Catherine Malabou, Neuroplasticity, and the Subject
Presented with 5 quotes/brief passages. Don’t worry about who said it – they are open
E.g. “We feel free because we lack the language to articulate our unfreedom.”
You will be presented with 5 to choose, and the task will be to select one, explain it,
explicate it, and use a concrete example.
How does power work on us, how exactly does power craft us, and how do function as
both subjects and agents of power? She argues that to understand any of this, we can look
at the brain.
Malabou argues that although being creators and created by our brains seems
contradictory, it is how we operate. However, we are not able to fully comprehend this,
which is why it seems impossible. We tend to talk in mutually exclusive terms, even
when we shouldn’t.
For her, the work property to the brain is plasticity. The brain functions through the
operation of plasticity.
Plasticity is not culturally widely recognized.
For a brain to be plastic, is to say that it is rigid, but the exact opposite.
The plasticity of the brain is related to radical freedom – it is within what we
commonly assume to be a strictlygenetically determined structure.
Looking at neurons and their connections, plasticity operates with respect to these
neurons in three ways.
Throughout life, we adopt the mistaken view that our brains stop forming at a
certain point. Throughout our lives, we actually change and force our brains to