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Value Practices in the Life Sciences and Medicine$
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Isabelle Dussauge, Claes-Fredrik Helgesson, and Francis Lee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199689583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689583.001.0001

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Valuation machines

Valuation machines

Economies of desire/pleasure in contemporary neuroscience

(p.247) 13 Valuation machines
Value Practices in the Life Sciences and Medicine

Isabelle Dussauge

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the neurocultures of the desiring brain. It enquires into the neural metaphors and grammars of reward which are deployed in late capitalism to describe brain desires and pleasure, making the desiring brain a valuation machine—a machine which attributes value to different scenarios or possibilities of action, and which processes these values towards expected outcomes or behaviour. This chapter further analyses how the neuroscientific accounts relate economic and non-economic rewards and values to one another in their description of human life. It contributes to situating those in relation to a contemporary sociology of value. Thus it highlights a powerful scientific account of the set of values in which life consists, and furthermore, of what makes a good life: the contemporary dynamics of desire, pleasure, and happiness made neural.

Keywords:   neurocultures, reward system, valuation, happiness, hedonic psychology, sociology of value

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