Damasio, an eminent neuroscientist explores the science of human emotion and what the great Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza can teach of how and why we feel. Damasio shows how joy and sorrow, those most defining of human feelings, are in fact the cornerstones of our survival and culture.
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Internationally renowned neuroscientist Antonio Damasio says in Looking for Spinoza that "feelings of pain or pleasure or some quality in between are the bedrock of our minds." Feelings were considered to be beyond the competence of science, even by neuroscientists until very recently. Damasio has been in the vanguard of those who realised that the neurobiology of feelings was no less viable than that of vision or memory.
Damasio has found an historical figure he can identify with in the 17th-century philosopher Bento Spinoza--a Portuguese Jew living in Holland, who, without any of the benefits of neurobiological understanding, nevertheless did come to understand the unification of body and mind and the role of emotions in human survival and culture. As the title suggests, Looking for Spinoza, includes Damasio's personal exploration of what Spinoza achieved and his desire to bring this long forgotten hero of the mind back into view.
Damasio found himself coming face to face with patients with various kinds of localised brain damage. They could not feel particular emotions such as happiness or sadness in the way that they had been able to before the damage occurred. His was forced to conclude that different brain systems controlled different feelings. When patients lost the ability to express a certain emotion, they also lost the ability to experience the corresponding feeling. But the opposite was not true. Patients who had lost the ability to experience certain feelings could still express the corresponding emotion. Damasio had to ask himself whether emotion was born first and feeling second?
Looking for Spinoza is the third in Damasio's beautifully written trilogy (including Descartes' Error and The Feeling of What Happens) that combine accounts of his personal professional explorations of the mind and what it means to be human and how our ideas about humanity have evolved through the philosophical tradition. What always comes across is his compassion and humanity whilst still being a very practical medical scientist trying to do his best for real people with very real problems. Damsio's account of his researches that have built on Spinoza's ideas, using the hard data of modern science is never less than fascinating and thought provoking. It's the sort of book that frequently makes the reader pause and look into space as the implications of what Damasio has written slowly sink in. The "sciency" bits are perfectly managable (aided by appropriate diagrams) for the general reader and there plenty of backup notes for those who want to explore further. --Douglas PalmerReview:
"Big claims, well made: it is a rare pleasure to pick up such a rigorous and readable book about scientific advance that is so firmly anchored in philosophical history" ( Time Out)
"Virtually all the interesting philosophy today is done, not by professional philosophers, but by scientists like Damasio... The map may be incomplete, but thanks to Damasio we do at least know the principal landmarks" ( New Humanist)
"Damasio's book interweaves lucid and fascinating explanations of neurological findings with historical and philosophical ruminations on Spinoza... Rich and informative" ( New Scientist)
"There is much in this book to please Damasio's fans. He is a lively and humane writer, and ranges easily across a wide variety of topics" ( Independent)
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Book Description Book Condition: New. Gift Quality Book in Excellent Condition. Bookseller Inventory # 36S9FP000AYJ
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0151005575
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Advance praise for "Looking for Spinoza: "This is the boldest, the most satisfying, and the most personal of Antonio Damasio's books, presenting dazzling insights into the nature of emotion and feeling."-- Oliver Sacks, author of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and" Uncle"Tungsten "This is an enticingly original work that offers page after page of startling insights about the workings of the mind. It creates in its entirety that rarest of effects: the quality of revelation."--William Styron, author of "Sophie's Choice and "Darkness Visible "Damasio, one of the leading thinkers about the function of the human brain, has done it again! He has written a remarkable book about the biological underpinnings of feelings and their ramifications for human behavior. We could not ask for a better guide to take us through this domain." --Eric R. Kandel, Nobel Laureate, Columbia University "In Looking for Spinoza, Damasio, one of the world's foremost neurologists, addresses some of the most difficult questions concerning brain and mind, in the context of a deep and wide grasp of art, music and, philosophy. This book is a huge and most impressive accomplishment."--David Hubel, Nobel Laureate, Harvard University "A brilliant intellectual exercise but also a meditation, on how to reach happiness and a better life. A rare and almost unique attempt to examine the most recent neurobiological knowledge about emotions and feelings in the framework of Spinoza's thinking."-- Jean-Pierre Changeux, College de France and Institut Pasteur "A brilliant and fortifying book. Looking for Spinoza offers us more than a riveting narrative of intellectualaffiliation, and more than a scientifically refined regard for what it means to be human; it offers a new frontier for genuinely informed hope.--Peter Sacks, Harvard University "An extraordinary book-beautifully written and de. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0151005575
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0151005575
Book Description U.S.A.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition.. 7824 Language: eng Language: eng. Bookseller Inventory # 2L-12-AC
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110151005575