Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain

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9780393058321: Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain

"Marvelous...A trustworthy guide, [Churchland] gives comfort not by simplifying the research but by asking the right questions." -- Jascha Hoffman "Patricia Churchland may be the world's leading neuro-philosopher today, but she also hails from humble beginnings in rural Canada. And that plainspoken farm girl, that second self, is on full display in this beautiful, unpretentious, enchanting exploration of mind, morals, and the meaning of life." -- Owen Flanagan, author of The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World "It is hard to conceive of a better guide to this difficult terrain than the MacArthur-award-winning Ms. Churchland...[She] writes with surpassing clarity, elegance, humor and modesty." -- Abigail Zuger "Touching a Nerve is like a refreshing, bracing prairie breeze blowing away the cobwebs and obfuscation of so much philosophy and neuroscience. It is dazzlingly clear, down to earth, and often funny." -- Alison Gopnik, author of The Philosophical Baby: What Children "Bold, deeply insightful and biological to the core, with a warm and soothing touch of humanity." -- Joaquin Fuster, author of The Prefrontal Cortex "Engagingly written, Touching a Nerve takes the reader on a spellbinding journey into the workings of the human brain and the relevance of neuroscience to our daily lives. It will interest anyone who thinks that good philosophy needs be grounded in good science or who is simply curious about how understanding the brain can help us make sense of the human condition. A terrific read!" -- David Livingstone Smith, author of Less than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others "Churchland creates a compelling narrative to further the idea of the self as brain... Through her examples, we can all come to understand our actions and intentions more clearly." -- Moheb Costandi


I have spent a quarter century writing about the brain and yet I am rarely aware that I even have one. In this remarkably moving and deeply personal book, Patricia Churchland, one of the founders of the field of neurophilosophy, reminds us all that we not only have a brain and how it works, but she plumbs the depths of philosophy's biggest questions from a neuroscience perspective and thereby opens new vistas about ourselves and our humanity. --Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of The Believing Brain "...accurate and commendably up to date." Nature " of the most measured, reasonable and clear introductions to the current state of brain research and its implications for who and what we are." Financial Times "...the philosopher Patricia Churchland defies her neuro-fundamentalist reputation to present a supremely measured, sensible and readable account of the brain's role in making us who we are." Julian Baggani, Books of the Year 2013, The Observer "This book provides an excellent overview and introduction to the fascinating subject of neurophilosophy...Churchland has succeeded in creating a thought-provoking and impassioned exploration of how our brain works and what that says about us." The Biologist "Churchland's accessible and well-written account of neuroscientific, psychological and biological theories is accurate and up-to-date." Institute of Philosophy SAS

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