Olaf Breidbach: Looking from Within


For Olaf Breidbach at stake is a new phenomenology, which does not divide nature and culture into two fields, apprehends them separately nor reduces one side to the other. In viewing our environment we orient ourselves on the specific properties of our senses and our brain. Here we find that these properties are modified as a reaction to our culture, which also orients our minds. Neural activity is not merely an effect of evolution, it is a reflex to a culture, and it should be interpreted in this twofold sense as a unity. This is about a new, integrative phenomenology that will again connect our experience to our corporeality, while at the same time conceiving the body as embedded in its culture and, therefore, in a history that points beyond mere nature. Prof. Dr. Olaf Breidbach teaches history of science at the Friedrich-Schiller- University Jena where he is Director of the Institute of the History of Medicine, Natural Sciences, and Technology and the Ernst Haeckel Haus museum. In addition to the history of modern science, he is interested in theoretical biology, the development of an experimental history of science, and the structuring of non-discursive practices and perspectives of neural aesthetics. He is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. His last three book publications include Goethes Naturverständnis, Munich, 2011; Radikale Historisierung. Kulturelle Selbstversicherung im Postdarwinismus, Berlin, 2011; Anschauung denken, Munich, 2011. Forthcoming is his book Neuronale Ästhetik: Zur Morpho-Logik des Anschauens, Munich.