What Makes Us Think?
A Neuroscientist and a Philosopher Argue About Ethics, Human Nature and the Brain
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What Makes Us Think? by Jean-Pierre Changeux
Book DescriptionWill understanding our brains help us to know our minds? Or is there an unbridgeable distance between the work of neuroscience and the workings of human consciousness? In a remarkable exchange between neuroscientist Jean-Pierre Changeux and philosopher Paul Ricoeur, this book explores the vexed territory between these divergent approaches--and comes to a deeper, more complex perspective on human nature. Ranging across diverse traditions, from phrenology to PET scans and from Spinoza to Charles Taylor, What Makes Us Think? revolves around a central issue: the relation between the facts (or "what is") of science and the prescriptions (or "what ought to be") of ethics. Changeux and Ricoeur ask: Will neuroscientific knowledge influence our moral conduct? Is a naturally based ethics possible? Pursuing these questions, they attack key topics at the intersection of philosophy and neuroscience: What are the relations between brain states and psychological experience? Between language and truth? Memory and culture? Behavior and action? What is a mental representation? How does a sign relate to what it signifies? How might subjective experience be constructed rather than discovered? And can biological or cultural evolution be considered progressive? Throughout, Changeux and Ricoeur provide unprecedented insight into what neuroscience can--and cannot--tell us about the nature of human experience. Changeux and Ricoeur bring an unusual depth of engagement and breadth of knowledge to each other's subject. In doing so, they make two often hostile disciplines speak to one another in surprising and instructive ways--and speak with all the subtlety and passion of conversation at its very best.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691092850
(203mm x 127mm x 22mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 4-Feb-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Jean-Pierre Changeux
Good, the True, and the Beautiful, Hardback (May 2012)
An eminent neurobiologist reflects on the human brain, connecting recent scientific findings with ideas from an array of other disciplines
Physiology of Truth, Paperback (March 2009)
Drawing on provocative findings about the psychophysiology of perception and judgment in both human and nonhuman primates, and also on the cultural history of science, this title makes a case for the reality of scientific progress and argues that it forms the basis for a coherent and universal theory of human rights.
Origins of the Human Brain, Paperback (July 1996)» View all books by Jean-Pierre Changeux
This work presents the views of a group of scientists from the fields of anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology, to provide a starting point for a debate based on the most recent scientific data relating to the evolutionary origins of the human brain.
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Author Biography - Jean-Pierre Changeux
Jean-Pierre Changeux, Professor of Neurobiology at the College de France, is the author of Neuronal Man and, with Alain Connes, Conversations on Mind, Matter, and Mathematics (both Princeton). Paul Ricoeur is a hermeneutic philosopher and the author of many books, including Time and Narrative.
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