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Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Human Brain

by

Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Human Brain Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Joy, sorrow, jealousy, and awe — these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. Thought to be too private for science to explain and not essential for understanding cognition, they have largely been ignored. But not by Spinoza, and not by Antonio Damasio.

Here, in a humane work of science, Damasio draws on his innovative research and on his experience with neurological patients to examine how feelings and the emotions that underlie them support human survival and enable the spirit's greatest creations.

Looking for Spinoza reveals the biology of our sophisticated survival mechanisms. It rediscovers a thinker whose work prefigures modern neuroscience, not only in his emphasis on emotions and feelings, but also in his refusal to separate mind and body. Together, the scientist and the philosopher help us understand what we're made of, and what we're here for. Based on laboratory investigations but moving beyond those to society and culture, Looking for Spinoza is a master work of science and writing.

Antonio Damasio, widely recognized as one of the world's leading neuroscientists, has for decades been investigating the neurobiological foundations of human life. In Descartes' Error he explored the importance of emotion in rational behavior, and in The Feeling of What Happens he developed the neurobiology of the self. Damasio's new book on feeling and emotion offers unexpected grounds for optimism about our survival and the human condition.

Review:

"Damasio has the rare talent of rendering science intelligible while also being gifted in philosophy, literature and wit." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Damasio's fullest report so far on the nature of feelings....Given his professional background, it is not surprising that Damasio is more persuasive when talking neuroscience than philosophy. But overall, he succeeds in making the latest brain research accessible to the general reader, while his passionate Spinozist reflections make that data relevant to everyday life." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"In clear, accessible and eloquent prose, Damasio is outlining a new vision of the human soul." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Compelling." Scientific American

Review:

"One of the best brain stories of the decade." New York Times Book Review

Book News Annotation:

Drawing on research and patients' case studies, leading neurologist Damasio (U. of Iowa Medical Center), author of , deconstructs the life and thought of this radical 17th century Dutch-Jewish philosopher, who anticipated modern views on mind- body unity, as a springboard for his model of the biological basis for emotions and feelings. This general audience treatment includes illustrations, a glossary, and chronology. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Completing the trilogy that began with Descartes' Error and continued with The Feeling of What Happens, noted neuroscientist Damasio now focuses the full force of his research on emotions as he shows how joy and sorrow are cornerstones of humankind's survival.

Synopsis:

In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza examined the role emotion played in human survival and culture. Yet hundreds of years and many significant scientific advances later, the neurobiological roots of joy and sorrow remain a mystery. Today, we spend countless resources doctoring our feelings with alcohol, prescription drugs, health clubs, therapy, vacation retreats, and other sorts of consumption; still, the inner workings of our minds-what feelings are, how they work, and what they mean-are largely an unexplored frontier.

With scientific expertise and literary facility, bestselling author and world famous neuroscientist Antonio Damasio concludes his groundbreaking trilogy in Looking for Spinoza, exploring the cerebral processes that keep us alive and make life worth living.

Synopsis:

The last in a trilogy of books that investigates the philosophical and scientific foundations of human life

 

Joy, sorrow, jealousy, and awe—these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza devoted much of his life's work examining how these emotions supported human survival, yet hundreds of years later the biological roots of what we feel remain a mystery. Leading neuroscientist Antonio Damasio—whose earlier books explore rational behavior and the notion of the self—rediscovers a man whose work ran counter to all the thinking of his day, pairing Spinoza's insights with his own innovative scientific research to help us understand what we're made of, and what we're here for.

About the Author

Antonio R. Damasio is the Van Allen Professor and head of the department of neurology at the University of Iowa Medical Center and is an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute in San Diego. Descartes' Error was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and has been translated into twenty-three languages. He lives in Iowa City and Chicago.

Table of Contents

Contents

CHAPTER 1 Enter Feelings

Enter Feelings

The Hague

Looking for Spinoza

Beware

In the Paviljoensgracht

CHAPTER 2 Of Appetites and Emotions

Trust Shakespeare

Emotions Precede Feelings

A Nesting Principle

More on the Emotion-Related Reactions: From Simple Homeostatic Regulation to Emotions-Proper

The Emotions of Simple Organisms

The Emotions-Proper

A Hypothesis in the Form of a Definition

The Brain Machinery of Emotion

Triggering and Executing Emotions

Out of the Blue

The Brain Stem Switch

Out-of-the-Blue Laughter

Laughter and Some More Crying

From the Active Body to the Mind

CHAPTER 3 Feelings

What Feelings Are

Is There More to Feelings than the Perception of Body State?

Feelings Are Interactive Perceptions

Mixing Memory with Desire: An Aside

Feelings in the Brain: New Evidence

A Comment on Related Evidence

Some More Corroborating Evidence

The Substrate of Feelings

Who Can Have Feelings?

Body States versus Body Maps

Actual Body States and Simulated Body States

Natural Analgesia

Empathy

Hallucinating the Body

The Chemicals of Feeling

Varieties of Drug-Induced Felicity

Enter the Naysayers

More Naysayers

CHAPTER 4 Ever Since Feelings

Of Joy and Sorrow

Feelings and Social Behavior

Inside a Decision-Making Mechanism

What the Mechanism Accomplishes

The Breakdown of a Normal Mechanism

Damage to Prefrontal Cortex in the Very Young

What If the World?

Neurobiology and Ethical Behaviors

Homeostasis and the Governance of Social Life

The Foundation of Virtue

What Are Feelings For?

CHAPTER 5 Body, Brain, and Mind

Body and Mind

The Hague, December 2, 1999

The Invisible Body

Losing the Body and Losing the Mind

The Assembly of Body Images

A Qualification

The Construction of Reality

Seeing Things

About the Origins of the Mind

Body, Mind, and Spinoza

Closing with Dr. Tulp

CHAPTER 6 A Visit to Spinoza

Rijnsburg, July 6, 2000

The Age

The Hague, 1670

Amsterdam, 1632

Ideas and Events

The Uriel da Costa Affair

Jewish Persecution and the Marrano Tradition

Excommunication

The Legacy

Beyond the Enlightenment

The Hague, 1677

The Library

Spinoza in My Mind

CHAPTER 7 Who's There?

The Contented Life

Spinoza's Solution

The Effectiveness of a Solution

Spinozism

Happy Endings?

Appendices

Notes

Glossary

Acknowledgments

Index

Copyright © 2003 by Antonio Damasio

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work

should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department,

Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780151005574
Subtitle:
Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain
Author:
Damasio, Antonio
Author:
Damasio
Author:
Damasio, Antonio R.
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Location:
New York
Subject:
History
Subject:
Neuropsychology
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Mind & Body
Subject:
Emotions
Subject:
Philosophy & Aspects
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Psychology-Mood Disorders and Depression
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
6
Publication Date:
February 2003
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 black-and-white illustrations through
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 in

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness

Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Human Brain Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Harcourt - English 9780151005574 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Damasio has the rare talent of rendering science intelligible while also being gifted in philosophy, literature and wit."
"Review" by , "Damasio's fullest report so far on the nature of feelings....Given his professional background, it is not surprising that Damasio is more persuasive when talking neuroscience than philosophy. But overall, he succeeds in making the latest brain research accessible to the general reader, while his passionate Spinozist reflections make that data relevant to everyday life."
"Review" by , "In clear, accessible and eloquent prose, Damasio is outlining a new vision of the human soul."
"Review" by , "Compelling."
"Review" by , "One of the best brain stories of the decade."
"Synopsis" by , Completing the trilogy that began with Descartes' Error and continued with The Feeling of What Happens, noted neuroscientist Damasio now focuses the full force of his research on emotions as he shows how joy and sorrow are cornerstones of humankind's survival.
"Synopsis" by ,
In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza examined the role emotion played in human survival and culture. Yet hundreds of years and many significant scientific advances later, the neurobiological roots of joy and sorrow remain a mystery. Today, we spend countless resources doctoring our feelings with alcohol, prescription drugs, health clubs, therapy, vacation retreats, and other sorts of consumption; still, the inner workings of our minds-what feelings are, how they work, and what they mean-are largely an unexplored frontier.

With scientific expertise and literary facility, bestselling author and world famous neuroscientist Antonio Damasio concludes his groundbreaking trilogy in Looking for Spinoza, exploring the cerebral processes that keep us alive and make life worth living.

"Synopsis" by , The last in a trilogy of books that investigates the philosophical and scientific foundations of human life

 

Joy, sorrow, jealousy, and awe—these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza devoted much of his life's work examining how these emotions supported human survival, yet hundreds of years later the biological roots of what we feel remain a mystery. Leading neuroscientist Antonio Damasio—whose earlier books explore rational behavior and the notion of the self—rediscovers a man whose work ran counter to all the thinking of his day, pairing Spinoza's insights with his own innovative scientific research to help us understand what we're made of, and what we're here for.

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