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Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain
Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza devoted much of his life’s work examining how these emotions supported human survival, yet hundreds of years later the biological roots of what we feel remain a mystery.
Leading neuroscientist Antonio Damasio—whose earlier books explore rational behavior and the notion of the self—rediscovers a man whose work ran counter to all the thinking of his day, pairing Spinoza’s insights with his own innovative scientific research to help us understand what we’re made of, and what we’re here for.
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To ask other readers questions about Looking for Spinozaplease sign up. Damxsio are the damaasio two books in the trilogy? Buscaa 1 question about Looking for Spinoza….
Lists with This Book. Nov 29, Jon Stout rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Inspired by Descartes’ Errorand interested in spnoza neurologist’s interest in philosophers, I sought out Looking for Spinoza. It rewarded me in several ways, first by extending my understanding of how emotions as a biological concept are continuous with feelings as a conscious, mental phenomenon, and second by providing a guided, personal investigation into the life of Bento-Baruch-Benedict Spinoza.
Damasio has a lot to say about emotions and the structure of the brain, some of it exhaustingly deta Inspired by Descartes’ Errorand interested in a neurologist’s interest in philosophers, I sought out Looking for Spinoza.
Damasio has a lot to say about emotions and the structure of the brain, some of it exhaustingly detailed.
But the key area for me was in matching what I might introspectively think and feel, with Damasio’s experimentally substantiated knowledge of the routes through the neural dpinoza that electrical and chemical signals follow. One example would lie in Damasio’s distinction between emotions and feelings, which I had previously taken to be roughly synonomous.
Damasio says that emotions are instinctual reactions that all animals have as a way of coping with environmental stimuli. They are not necessarily conscious. But feelings, according to Damasio, are our conscious perceptions of our bodily states as we are having emotions.
Thus a worm can react with alarm, but we conscious beings feel our bodies change when we are alarmed, and we can be alerted to consider why we are alarmed and what we want to do about it. The less theoretical and more personally appealing part of the book is Damasio’s personal quest to trace out the life of Spinoza, whose philosophy, Damasio believes, anticipates many of his own findings and conclusions. I love Damasio’s drive to fit his scientific work into a philosophical overview, which is both theoretical and personal.
Damasio is originally Portuguese, and I can’t help feeling that he is driven in part by a sense of kinship with a man who might have shared some of his cultural experiences, albeit separated by centuries.
Much of the research on Spinoza is in Portuguese, showing some intensive effort. Spinoza was a Portuguese Jew whose family fled the inquisition for a relatively tolerant Holland. There Spinoza participated in the Jewish community, but eventually was alienated from it, because he had attained views of his own, characteristic of the Enlightenment.
Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain by António R. Damásio
Spinoza’s odyssey is inspiring, as is Damasio’s obvious admiration of it, and his own efforts to model his own life as a scientist on a comparable philosophical framework. As I get older smileI love it when science and philosophy get personal. Nov 12, Stephen rated it it was ok. This book is, by turns, interesting and frustrating. Damasio knows his stuff when it comes to the details of neuroscience which is to be expected because this is his field and the details he supplies are fascinating.
Also he is often unclear as to whether the processes he describes are operating at a conscious or unconscious level. Then at one point in the book he almost implies that cells themselves are conscious. The parallel thread in the book concerns the seventeenth century Dutch philosopher Spinoza.
Many interesting and fascinating details of his life and work are presented, but Damasio again tries to shoehorn these ideas into his own overblown model of brain function.
On the whole, if you have time to spare, you will find some interesting facts here, both about how the brain works and about Spinoza.
You may well find the same information more clearly presented elsewhere. Jan 28, Dragos C Butuzea rated it really liked it. I also enjoyed that Damasio included a bit of philosophical flavor throughout the whole of this book. I read the book with an open mind yet could not help but think of my clients as their difficulties with feelings, affect, and emotion regulation are relevant to the topic.
I find this idea hard to grasp because of the simplicity it suggests regarding emotion regulation. A section that I also enjoyed reading and find applicable to my work as a clinician is that of joy and sorrow. Many clients seek therapy for problems they have related to attachment or interpersonal skills. I found this book to be interesting, applicable to clinical psychology, and, for the most part, easy to read. I liked his style of writing, was entertained with his fascination with Spinoza, and inspired by his passion for neuroscience.
Nov 10, Elizabeth rated it really liked it. In Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain Antonio Damasio uses neurological and physiological markers to delineate the process of emotions and feelings. Then, he further integrates these scientific findings with social studies. This in and of itself was quite impressive and perhaps demonstrates the fields e. Of In Looking for Spinoza: Of particular interest to me was when Damasio indicated that problems in the environment prompt self-preserving behavior.
This perspective is very much in line with behaviorist thinking. However, on a more psychodynamic note, it makes me think about how personality becomes engrained, especially in the case of individuals with personality disorders.
It makes me think about how crucial early relationships with significant others are. Conceptualizing psychopathology from the perspective that most behavior is aimed at self-preservation helps me conceptualize clients that may be difficult to work with from a different, perhaps more empathic, perspective. The d of energy that they expend in that process at times is significant. In the avoidance of unwanted feelings sometimes more emotional slinoza emanates rather than in accepting feelings as indicators that something in going on within.
Perhaps, offering a metaphor of busxa unpleasant feeling being akin to a physical marker of pain e. The conceptualizing of the emotional healing process within the framework of a physical injury may also help our clients more holistically integrate and accept their feelings. Overall, the book was full of food for thought. It was filled with clinical relevance and is worthy of keeping on a shelf as a book that could be re-visited for varying purposes e.
Spnioza 13, cole rated it did not like damasuo. If you buy the Enlightenment belief that scientific truth can be obtained and man made better for it, then take my review with a spioza of salt. If you are convinced of the fact that using the terms “bad” and “human nature” in the same sentence is pretty acceptable, you won’t like this too much. Damasio’s science seems interesting enough and does pose some engaging questions.
However, there are far too many condescending logical leaps for me to stomach. The low point came with the rather absurd s If you buy the Enlightenment belief that scientific truth can be obtained and man made better for busfa, then take my review with a grain of salt.
The low point came with the rather absurd statement that placing self-preservation and it’s biological mechanisms at the center of human ethical systems was in no way problematic, as if that hadn’t been the ostensible justification for a horde of repugnant choices, national efforts and reform programs throughout history.
This was far too much Nietzsche in sheeps clothing and far too little virtue.
As a classmate noted, the parts about Spinoza are interesting. View all 3 comments. Dec 04, Michael rated it it was ok. Looking for Spinoza is essentially two books wishing it could be one. The first half covers the neurobiology of emotional life. Damasio lays out an interesting overview for a lay reader of how the brain operates as a self regulatory system, connecting this self-regulation to emotions and feelings.
The second half is essentially a slim biography of Spinoza. Unfortunately, for a man whose major life events consisted of excommunication, writing philosophy and grinding lenses until he died, there is Looking for Spinoza is essentially two books wishing it could be one. Unfortunately, for a man whose major life events consisted of excommunication, writing philosophy and grinding lenses until he died, there isn’t much that Damasio could add to our knowledge of Spinoza.
Damasio clearly wants to do more with Spinoza’s philosophy and Neurobiology, he just does not have the command of the philosophy to pull it off. Jan 26, Divya Palevski rated it liked it. I liked this book but found some parts weary to read. When Damasio writes about the neurology of the feeling brainit is easy to assemble the author’s love for his subject.
However, found his sentence structuring elaborately wounded I had to read some sentences twice and repetitive. I believe in Monolism and the idea of feelings variably related to the homeostasis of the b I liked this book but found some parts weary to read. I believe in Monolism and the idea of feelings variably related to the homeostasis of the body makes great sense.
Sep 18, Mariana Ferreira rated it really liked it Shelves: Os mecanismos, permanecem, no entanto, semi obscuros. Por mais um dia. Connosco e com os que amamos.
Essa paz apesar de. Por ter sido e por termos acontecido.