Book Club: Aping Mankind, Neuromania & Darwinitis

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    Description: "In a devastating critique Raymond Tallis (a neurologist and philosopher) exposes the exaggerated claims made for the ability of neuroscience and evolutionary theory to explain human consciousness, behaviour, culture and society.

    While readily acknowledging the astounding progress neuroscience has made in helping us understand how the brain works, Tallis directs his guns at neuroscience’s dark companion – “Neuromania” as he describes it – the belief that brain activity is not merely a necessary but a sufficient condition for human consciousness and that consequently our everyday behaviour can be entirely understood in neural terms. "

    Raymond Tallis is both a neurologist and a philosopher, and his arguments are essential to our discussions; see his lecture here:

    If you wish to participate in the book club, please RSVP and order the book. We will then decide how to read/discuss the book (solo or in group)

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  • Ada

    i cannot finish this book, I have lost interest half-way through! (to the author's defense, it is rare that a book interests me until the end.) i do not hold logic in high esteem like he does (and came up with critiques to some of his logical arguments); besides, now I am interested in reading Dawkins on meme, which I found very interesting - so his critique of that had the opposite effect in me...

    February 17, 2014

  • Robert

    I'll be happy to generally uphold his stance during discussions. I find him quite contemporary, not behind the times at all, very reasonable and well-rounded. Also, I like that he is not living in theories but comes from a practical place, including years of medical practice actually dealing with human problems as well as years of self-taught philosophy studies and writings, not to mention that he is published as a novelist and poet. Able to see things clearly, unfettered by ideological positions. Very happy you have brought him to my attention.

    1 · November 29, 2013

    • Ada

      there is another saying: "You can always tell who the pioneers are because they have arrows in their back and are lying face down in the dirt."

      December 2, 2013

    • Naj

      i LOVE this expression

      December 2, 2013

  • Robert

    Naj - Really interesting to hear about 17th century angle. Also: good to hear that many in the field aren't drinking the reductionist kool-aid. I've known 2 people in neuroscience in my time, and they painted fairly reasonable pictures. I often consider where the scientism comes from connected with science, and I think maybe it is largely due to the popularization literature (& market!!) and some of it's readership. People don't get that when a scientist is popularizing, writing advocacy, and exposing their hopes for future directions and breakthroughs, they are not doing science, and there is little or nothing scientific about this activity. It is opinion. And as such, just as fraught with personal taste and idiosyncracy as any political blog. Some, I believe, think they're 'being more scientific' or logical if they are reading science popularizations. I think this is one main source of critically unexamined reductionism nowadays. Anyway, look forward to more about your article.

    November 29, 2013

    • Naj

      Robert, that's what it is, really. This is the reason why we have this group; to save science from scientism; and to understand at which curb we fall off of the wagon. Looking forward to meeting you soon. (If you can, do come to Allan Young's talk, he is a sociologist who has gripes with the same issues)

      November 30, 2013

  • Carol A.

    I'm really at odds with this author !! Not sure if I can even join the group for discussion. He seems to be years behind the times. His philosophical approach is so broad that it would take another book to refute each of his claims.

    November 29, 2013

    • Naj

      But this is why we want to have a discussion :) And a book that refutes his claims would be welcome!

      2 · November 29, 2013

  • Ada

    Thank you for suggesting this book, Naj. I have just started to read it. The author is erudite and quite caustic in his remarks. Now let's see if he can heal me from misanthropy, neuromania and Darwinitis! :))) For that, he will have to explain genocide, the Holocaust, the prevalent violence against women and sexism (what's up with terms like MANkind?), bullying, lack of critical thinking/herd mentality (see celebrity and religious hysteria), resistance to change and new ideas. As of now, I think that what differentiates us from animals is stupidity and gratuitous violence!

    2 · November 27, 2013

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17 going

  • Naj
    Event Host

    My name is Naj Mahani. I am a biomedical engineer (human brain mapper), a neuroscientist­ and a... more

  • Tan

    I am a Master's student in Chemical engineering. My project involves neural tissue regeneration..­. more

  • Azadeh

    My name is Azi. I am a master student in psychiatry. I want to know about brain function, and... more

  • Andrew

    I am a writer currently working on a proposal for a book-length essay about the public... more

  • Eugene

    Brain is where our Mind lives. It's plastic, it learns and changes.... more

  • Emmanuel

    Hi, Curious Montrealer and " 200th member of Brain, Self Society meeting". Thanks... more

  • Mili


  • Caroline K.

    Je suis vétérinaire en comportement canin/zoothéra­peute en CHSLD/étudiant­e à la maîtrise en... more

  • Rafi

    Interested in some of the topics in this group. Sounds like a great idea!

  • Monica

    Interested in neuroscience, language, memory and decision making.

  • Carol A.

    would love to meet others interested in brain function and related subjects !

  • Barbara M.

    Hi, I'm Barbara - a global marketing and communications­ professional with an interest in... more

  • Ada

    i am a postmodern relativist, nihilistic and materialistic-­reductionist (you ARE your brain and... more

  • Robert

    Before I could speak, I would sit on my grandmother's Oriental carpet and stare at the patterns,... more

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