Gustavo Rodrigues Rocha

Visiting Scholar

Universidad Estadual de Feira de Santana (State University of Feira de Santana)
CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies, Office for the History of Science and Technology
Affiliation period: September 2016 - December 2018
Advisor(s)Cathryn Carson
Degrees Ph.D. History of Science :: Program in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching, Universidade Federal da Bahia (Federal University of Bahia; UFBA) (2015)
M.A. History of Science :: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Federal University of Minas Gerais; UFMG). (2006)
B.S. Physics :: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Federal University of Minas Gerais; UFMG). (2003)

Research Areas

My project takes as its starting point the categories of "meaning" and "unity of reason", which are structural to human cognition, and assumes that they are at odds with the trends toward specialization and objectivation in scientific-academic enterprises. A central question is how these urges for transdisciplinarity and "ultimate meaning," as Viktor Frankl’s called it, (1969, 1975); or what Paul Tillich’s called "ultimate concern," (1964, 1987), once inhibited by scientific reasoning, reappear as forms of rejected knowledge, often labelled as scientific speculation, in alternative programs and institutions.
I will carry out both empirical and theoretical research. The James/Heisenberg model of mind – developed by the Berkeley physicist Henry Stapp – will be the focus of my theoretical analysis. Stapp's lifelong effort to defend the effectiveness of human agency against its engulfment by the neurosciences speaks to the mind-body problem.
My empirical research will explore via interviews, research in archives and historical databases, and secondary sources one of such alternative programs; a multidisciplinary research group in which Stapp was a pivotal figure, the Sursem group (1998-2011), hosted by the Center for Theory and Research of the Esalen Institute.

My research focus has been on the construction, circulation and dissolution of worldviews in science, beginning with my master's thesis (2004-2006) on the history of atomism, continuing with my research on the history of cosmology while a research fellow at UEFS (2009-2011), and finally with my PhD dissertation on the history of the foundations of quantum mechanics and its popularization in the Bay Area around the 1970s (2010- 2015). I have been particularly interested in scientific worldviews that aim to reenchant the world and thus run counter to Max Weber's thesis.

last updated: June 29th, 2020