Saturday, October 22, 2011

Contra Neuromania and Darwinitis

Raymond Tallis

I confess to having some neuromania ("some neuromania" may be a contradiction). "Neuromania" is an obsession with neural studies and their implications for all things human. I am certainly fascinated by this, and find it important. But some scholars complain that neural studies do not explain as much as some are claiming.

Clinical neuroscientist Raymond Tallis, in his new book Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, "argues that neuroscientific approaches to things like love, wisdom, and beauty are flawed because you can't reduce the mind to brain activity alone. And, like a school bully, Tallis taunts philosophers whose views he opposes, like Patricia S. Churchland (he calls her the "Queen of Neuromania"), John Gray (author of "misanthropic ravings"), and Daniel C. Dennett ("neuroscience groupie")." ("Raymond Tallis Takes Out the "Neurotrash"") 

Tallis's book is contra Biologism, which is the belief that human beings are essentially animals and can be understood in biological terms. This view is gaining increasing acceptance in contemporary thought. I'll be following this discussion as long as my brain holds out.