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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking but not always Convincing, 23 July 2012
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This review is from: Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity (Hardcover)
Aping Mankind does a lot to illustrate that both current neuroscience and evolutionary psychology are very blunt instruments when it comes to explaining the complexities of human behavior and human society. Tallis points out that we are much more than just our brains, we are a society and a community of minds. He seems to be motivated by the risk that simplistic analysis of human behavior degrades the richness and potential of humanity. We are more than animals. The book is worth reading for this alone. He also makes some interesting points in relation to free will. However other aspects are much less convincing. Tallis seems to think that some FUNDAMENTAL science remains to be discovered to explain subjective experience but he admits that he has no idea what that fundamental new science may be. In this he takes on many established philosophers and neuroscientists. He seems to assert that physical processes (at least as they are currently understood) cannot give rise to subjective experiences and yet he is, very reasonably, not suggesting a dualist mind/body model . In this area many of his arguments seemed much less convincing. But it was still worth reading to understand his view that current neuroscience will not eventually explain conscious experience without resorting to some new fundamental science and, perhaps more reasonably, factors beyond the brain itself. Many others will argue that, as in much of biology, we have the basic science we need barring the details of how it fits together. I enjoyed this thought provoking book.
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