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Gregg D. Caruso and Owen Flanagan, Neuroexistentialism: Meaning, Morals and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience (Oxford University Press), Pages: 392, Price: $35, ISBN-10: 0190460733 and ISBN-13: 978-0190460730

Gregg D. Caruso and Owen Flanagan, Neuroexistentialism: Meaning, Morals and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience (Oxford University Press), Pages: 392, Price: $35, ISBN-10: 0190460733 and ISBN-13: 978-0190460730

Thomas W. Clark

Institute for Behavioral Health, Brandeis University.
 
Email: twclark3@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

The naturalization of human nature proceeds apace, driven by science, in particular neuroscience as it maps the brain processes that mediate choice and behavior. Where the soul once presided, there are, it turns out, only neurons in fantastically complex structures which somehow maintain the coherent psychological and behavioral pattern – character, beliefs, desires – that constitutes each of us as a person. The feeling of being a singular self that owns these characteristics is real enough, but there’s no indivisible thing to which that feeling refers. Rather, it’s the result of a subset of neural goings-on tasked with reliably distinguishing the physical person from the rest of the world, all in service to effective action. For reasons under investigation by neuroscientists and philosophers, doing that job somehow produces the subjective sense of me being me, of you being you. 
 

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