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The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are

The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are

by Alan Jasanoff

Hardcover(New Edition)

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A pioneering neuroscientist argues that we are more than our brains

To many, the brain is the seat of personal identity and autonomy. But the way we talk about the brain is often rooted more in mystical conceptions of the soul than in scientific fact. This blinds us to the physical realities of mental function. We ignore bodily influences on our psychology, from chemicals in the blood to bacteria in the gut, and overlook the ways that the environment affects our behavior, via factors varying from subconscious sights and sounds to the weather. As a result, we alternately overestimate our capacity for free will or equate brains to inorganic machines like computers. But a brain is neither a soul nor an electrical network: it is a bodily organ, and it cannot be separated from its surroundings. Our selves aren't just inside our heads -- they're spread throughout our bodies and beyond. Only once we come to terms with this can we grasp the true nature of our humanity.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465052684
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 03/13/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,144,855
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Alan Jasanoff is the award-winning director of the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering. He lives near Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I The Cerebral Mystique

1 Eating the Brain 11

2 Humor Me 27

3 It's Complicated 51

4 Scanning For Godot 71

5 Thinking, Outside the Box 91

6 No Brain is an Island 117

Part II The Importance of Being Biological

7 Insiders and Outsiders 143

8 Beyond the Broken Brain 171

9 Neurotechnology Unbound 197

10 What it's Like to be in a Vat 221

Acknowledgments 237

Notes 239

Index 281

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