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Anthony Damasio

Descartes' Error

Anthony Damasio Descartes' Error Emotion Reason And The Human Brain
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Since Descartes famously proclaimed, ""I think, therefore I am,"" science has often overlooked emotions as the source of a person’s true being. Even modern neuroscience has tended, until recently, to concentrate on the cognitive aspects of brain function, disregarding emotions. This attitude began to change with the publication of Descartes’ Error in 1995. Antonio Damasio—""one of the world’s leading neurologists"" (The New York Times)—challenged traditional ideas about the connection between emotions and rationality. In this wondrously engaging book, Damasio takes the reader on a journey of scientific discovery through a series of case studies, demonstrating what many of us have long suspected: emotions are not a luxury, they are essential to rational thinking and to normal social behavior.

Introduction xi

PART I

Unpleasantness in Vermont 3

Gage's Brain Revealed 20

A Modern Phineas Gage 34

In Colder Blood 52

PART II

Assembling an Explanation 83

Biological Regulation and Survival 114

Emotions and Feelings 127

The Somatic-Marker Hypothesis 165

PART III

Testing the Somatic-Marker Hypothesis 205

The Body-Minded Brain 223

A Passion for Reasoning 245

Postscriptum 253

Notes and References 269

Further Reading 293

Acknowledgments 299

Index 301

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