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The Self-Domesticated Animal and Its Study

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Abstract

The present chapter aims (a) to emphasize two points made abundantly clear by contemporary social cognitive and affective neuroscientists and (b) to note the philosophical nature of those points. These are (a) that all mental processes are brain processes and (b) that since all humans belong to several social systems, their mental life can only be understood by social psychology. Lastly, I propose that the main difference between the classical and the contemporary phases of that science is that, whereas the former sought to describe the psychosocial realm, nowadays we also wish to understand it—by unveiling its underlying mechanisms, such as the negative effect of social exclusion on neuroimmune processes. This more ambitious goal suggests merging biopsychology with the social sciences instead of either isolating the former or attempting to reduce it to either zoology or sociology. Such a call for merger should discourage all talk about neuropolitics and the like, for social science is about social systems, not isolated individuals, whereas psychology, whether individual or social, is about socially embedded individuals.

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Acknowledgments

I thank Agustín Ibáñez (INECO) for his critical remarks, as well as Verónica Bunge Vivier (Ecología, Conaycit, México DF), Iris Mauss (Psychology, UCA, Berkeley), and Ignacio Morgado (Neurobiology, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona), for helping with the references.

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Correspondence to Mario Bunge .

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Bunge, M. (2017). The Self-Domesticated Animal and Its Study. In: Ibáñez, A., Sedeño, L., García, A. (eds) Neuroscience and Social Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68421-5_18

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