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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. 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. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published December 1st by Mariner Books first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Looking for Spinoza , please sign up. BUt one mayx ask why Spinoza found it neceasray to incoprate it - and it is there. See all 5 questions about Looking for Spinoza…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Nov 29, Jon Stout rated it really liked it Recommends it for: idealists and reductive materialists. Shelves: philosophy. Inspired by Descartes' Error , and interested in a neurologist's interest in philosophers, I sought out Looking for Spinoza.
It rewarded me in several ways, first by extending my understanding of how emotions as a biological concept are continuous with feelings as a conscious, mental phenomenon, and second by providing a guided, personal investigation into the life of Bento-Baruch-Benedict Spinoza.
Damasio has a lot to say about emotions and the structure of the brain, some of it exhaustingly deta Inspired by Descartes' Error , and interested in a neurologist's interest in philosophers, I sought out Looking for Spinoza. Damasio has a lot to say about emotions and the structure of the brain, some of it exhaustingly detailed. But the key area for me was in matching what I might introspectively think and feel, with Damasio's experimentally substantiated knowledge of the routes through the neural pathways that electrical and chemical signals follow.
One example would lie in Damasio's distinction between emotions and feelings, which I had previously taken to be roughly synonomous. Damasio says that emotions are instinctual reactions that all animals have as a way of coping with environmental stimuli.
They are not necessarily conscious. But feelings, according to Damasio, are our conscious perceptions of our bodily states as we are having emotions. Thus a worm can react with alarm, but we conscious beings feel our bodies change when we are alarmed, and we can be alerted to consider why we are alarmed and what we want to do about it.
The less theoretical and more personally appealing part of the book is Damasio's personal quest to trace out the life of Spinoza, whose philosophy, Damasio believes, anticipates many of his own findings and conclusions.
I love Damasio's drive to fit his scientific work into a philosophical overview, which is both theoretical and personal. Damasio is originally Portuguese, and I can't help feeling that he is driven in part by a sense of kinship with a man who might have shared some of his cultural experiences, albeit separated by centuries.
Much of the research on Spinoza is in Portuguese, showing some intensive effort. Spinoza was a Portuguese Jew whose family fled the inquisition for a relatively tolerant Holland. There Spinoza participated in the Jewish community, but eventually was alienated from it, because he had attained views of his own, characteristic of the Enlightenment.
Spinoza's odyssey is inspiring, as is Damasio's obvious admiration of it, and his own efforts to model his own life as a scientist on a comparable philosophical framework. As I get older smile , I love it when science and philosophy get personal. View all 6 comments. Nov 12, Stephen rated it it was ok. This book is, by turns, interesting and frustrating. Damasio knows his stuff when it comes to the details of neuroscience which is to be expected because this is his field and the details he supplies are fascinating.
Also he is often unclear as to whether the processes he describes are operating at a conscious or unconscious level. Then at one point in the book he almost implies that cells themselves are conscious.
The parallel thread in the book concerns the seventeenth century Dutch philosopher Spinoza. Many interesting and fascinating details of his life and work are presented, but Damasio again tries to shoehorn these ideas into his own overblown model of brain function. On the whole, if you have time to spare, you will find some interesting facts here, both about how the brain works and about Spinoza. You may well find the same information more clearly presented elsewhere.
View 2 comments. I also enjoyed that Damasio included a bit of philosophical flavor throughout the whole of this book. I read the book with an open mind yet could not help but think of my clients as their difficulties with feelings, affect, and emotion regulation are relevant to the topic.
I find this idea hard to grasp because of the simplicity it suggests regarding emotion regulation. A section that I also enjoyed reading and find applicable to my work as a clinician is that of joy and sorrow.
Many clients seek therapy for problems they have related to attachment or interpersonal skills. I found this book to be interesting, applicable to clinical psychology, and, for the most part, easy to read. I liked his style of writing, was entertained with his fascination with Spinoza, and inspired by his passion for neuroscience.
Oct 28, Randal Samstag rated it did not like it Shelves: philosophy. Quoted from the review, by philosopher of mind, Colin McGinn: "I have two things to say about this theory: it is unoriginal, and it is false.
As anyone even remotely familiar with this topic is aware, what Damasio presents here is known as the ''James-Lange'' theory of emotion, after the two psychologists, William James and Carl G. Lange, who thought of it independently in the 's. Not once does Damasio refer to it by this name, and he makes only very cursory reference to James's version of the theory. He generally writes as if he were advancing a startling discovery, mere hints of which, with the benefit of hindsight, can be extracted from Spinoza and James.
In fact, the theory is a standard chestnut of psychology textbooks, a staple of old-style behaviorist psychology, with its emphasis on outer behavior at the expense of inner feeling. The errors of the theory are chiefly those of exaggeration. While it is a truism that whistling a happy tune can improve your mood so that external actions can initiate a change of emotional state, it by no means follows that feelings play no causal role in the production of behavior.
And it is quite clear that an emotion can shape the course of a person's actions over time, as when someone stays in bed all day because he feels depressed.
We do often cry because we are sad -- even though the crying can work to augment the feeling. There is causal interplay between feelings and their bodily expression, rather than a one-way dependence. The fact, cited by Damasio, that a bodily fear response can precede a conscious feeling of fear does not show that once the feeling is present it has no causal control over behavior -- and it clearly does, as with fleeing and hiding. What about the idea that an emotion is a bodily perception?
Suppose I am delighted that my son has become a doctor. I may have various sensations in my body that express this emotion -- say, lightness in my limbs and a warm feeling in my viscera. But the object of my delight is not my body; it is my son's success.
My bodily sensations are directed to my body and my emotion is directed to my son. Therefore my emotion cannot be identical to my bodily sensations -- for the two have different objects. This refutes the James-Lange theory. As Wittgenstein remarks in his classic discussion of this theory, the horribleness of my grief when someone I love dies cannot be explained as the horribleness of the sensations I feel in my body. It results, rather, from the horribleness of what my grief is about; my bodily sensations may not be particularly horrible in themselves.
Nor do we try to assuage someone's grief by attending to her bodily sensations; instead we talk about what she is grieving over. The James-Lange theory fails because it ignores what philosophers call the intentionality of emotion -- that is, what emotions are about, their representational content, which are generally things outside the body.
The theory tries to reduce an emotion to its sensory bodily symptoms, but these symptoms have the wrong kind of intentionality: the state of the body, not the state of the external world. View all 3 comments. Nov 10, Elizabeth rated it really liked it. In Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain Antonio Damasio uses neurological and physiological markers to delineate the process of emotions and feelings.
Then, he further integrates these scientific findings with social studies. This in and of itself was quite impressive and perhaps demonstrates the fields e.
ISBN 13: 9788423344970
His work on the role of affect in the process of decision-making has made a major impact in neuroscience and psychology and has been distinguished with the Grawemeyer Award in and the Honda Prize in He is the author of numerous scientific articles and the recipient of many awards as the Prince of Asturias Prize in Science and Technology in We ask you to take care of it since there is no replacement. Our e-mail is: contacto ciudaddelasideas. Ideasta, play unlimited contents of CDI, talk with other Ideastas and access to your profile when you register on our new website. Participation in CDI:
Antonio Damasio - En Busca De Spinoza
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