Touching a Nerve: Our Brains, Our Selves

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What happens when we accept that everything we feel and think stems not from an immaterial spirit but from electrical and chemical activity in our brains? In this thought-provoking narrative—drawn from professional expertise as well as personal life experiences—trailblazing neurophilosopher Patricia S. Churchland grounds the philosophy of mind in the essential ingredients of biology.

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She reflects with humor on how she came to harmonize science and philosophy, the mind and the brain, abstract ideals and daily life. Offering lucid explanations of the neural workings that underlie identity, she reveals how the latest research into consciousness, memory, and free will can help us reexamine enduring philosophical, ethical, and spiritual questions: What shapes our personalities? How do we account for near-death experiences?

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Patricia Churchland wants to shake worlds again. She studies the brain and philosophy.


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And her message is this. That the more we know about the brain, the clearer it becomes that the brain is each of us.

Publications - Patricia Churchland

No soul, she says. She knows that rocks world now. Sanford Goldberg , professor of philosophy at Northwestern University.


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Churchland gives a nuanced account of sex, violence and morality, working up gently but ambitiously from brain chemicals to ethical norms. In stock online Usually dispatched within 24 hours. Quantity Add to basket.

The Self as Brain - Patricia Churchland

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At the heart of Touching a Nerve is the question of what happens when we accept that everything we feel, think and experience stems not from an immaterial soul but from electrical and chemical activity in our brains. Patricia Churchland, one of the pioneers of neurophilosophy, explains what the latest brain research into consciousness, sensory experience, memory and free will can tell us about the enduring philosophical and ethical questions about what the self is, how our personalities are created and what determines our decisions and behaviour.

As Churchland reveals, once we accept that our brains determine everything about who we are and how we experience the world, neuroscience offers new, critical insights into a fascinating range of ethical and philosophical dilemmas. Added to basket.

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Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum. Leonard Susskind. Predictably Irrational. Dan Ariely.

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