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This title in other editions

Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain

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Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What happens when we accept that everything we feel, think, and experience stems not from an immaterial soul but from electrical and chemical activity in our brains? That is the question at the heart of this new book by Patricia Churchland, one of the pioneers of neurophilosophy. In a narrative detailing her own personal and professional transformation, Churchland explains what the latest brain research into consciousness, sensory experience, memory, and free will can tell us about enduring philosophical and ethical questions: What is the self? How are our personalities created? What determines our decisions and behaviors? These questions have real-world repercussions—for example, whether an adolescent or someone mentally ill can be held responsible for his or her actions. As Churchland reveals, once we accept that our brains determine everything about who we are and how we experience the world, neuroscience offers new, critical insights into a fascinating range of ethical and philosophical dilemmas.

Review:

"That the human mind is an entirely material entity has implications both unsettling and rich, according to this fascinating excursion into neuroscience and philosophy. Churchland (Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality), a U.C. San Diego 'neurophilosopher' and MacArthur Fellow, presents a tour of cutting-edge brain research that grounds consciousness, personality, thoughts and feelings in neural structures, electrochemical signaling, hormones, and unconscious information processing. She applies these findings to some of philosophy's great moral, ontological, and metaphysical questions, asking how genetic and environmental influences affect violence and criminality, how altruism evolved in our mammalian forebears, how hormones and brain structure might determine sexuality, and how our sense of self and not-self emerges from the brain's internal communications; most subversively, she rejects the existence of the soul and insists that the brain's material mechanisms are the only valid explanations for mental phenomena. Writing in a lively, down-to-earth style, the author interweaves an accessible, engrossing exposition of neuroscience with a primer on philosophical debates from Aristotle to Freud and Daniel Dennett, illustrating it with episodes from her girlhood in a Canadian farming village, which seems to have nurtured in her a pitiless yet folksy atheism. Gently but firmly brushing aside pious mumbo jumbo, Churchland embraces a scientific worldview that consoles less but illuminates more. 16 illus. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman Inc. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A trailblazing philosopher’s exploration of the latest brain science—and its ethical and practical implications.

About the Author

Patricia S. Churchland is a professor emerita of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship for her work in neurophilosophy, she lives in San Diego.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393058321
Author:
Churchland, Patricia
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Author:
Churchland, Patricia S.
Subject:
Human Physiology
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Publication Date:
20130731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 illustrations
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Science
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Anatomy and Physiology
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Humanities » Philosophy » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Neurobiology

Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain New Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393058321 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "That the human mind is an entirely material entity has implications both unsettling and rich, according to this fascinating excursion into neuroscience and philosophy. Churchland (Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality), a U.C. San Diego 'neurophilosopher' and MacArthur Fellow, presents a tour of cutting-edge brain research that grounds consciousness, personality, thoughts and feelings in neural structures, electrochemical signaling, hormones, and unconscious information processing. She applies these findings to some of philosophy's great moral, ontological, and metaphysical questions, asking how genetic and environmental influences affect violence and criminality, how altruism evolved in our mammalian forebears, how hormones and brain structure might determine sexuality, and how our sense of self and not-self emerges from the brain's internal communications; most subversively, she rejects the existence of the soul and insists that the brain's material mechanisms are the only valid explanations for mental phenomena. Writing in a lively, down-to-earth style, the author interweaves an accessible, engrossing exposition of neuroscience with a primer on philosophical debates from Aristotle to Freud and Daniel Dennett, illustrating it with episodes from her girlhood in a Canadian farming village, which seems to have nurtured in her a pitiless yet folksy atheism. Gently but firmly brushing aside pious mumbo jumbo, Churchland embraces a scientific worldview that consoles less but illuminates more. 16 illus. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman Inc. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , A trailblazing philosopher’s exploration of the latest brain science—and its ethical and practical implications.
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