Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain
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.