Synopses & Reviews
In this wondrously lucid and engaging book, renowned neurologist Antonio Damasio demonstrates what many of us have long suspected: emotions are not a luxury, they are essential to rational thinking.
Descartes' Error takes the reader on an enthralling journey of scientific discovery, starting with the case of Phineas Gage--a construction foreman who in 1848 survived a freak accident in which a 3 1/2 foot iron rod passed through his head--and continuing on to Damasio's experiences with modern-day neurological patients affected by brain damage. Far from interfering with rationality, his research shows us, the absence of emotion and feeling can break down rationality and make wise decision making almost impossible.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -297) and index.
Table of Contents
Unpleasantness in Vermont -- Gage's brain revealed -- A modern Phineas Gage -- In colder blood -- Assembling an explanation -- Biological regulation and survival -- Emotions and feelings -- The somatic-marker hypothesis -- Testing the somatic-marker hypothesis -- The body-minded brain -- A passion for reasoning -- Postscriptum.