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Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (1994)

by Antonio Damasio

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,346316,715 (3.88)15
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.… (more)
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» See also 15 mentions

English (26)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
The writing style was dull and repetitive compared to more recent works on the same topic. Nonfiction has apparently become a lot more readable in the past twenty years. ( )
  soulforged | Jan 7, 2024 |
El estilo es un poco lento y pesado. ( )
  amlobo | Jan 1, 2024 |
Clears up some ways to think about Descartes and his simplified, maybe circular ideas. Still, he did start a philosophical revolution. He wrote in French, for one thing, not Latin. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 10, 2023 |
My rating might be a bit unfair because (without realizing it!) I read the 1994/5 edition. The writing in that version was incredibly technical for someone who did not go to med school or major in chemistry. Nonetheless, the concept of where the "self" resides is fascinating. Also, a heck of a lot of neurological research has been done since 1995. I would be interested in the new edition once I flipped through and convinced myself that the author had a new editor. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
Have read for school and still remember some parts, a basic book to understand António Damasio and dont not so easy to understand as scientific (but it makes part of the science to be not so easy to understand). A case very well explained and have to publically rated it because why not ( )
  FlavioMiguelPereira | Jul 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Antonio Damasioprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ros, JoandomènecTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Although I cannot tell for certain what sparked my interest in the neural underpinnings of reason, I do know when I became convinced that the traditional views on the nature of rationality could not be correct.
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We are, and then we think, and we think only inasmuch as we are, since thinking is indeed caused by the structures and operations of being.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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