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The Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of the Subjective Experience Paperback – June 17, 2003

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The Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of the Subjective Experience + Clinical Studies in Neuro-Psychoanalysis + The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Solms and his colleagues are making a brilliant, determined, scrupulous, and (one wants to say) tactful endeavor to approach, in a new way, the oldest question of all—the mysterious relation of body and mind."
—Oliver Sacks, from his Foreword

"This is erudite and fascinating. The authors show us that modern neuroscience allows us to find neurological correlates of some basic psychoanalytical concepts, but in doing so, and this is important, they do not fall into the reductionist explanations so dominant in neuroscience today. Their approach is refreshing and their arguments are well reasoned."
—Lesley Rogers, author of Sexing the Brain

About the Author

Mark Solms

Mark Solms is a neuropsychologist and psychoanalyst who has done pioneering re-search into brain mechanisms of dreaming. He is co-chair of the International Neuro-Psychoanalysis Society.

Oliver Turnbull

Oliver Turnbull is a Cambridge-trained neuropsychologist. He has published widely in neuroscientific journals, primarily on topics of visuo-spatial perception. He is Secretary of the International Neuro-Psychoanalysis Society.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press; Reissue edition (June 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590510178
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590510179
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Meredith B. Handspicker on July 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
The subtitle of this one is "an introduction to the neuroscience of subjective experience." It is intended for the non-specialist, and they deliver on that wonderfully. The writing is compact but clear; the first section is "Introduction to Basic Concepts" that are necessary to understand the rest of the book. Frankly, it is the clearest discussion of brain anatomy, neuronal structure, and chemistry, that I have ever read. It was time to go to bed when I had finished, and I lay there going over the material in my head it was so attractively clear. Solms has been a mover in getting people to relate together neuroscience and psychoanalysis (he is trained in both).

Their second chapter on "Mind and Brain: How do they relate?" is a clear outline of the "mind-body problem" from the philosophical point of view, and a compact discussion of the various options (various monisms, interactionism, and parallelism). The chapter is set up with the distinction philosopher David Chalmers makes between the "easy" mind-body problem and the "hard" mind-body problem. The `easy" problem is what Francis Crick, in "The Scientific Search for the Soul," deals with: the neural correlates of consciousness. They agree this is an approach with great promise (except for its Crick's reductionism). The "hard" problem is how consciousness actually emerges from matter. (On this question they remain agnostic and tend to believe it is not soluble scientifically.)

They wind up with a "world view" (their term) that underlies their work and that provides the context in which they do their work while not itself being adjudicable scientifically. They call it "dual-aspect monism" : "We are made of only on type of stuff (that is why it is a monist position), but . .
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Zellner on June 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Solms and Turnbull do a remarkable thing: offer a panoramic introduction covering all of the basics about all of the central aspects of inner experience that have been researched so far -- dreams, emotions, memory, identity, etc. -- and they do it in an extremely clear and readable way. All of the defined terms are highlighted in the text and clearly described. There is very little fluff at all; every paragraph and practically every sentence is necessary. The first chapter -- a basic overview of the anatomy and function of the brain -- is the best general introduction I have yet come across.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Norman N. Holland on July 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the most significant book on psychoanalysis I've come across in a couple of decades. Solms is a neuropsychologist and psychoanalyst working in New York, London, and South Africa, and co-author Oliver Turnbull has worked extensively with him. Solms has mounted a sustained effort to put psychoanalytic theory together with what we are learning about the brain. He does this by doing a neurological workup of patients and then interviewing them psychoanalytically.

Solms' basic idea is that we now have (as Freud did not) two ways of looking at mind. One is Freud's way: we use free association, interpretation, etc., to look at mind subjectively. The other is the neuroscience way: objective studies of the changes in behavior wrought by changes in the brain. To find out fully about mind, we have to put these two methods together. And he does!

Frankly, this growing movement of neuro-psychoanalysis seems to me the only thing that will stave off the impending death of psychoanalysis. Solms addresses quite directly the afflictions affecting psychoanalysis and offers hope, very concrete grounds for hope. Also, the book can serve as a very nice introduction to neuroscience.

Let me put it quite bluntly: Anyone seriously interested in and concerned about psychoanalysis who doesn't read this book is simply nuts!

Norman Holland, University of Florida
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
The subtitle of this book is "An introduction to the neuroscience of subjective experience" and as such, it is one of the finest books of its kind. Mark Solms and Oliver Turnbull [henceforth, MS & OT] have come through with a very accessible introductory text aimed at non-specialists (the text can also serve as a useful review to slightly more experienced students). In the span of ten, information rich chapters, MS & OT manage to give an overview of everything from the very basics of neuroanatomy, neurochemistry and neurophysiology to such issues as the neural bases of emotion, consciousness, memory, dreams and hallucinatory states and more. Some space is also devoted to the elementary philosophy of mind issues. For example, after discussing Chalmers' "hard problem" of consciousness and surveying the variety of proposed stances on the problem of consciousness, they explore at some length their own position (dual-aspect monism). This view holds that there is only one kind of stuff (thus, it is a monist position) but that there are two different ways of accessing/experiencing the underlying `psychic apparatus' - it can be introspectively accessed (as mind) and/or it can be observed from a third-person perspective and objectively studied by science (as brain tissue). Perhaps, similar to the way in which physicists have come to accept that it is equally plausible to speak of light as a wave AND a particle, those in the field may come to view mind/brain as just two sides of the same coin - the seeming dissonance between subjectivity and matter may simply be an incidental artifact of our perceptual systems.Read more ›
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