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Mistaken Identity: The Mind-Brain Problem Reconsidered (Suny Series in Science, Technology, and Society) Paperback – November 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Neuroscientist Leslie Brothers argues that our understanding of the brain is determined by popular beliefs about the mind. She critiques neuroism, which explains the mind in terms of individual brains, and shows that widely held assumptions about the promise of contemporary brain research are largely false. This book opens up new territory as it uncovers the real connections among human biology, human sociality, and the mind. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Leslie Brothers is a private consultant in Los Angeles and the author of Friday's Footprint: How Society Shapes the Human Mind. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Suny Series in Science, Technology, and Society
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791451887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791451885
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,540,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Stirt on April 12, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In life we seek explanations, if only to reassure ourselves that there is sense to the world. If events happened seemingly randomly, and at any second, our sanity, the things around us, our very existence, could simply vanish into thin air, we would be frozen, unable to act.

Yet underneath the daily routine we create to let us live as if order underlies the nature of things, there is a suspicion that we are walking a tightrope without a net, and we wince as we read of the chance catastrophic events which out of the blue seem to befall individuals every day.

Leslie Brothers' "Mistaken Identity" confronts our need to make sense of the world. The author contrasts the brain - a physical fact - with mind, an intangible, weightless, seemingly limitless concept. This book asks: Can we possibly, in the early 21st century, use the facts we have learned about the brain to explain the mind? How do a few pounds of "wetware" yield thoughts, concepts, and actions which, themselves invisible and evanescent, can affect and even destroy all that exists?

Brothers believes that we can do no more at the present time than describe what the brain does in physical terms. The rest, she says, is wishful dreaming and empty theory, creating a cult of "neuroism" which attempts to relate brain structure to mind function in a cause and effect fashion.

"Emotion simply designates a set of shared social practices." Brothers elegantly describes how mind-brain theorists have "operated" on the scant facts available, pointing out that "the grammatical operation was a success but the patient died.
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