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9780151005574

Looking for Spinoza

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780151005574

  • ISBN10:

    0151005575

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2003-02-01
  • Publisher: Harcourt

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Summary

Completing the trilogy that began with Descartes' Error and continued with The Feeling of What Happens, noted neuroscientist Antonio Damasio now focuses the full force of his research and wisdom on emotions. He shows how joy and sorrow are cornerstones of our survival. As he investigates the cerebral mechanisms behind emotions and feelings, Damasio argues that the internal regulatory processes not only preserve life within ourselves, but they create, motivate, and even shape our greatest cultural accomplishments.If Descartes declared a split between mind and body, Spinoza not only unified the two but intuitively understood the role of emotions in human survival and culture. So it is Spinoza who accompanies Damasio as he journeys back to the seventeenth century in search of a philosopher who, in Damasio's view, prefigured modern neuroscience. In Looking for Spinoza Damasio brings us closer to understanding the delicate interaction between affect, consciousness, and memory--the processes that both keep us alive and make life worth living.

Author Biography

Antonio Damasio is the Van Allen Distinguished Professor and head of the department of neurology at the University of Iowa Medical Center and is an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.

Table of Contents

Enter Feelings
Enter Feelingsp. 3
The Haguep. 8
Looking for Spinozap. 15
Bewarep. 17
In the Paviljoensgrachtp. 23
Of Appetites and Emotions
Trust Shakespearep. 27
Emotions Precede Feelingsp. 29
A Nesting Principlep. 37
More on the Emotion-Related Reactions: From Simple Homeostatic Regulation to Emotions-Properp. 38
The Emotions of Simple Organismsp. 40
The Emotions-Properp. 43
A Hypothesis in the Form of a Definitionp. 53
The Brain Machinery of Emotionp. 54
Triggering and Executing Emotionsp. 57
Out of the Bluep. 65
The Brain Stem Switchp. 73
Out-of-the-Blue Laughterp. 74
Laughter and Some More Cryingp. 77
From the Active Body to the Mindp. 79
Feelings
What Feelings Arep. 83
Is There More to Feelings than the Perception of Body State?p. 89
Feelings Are Interactive Perceptionsp. 91
Mixing Memory with Desire: An Asidep. 93
Feelings in the Brain: New Evidencep. 96
A Comment on Related Evidencep. 101
Some More Corroborating Evidencep. 104
The Substrate of Feelingsp. 105
Who Can Have Feelings?p. 109
Body States versus Body Mapsp. 111
Actual Body States and Simulated Body Statesp. 112
Natural Analgesiap. 113
Empathyp. 115
Hallucinating the Bodyp. 118
The Chemicals of Feelingp. 119
Varieties of Drug-Induced Felicityp. 121
Enter the Naysayersp. 124
More Naysayersp. 126
Ever Since Feelings
Of Joy and Sorrowp. 137
Feelings and Social Behaviorp. 140
Inside a Decision-Making Mechanismp. 144
What the Mechanism Accomplishesp. 147
The Breakdown of a Normal Mechanismp. 150
Damage to Prefrontal Cortex in the Very Youngp. 152
What If the World?p. 155
Neurobiology and Ethical Behaviorsp. 159
Homeostasis and the Governance of Social Lifep. 166
The Foundation of Virtuep. 170
What Are Feelings For?p. 175
Body, Brain, and Mind
Body and Mindp. 183
The Hague, December 2, 1999p. 184
The Invisible Bodyp. 187
Losing the Body and Losing the Mindp. 191
The Assembly of Body Imagesp. 195
A Qualificationp. 198
The Construction of Realityp. 198
Seeing Thingsp. 200
About the Origins of the Mindp. 204
Body, Mind, and Spinozap. 209
Closing with Dr. Tulpp. 217
A Visit to Spinoza
Rijnsburg, July 6, 2000p. 223
The Agep. 224
The Hague, 1670p. 227
Amsterdam, 1632p. 230
Ideas and Eventsp. 236
The Uriel da Costa Affairp. 240
Jewish Persecution and the Marrano Traditionp. 245
Excommunicationp. 250
The Legacyp. 254
Beyond the Enlightenmentp. 258
The Hague, 1677p. 261
The Libraryp. 262
Spinoza in My Mindp. 263
Who's There?
The Contented Lifep. 267
Spinoza's Solutionp. 273
The Effectiveness of a Solutionp. 277
Spinozismp. 279
Happy Endings?p. 283
Appendicesp. 291
Notesp. 299
Glossaryp. 333
Acknowledgmentsp. 337
Indexp. 339
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Excerpts

CHAPTER 1Enter FeelingsEnter FeelingsFeelings of pain or pleasure or some quality in between are the bedrock of our minds. We often fail to notice this simple reality because the mental images of the objects and events that surround us, along with the images of the words and sentences that describe them, use up so much of our overburdened attention. But there they are, feelings of myriad emotions and related states, the continuous musical line of our minds, the unstoppable humming of the most universal of melodies that only dies down when we go to sleep, a humming that turns into all-out singing when we are occupied by joy, or a mournful requiem when sorrow takes over.*Given the ubiquity of feelings, one would have thought that their science would have been elucidated long ago-what feelings are, how they work, what they mean-but that is hardly the case. Of all the mental phenomena we can describe, feelings and their essential ingredients-pain and pleasure-are the least understood in biological and specifically neurobiological terms. This is all the more puzzling considering that advanced societies cultivate feelings shamelessly and dedicate so many resources and efforts to manipulating those feelings with alcohol, drugs of abuse, medical drugs, food, real sex, virtual sex, all manner of feel-good consumption, and all manner of feel-good social and religious practices. We doctor our feelings with pills, drinks, health spas, workouts, and spiritual exercises, but neither the public nor science have yet come to grips with what feelings are, biologically speaking.I am not really surprised at this state of affairs, considering what I grew up believing about feelings. Most of it simply was not true. For example, I thought that feelings were impossible to define with specificity, unlike objects you could see, hear, or touch. Unlike those concrete entities, feelings were intangible. When I started musing about how the brain managed to create the mind, I accepted the established advice that feelings were out of the scientific picture. One could study how the brain makes us move. One could study sensory processes, visual and otherwise, and understand how thoughts are put together. One could study how the brain learns and memorizes thoughts. One could even study the emotional reactions with which we respond to varied objects and events. But feelings-which can be distinguished from emotions, as we shall see in the next chapter-remained elusive. Feelings were to stay forever mysterious. They were private and inaccessible. It was not possible to explain how feelings happened or where they happened. One simply could not get "behind" feelings.As was the case with consciousness, feelings were beyond the bounds of science, thrown outside the door not just by the naysayers who worry that anything mental might actually be explained by neuroscience, but by card-carrying neuroscientists themselves, proclaiming allegedly insurmountable limitations. My own w

Excerpted from Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain by Antonio Damasio
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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