Why this book?
You might think history has little to tell us about a cutting edge technology like neuroscience, but you would be wrong. Cobb takes the reader through a fascinating historical excavation, illustrating how the way in which people have thought about the gray matter between their ears changed from era to era. The brain has always been conceptualized according to the cultural and technological currents of the time, shifting from a vessel for housing animal spirits to a machine to an electric battery. Today, we are accustomed to thinking of the brain as a computer; tomorrow, in the era of neuroscience, a new metaphor will likely take hold, shaping our ideas about human behavior in ways that may not always be helpful.
The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience
Why should I read it?
3 authors picked The Idea of the Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
Shortlisted for the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize
A New Statesman Book of the Year
This is the story of our quest to understand the most mysterious object in the universe: the human brain.
Today we tend to picture it as a computer. Earlier scientists thought about it in their own technological terms: as a telephone switchboard, or a clock, or all manner of fantastic mechanical or hydraulic devices. Could the right metaphor unlock the its deepest secrets once and for all?
Galloping through centuries of wild speculation and ingenious, sometimes macabre anatomical investigations, scientist and historian Matthew Cobb reveals how…
- Coming soon!