Clarkson University Associate Professor of History Stephen T. Casper has been invited to be part of an interdisciplinary panel discussion on the role of metaphor in science on November 20 at Columbia University.
“Metaphors and Models,” examines how metaphor shapes how we think and communicate, and how metaphors are represented in the brain. The discussion will feature perspectives from neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, history, and philosophy.
An expert in the history and philosophy of mind and brain science and medicine, Casper’s commentary will focus on how metaphors used by brain scientists and neurologists have changed across the nineteenth and twentieth century. It will also examine the ways that metaphors create, determine, and limit the ways we imagine the function of the brain and nervous system.
The event is part of Columbia University’s Seminars in Society and Neuroscience Series.
Caspar will be joined by co-panelists Dedre Genter, director of the cognitive science program at Northwestern University, and Stephen Flusberg, psychology professor at Purchase College, SUNY.
Casper has written extensively on the history of the mind and brain sciences in Europe and North America. He is the author of The Neurologists: A History of a Medical Specialty in Modern Britain, 1789-2000 (2014) and co-editor of The History of the Brain and Mind Sciences: Technique, Technology, and Therapy, which was published earlier this year.
He is currently working on a book titled Punch-Drunk and Dementia: A History of Concussion, 1870-2012, which is part of a broader program of research focused on histories of disturbances of consciousness, ranging from concussion to brain death.
In the past year, Casper has delivered lectures at several institutions on the topic of disturbances of consciousness. At the Autonomous University of Barcelona he participated in a global conference on “locked-in syndrome,” a neurological condition in which the patient remains fully aware, but suffers from almost complete motor paralysis.
He was an invited speaker on the history and ethics of locked-in syndrome as well as other minimally conscious states, including brain death, at Cornell-Weil Medical School and the Institute for the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. Most recently he gave an invited talk at the University of New Hampshire that focused on the history of mild and moderate traumatic brain injury in domestic violence.
Casper holds a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience and biochemistry from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and a Ph.D. in the History of Medicine from University College London.