Mind and the Other

Mind and the Other is an interdisciplinary research project, funded by the Academy of Finland (2013-2016). The main aim of the project is to study culturally the human mind at its margins. According to philosophical, historical and cross-cultural research, various cultures maintain very diverse theories about the human mind. This diversity and the phenomena of the supernatural agents (which the project has redefined as ‘kumma’ or uncanny) has been largely under-theorized or excluded from modern sciences and the philosophy of mind. This has consequences, which make the current research project important. We argue that the scientific exclusion is not a coincidence but a characteristic of the social system. The creation of order produces exclusion and outskirt which, according to Mary Douglas, is not removed but returning. In this interdisciplinary study, we focus precisely on “the returning” and subjugated knowledge, which according to Michel Foucault is knowledge from below and written out of history, in our case knowledge from a multiplicity of social margins.

The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to study from the first hand perspective the modes in which “the uncanny” appears to the mind. We ask how this is perceived, experienced and made culturally meaningful on the continuum of human mind, at its margins, as William James puts it. Our research design allows us to contribute to the understanding of the human mind concerning the social and cultural interaction and relationship with these phenomena from pre-modern times to the present. This research has remarkable societal influences for the anti-stigma work within societies. Altogether five post doc scholars work in the project.

Mind and the Other -project is funded by the Academy of Finland’s Research Program Human Mind, 266573.




Professor Marja-Liisa Honkasalo
University of Turku

Ph.D. Kirsi Kanerva
University of Turku

Professor Jyrki Korkeila
University of Turku

Ph.D. Kaarina Koski
University of Turku

D.Soc.Sc. Susanne Ådahl
University of Helsinki




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