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It has been remarked that if the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t. Commencing with a brief history of neuroscience, from the ancient practice of drilling holes in the head to relieve headaches to the latest results from MRI and CT scans, this accessible guide sets out to explore exactly what we do know about the brain. Including the most up-to-date research on the cerebral processes behind a wide array of human activity – from our capacity for language to how we remember – this lively and entertaining introduction assumes no previous scientific knowledge and offers a tantalizing glimpse into man’s most complex organ. Ammar Al-Chalabi is Honourary Consultant Neurologist at King’s College Hospital, and a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. R. Shane Delamont is a Consultant Neurologist at King’s College Hospital, and Martin Turner is Wellcome Fellow in Neurology at The Institute of Psychiatry. All three have extensive experience of teaching the key principles of neuroscience, and between them their specialist fields of expertise cover all of the main areas of contemporary brain research.
Why are we fascinated with celebrity? Why are we attracted to the wrong people? What does ‘passive aggressive’ really mean? Can astrology really be a good indicator of personality? Sex, envy, survival, joy – Martin gets to the very heart of what it is to be human. A broad yet concise book – and so timely: psychology has never been more popular. From TV experts to the amateur musings of your best friend, the language of psychology has permeated all aspects of everyday modern life. Informed by cutting-edge research, and from one of the world’s leading psychologists, this is the most engaging non-fiction book you’ll read all year. Dr G Neil Martin is Principal Lecturer in Psychology at Middlesex University U.K.
Philosophy, the “love of wisdom”, is the product of our endless fascination and curiosity about the world – the child of wonder. Through it, we seek to answer the most fundamental of questions: How do we know what we know? Does God exist? What is beauty? How should we live our lives? Who am I? In this exhilarating tour, Peter Cave navigates all the main topics in the subject with verve and clarity, from political philosophy to existentialism. Using witty and whimsical examples, including stoical sofas and Reg, the “regular” human, who just happens to carry his brain in a rucksack, Cave provides a welcome antidote to the dry textbook and underscores philosophy’s enduring relevance today. Interspersed with helpful textboxes and mini biographies of the key thinkers, there is no better introduction for the aspiring sage.
Epistemology is the philosophical study of knowledge. Without knowledge, scientific enquiry is meaningless and we can’t analyse the world around us. But what exactly is it and how do we obtain it? Presuming no prior experience of philosophy, this book covers everything in the topic from scepticism and induction to Kant’s transcendentalism.
Ever since the ancient Greeks conceived of the atom, humans have sought the smallest ingredients of our existence. In the past century, the use of reductionism to understand behavior has gained steam as the quantum universe and the workings of the human mind have been uncovered; still there are those who say that reductionists are oversimplifying our world. Here, acclaimed physicist Alastair Rae spells out how the powerful tool of reductionism works, from the level of subatomic particles, up through molecular chemistry, and beyond to our neural networks. How does physics explain consciousness? Can quantum mechanics be applied to the brain or mind? Rae’s exploration is an indispensable guide to one of the most fundamental ideas of science and the perfect companion for anyone considering how scientific findings reach into human life.
As scientists confidently look forward to average life expectancies hitting 100+ years in some Western societies, it’s easy to forget how precarious our grasp on good health has been. It is a struggle no better demonstrated than by the myriad and extraordinary measures that humans have gone to – as diverse as animal sacrifice to stem cell transplants – in their quest to stave off death and disease. Acclaimed historian Mark Jackson takes a fresh, global view of mankind’s great battle, exploring both Western and Eastern traditions. Examining ancient right through to modern approaches to health and illness, Jackson presents the orthodox and alternative practices and key turning points – sometimes for good and sometimes not – that determined how different cultures tackled disease. The result is a fascinating survey of the complex ways in which medicine and society have shaped one another throughout the ages.
A Beginner's Guide to Immortality is a celebration of unusual lives and creative thinkers who punched through ordinary cultural norms while becoming successful in their own niches. In his latest and greatest work, world-renowned science writer Cliff Pickover studies such colofrul characters as Truman Capote, John Cage, Stephen Wolfram, Ray Kurzweil, and Wilhelm Rontgen, and their curious ideas. Through these individuals, we can better explore life's astonishing richness and glimpse the diversity of human imagination. Part memoir and part surrealistic perspective on culture, A Beginner's Guide to Immortality gives readers a glimpse of new ways of thinking and of other worlds as he reaches across cultures and peers beyond our ordinary reality. He illuminates some of the most mysterious phenomena affecting our species. What is creativity? What are the religious implications of mosquito evolution, simulated Matrix realities, the brain's own marijuana, and the mathematics of the apocalypse? Could we be a mere software simulation living in a matrix? Who is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Emanuel Swedenborg? Did church forefathers eat psychedelic snails? How can we safely expand our minds to become more successful and reason beyond the limits of our own intuition? How can we become immortal?

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