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The Mind Made Flesh: Essays from the Frontiers of Psychology and Evolution Paperback – February 13, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0192802279 ISBN-10: 0192802275

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192802275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192802279
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.8 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,701,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"No other theoretical psychologist is so accessibly clear, and at the same time so provocatively philosophical."--Lorna Sage


"Nobody else brings such an astonishing range of knowledge to bear on these issues."--Daniel Dennett


"Humphrey's distinctive prose is the golden bowl in which his ripe and shining theories are held."--Antonella Gambotto


About the Author

Consciousness Regained: Chapters in the Development of Mind (1983), The Inner Eye (1986), A History of the Mind (1992), and Soul Searching (1995).

More About the Author

Nicholas Humphrey is a theoretical psychologist, based in Cambridge, who is known for his work on the evolution of human intelligence and consciousness. His interests are wide ranging. He studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey in Rwanda, he was the first to demonstrate the existence of "blindsight" after brain damage in monkeys, he proposed the celebrated theory of the "social function of intellect, and he is the only scientist ever to edit the literary journal Granta.

His books include Consciousness Regained, The Inner Eye, A History of the Mind, Leaps of Faith, The Mind Made Flesh, Seeing Red, and Soul Dust. He has been the recipient of several honours, including the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, and the British Psychological Society's book award.

He has been Lecturer in Psychology at Oxford, Assistant Director of the Subdepartment of Animal Behaviour at Cambridge, Senior Research Fellow in Parapsychology at Cambridge, Professor of Psychology at the New School for Social Research, New York, and School Professor at the London School of Economics.

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on August 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Humphrey's collection of many years' provides a lively insight into many aspects of life. Divided into five general topical areas, the essay range over the evolution of human cognition, perception, religion, the trials and execution of animals and emotion. Humphey is a major thinker. Add his fine prose skills to the many thought experiments in this book and you have a provocative collection to enjoy. There is much in here to inspire repeated reading.
Three of the essays are of significant import, requiring serious reflection on Humphrey's concepts. What level had human cognition reached when "cavemen" painted the walls of Chauvet? [actually, two essays address this topic] Was Jesus a conjurer? And, foremost in significance, "What Shall We Tell the Children?". The first question derives from the well-known case of the child Nadia who proved an artistic prodigy. She developed an outstanding ability to draw animals by the age of four. Her renditions of horses exceed the attempts of many adult sketchers. Humphrey argues that Nadia's minimal language skills offer a clue to how this talent developed. He suggests the animal drawings in French and Iberian caves suggest reconsideration of how and when human cognitive skills developed and whether artistic skills preceded those of language.
In discussing Jesus' role in his own society, Humphrey suggests The Redeemer had grown up in a society that anticipated the emergence of a Messiah. In "Behold the Man," Humphrey addresses the social and psychological" roots leading to the myth of Jesus' divinity. He sees the Jesus myth as "setting the stage for all subsequent paranormal phenomena in Western culture . . . outside as well as inside a specifically religious context.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Epictetus on August 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
There is no doubt that Humphrey is a highly educated and accomplished academic. There is also no doubt that he grew up in Hampstead and likes the Guardian - his communist leanings too often eclipse his undoubted capacity for interesting and valuable insight. For example, in this book he praises Engel's _Dialectics of Nature_ in a serious manner and describes it as "remarkable," but in the next sentence gives a trite brush off to Adam Smith (trite and wrong, as it happens.) His writing style seems to this reader to be just a little too modern and informal; there is nothing wrong with informality, but Humphrey has a knack for writing in a way that seems to verge on the pompous, portentious and to drop too many names. His distinguished record means that he can easily afford to wear his learning much more lightly. However, within the covers of the book there are some very interesting ideas. Like many books on evolution, many of these come as no surpise to anyone who has studied evolutionary biology at school, but there are a few that almost justify buying the book. For example, his theory of an evolutionary explanation of humanity's tolerance for, and occasional adulation for dictators and tyrants is original and persuasive. (The theory is that it results from two evolutionary strategies, to follow the successful individual and to follow the majority, together with a dose of chance as to who gets followed.) If this book was shorter, less discursive and less showy it would be much better. As it stands it is good in parts but frustrating in style and prolixity.
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