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One of the world's leading experts on the neurophysiology of emotions, Professor Antonio Damasio shows how our consciousness, our sense of being, arose out of the development of emotion. At its core, human consciousness is consciousness of the feeling, experiencing self, the 'very thought of' oneself. Brilliantly wide-ranging in his scope, Damasio illustrates his thesis with fascinating and illuminating neurological case studies that are both stimulating and provocative.
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As you read this, at some level you're aware that you're reading, thanks to a standard human feature commonly referred to as consciousness. What is it--a spiritual phenomenon, an evolutionary tool, a neurological side effect? The best scientists love to tackle big, meaningful questions like this and neuroscientist Antonio Damasio jumps right in with The Feeling of What Happens, a poetic examination of interior life through lenses of research, medical cases, philosophical analysis and unashamed introspection. Damasio's perspective is, fortunately, becoming increasingly common in the scientific community; despite all the protestations of old-guard behaviourists, subjective consciousness is a plain fact to most of us and the demand for new methods of inquiry is finally being met.
These new methods are not without rigour, though. Damasio and his colleagues examine patients with disruptions and interruptions in consciousness and take deep insights from these tragic lives while offering greater comfort and meaning to the sufferers. His thesis, that our sense of self arises from our need to map relations between self and others, is firmly rooted in medical and evolutionary research but stands up well to self-examination. His examples from the weird world of neurology are unsettling yet deeply humanising--real people with serious problems spring to life in the pages but they are never reduced to their deficits. The Feeling of What Happens captures the spirit of discovery as it plunges deeper than ever into the darkest waters yet. --Rob LightnerReview:
"The life-changing read of the year... The book is crammed with tiny gems of information with which to reassess how you look at the world and think about yourself" (Katie Mitchell Guardian)
"A tour de force...a monumental book...a gem of a work" (Anthony Clare Sunday Times)
"Compelling...a story told with clarity and pace, unencumbered by unnecessary technical jargon and illustrated with insightful clinical anecdotes" (The Times)
"A fascinating and suggestive book" (Literary Review)
"Both Descartes' Error and The Feeling of What Happens are essential reading. They are groundbreaking classics of psychology and neuroscience. These are the books to buy, keep and ponder upon. Do so, and you will be ahead of the ruck by at least a decade" (Journal Of The Royal Society of Medicine)
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