Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain
ISBN 10: 9780156028714
ISBN 13: 978-0156028714
The last in a trilogy of books that investigates the philosophical and scientific foundations of human life
Joy, sorrow, jealousy, and awe—these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza devoted much of his life's work examining how these emotions supported human survival, yet hundreds of years later the biological roots of what we feel remain a mystery. Leading neuroscientist Antonio Damasio—whose earlier books explore rational behavior and the notion of the self—rediscovers a man whose work ran counter to all the thinking of his day, pairing Spinoza's insights with his own innovative scientific research to help us understand what we're made of, and what we're here for.
"Clear, accessible and at times eloquent . . . Nothing less than a new vision of the human soul."-San Francisco Chronicle
"Exceptionally engaging and profoundly gratifying."-Nature
From the Inside Flap
Joy, sorrow, jealousy, and awe--these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. Thought to be too private for science to explain and not essential for understanding cognition, they have largely been ignored. But not by Spinoza, and not by Antonio Damasio. Here, in a humane work of science, Damasio draws on his innovative research and on his experience with neurological patients to examine how feelings and the emotions that underlie them support human survival and enable the spirit's greatest creations.
Looking for Spinoza reveals the biology of our sophisticated survival mechanisms. It rediscovers a thinker whose work prefigures modern neuroscience, not only in his emphasis on emotions and feelings, but also in his refusal to separate mind and body. Together, the scientist and the philosopher help us understand what we're made of, and what we're here for. Based on laboratory investigations but moving beyond those to society and culture, "Looking for Spinoza" is a master work of science and writing.
Antonio Damasio, widely recognized as one of the world's leading neuroscientists, has for decades been investigating the neurobiological foundations of human life. In "Descartes' Error" he explored the importance of emotion in rational behavior, and in "The Feeling of What Happens" he developed the neurobiology of the self. Damasio's new book on feeling and emotion offers unexpected grounds for optimism about our survival and the human condition.