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Customer Review

on 24 March 1999
This is a dissapointing book. LeDoux sets out to correct the concentration on rationality rather than emotion in explaning brain function. Cognitive Science - the new science of mind - "is really a science of only a part of the mind, the part having to do with thinking, reasoning and intellect"[p25]. Unfortunately this book lacks a philosophical backbone, it is an account of research and experiment that does not cohere into an explanation. Also it is limited to the authors research on primarily one emotion - fear; emotions are far more complex, far more integrated into the cognitive process. I am not even confident that the biochemistry is reliable: see page 221 - "Proteins appear to be important because they make up genes" ! This is a practitioners view, too close to the laboratory bench. The final chapter speculates about the future evolution of the brain , the link between emotion and concious reason, but it is as pointless to speculate about a future brain with only the one we have as to think "what it is like to be a bat". What is lacking is a philosophical reflection - what does this knowledge of mechanism imply for theories of mind and behaviour?
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