Muriel Leuenberger

Assistentin / Doktorandin (Fachbereich Philosophie)


Steinengraben 5
4051 Basel


After my Bachelor in Nanoscience at the University of Basel I studied Philosophy of Science and Technology at the Technical University in Munich (Master). In my Master Thesis I analysed the concept of authenticity and the influence of Deep Brain Stimulation on authenticity under the supervision of Prof. Stefan Sellmaier and Dr. Tobias Jung. Furthermore, I co-founded the Science Café ‚Auf Augenhöhe’ in Munich and was responsible for the graphic design of the project.

During my scientific studies as well as in my Master in Philosophy my main field of interest was Neuroscience and -philosophy. With my PhD project „Authenticity, Narrative and Neural Modification“ (March 2017 – September 2020) I continue within this field. The PhD is funded by a Doc.CH grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation and is supervised by Prof. Markus Wild from the University of Basel and Prof. Marya Schechtman from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

PhD Project


Authenticity, Narrative and Neural Modification


Ranging from meditations to brain implants, we nowadays have a variety of technical and non-technical methods available to selectively influence our brain. In the face of these changes of the self authenticity is seen as an important topic for the users of neural modifications. This project analyses the concept of authenticity and what specific changes of the brain mean for authenticity.

The thesis can be divided into three leading questions: 1) What is authenticity? To answer this question I will examine the genealogy of the concept and develop a narrativistic approach to authenticity. 2) What are neural modifications? In this part neural modifications will be discussed and characterised along frame concepts, such as naturalness, innovation or enhancement. 3) Which neural modifications present a risk to or support authenticity and why? The last part will combine the results of the first two parts to asses which modifications and which properties of these modifications support or threaten authenticity as understood in the narrativistic approach.


Prof. Markus Wild, Universität Basel

Prof. Marya Schechtman, University of Illinois at Chicago


HS 2019: Proseminar «Das narrative Selbst», University of Basel

FS 2018: One-time guest lecturer «Ethik für Nanowissenschaftler», University of Basel

Presentations and Publications

Leuenberger M. In Defense of Narrative Authenticity. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics Forthcoming.

Neural Interventions – Shaking the Foundations of Authenticity. Poster presentation at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the International Neuroethics Society, Chicago, 2019.

Narrative Authenticity and Deep Brain Stimulation. Presentation at the 11th International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics, Milan, 2019.

Fictions and the Narrative Self. Commentary at the Workshop Varieties of Non-Propositional Content with Elisabeth Camp (Rutgers), Basel, 2019.

Genealogy and Rousseau’s Second Discourse. Commentary at the Workshop The Contingent World: Genealogy, Epistemology, Politics with Amia Srinivasan (Oxford), Basel, 2018.