978-0-684-86578-2 / 9780684865782

The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation


Publisher:Free Press



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About the book:

What are the limits of self-knowledge? Acclaimed science writer John Horgan takes a penetrating look into the world of neuroscience in The Undiscovered Mind, a follow-up to his more general The End of Science. Already pessimistic about the long-term prospects for the grand endeavor of scientific progress, he finds even more reason for skepticism about the claims of those who study the brain and the mind. Will we ever cross the explanatory gap between our reductionist neuroanatomical knowledge and our everyday awareness of the qualities of our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings? Horgan's answer is no.

He's no neo-Luddite, though--his aim is not to disillusion the public, not to reduce funding, but to address the hubris of the neuroscientists, evolutionary psychologists, and artificial-intelligence researchers who all proclaim a new golden age just around the corner thanks to an imminent grand unified theory of consciousness, a theory Horgan believes unlikely and far off at best. His clear, entertaining prose is more conversational than polemic, and his verbal portraits of luminaries such as Eric Kandel and Lewis Wolpert make for engrossing, thoughtful reading. Even if you disagree with him, as many neuroscientists do, his point of view is refreshing and challenging, and hence well worth consideration. --Rob Lightner

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