nineteenth century used the new technology of stereoscopic photography for constructing his three-dimensional anatomical models. On stereoscopy as an embodied form of vision in contrast with the detached and distant model of vision put forth by the camera obscura see Jonathan Crary Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge and London: the MIT Press 1990).
Donna HarawaySimians Cyborgs Women: The Reinvention of Nature (London: Free1991) p. 163.