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Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

V. S. Ramachandran , Sandra Blakeslee , Oliver Sacks
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18. August 1999

Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran is internationally renowned for uncovering answers to the deep and quirky questions of human nature that few scientists have dared to address. His bold insights about the brain are matched only by the stunning simplicity of his experiments -- using such low-tech tools as cotton swabs, glasses of water and dime-store mirrors. In Phantoms in the Brain, Dr. Ramachandran recounts how his work with patients who have bizarre neurological disorders has shed new light on the deep architecture of the brain, and what these findings tell us about who we are, how we construct our body image, why we laugh or become depressed, why we may believe in God, how we make decisions, deceive ourselves and dream, perhaps even why we're so clever at philosophy, music and art. Some of his most notable cases:

  • A woman paralyzed on the left side of her body who believes she is lifting a tray of drinks with both hands offers a unique opportunity to test Freud's theory of denial.
  • A man who insists he is talking with God challenges us to ask: Could we be "wired" for religious experience?
  • A woman who hallucinates cartoon characters illustrates how, in a sense, we are all hallucinating, all the time.

Dr. Ramachandran's inspired medical detective work pushes the boundaries of medicine's last great frontier -- the human mind -- yielding new and provocative insights into the "big questions" about consciousness and the self.

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  • Taschenbuch: 352 Seiten
  • Verlag: William Morrow Paperbacks; Auflage: QUILL. (18. August 1999)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0688172172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688172176
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,4 x 15,7 x 1,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.6 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (28 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 42.979 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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What would you say about a woman who, despite stroke-induced paralysis crippling the entire left side of her body, insists that she is whole and strong--who even sees her left hand reach out to grasp objects? Freud called it "denial"; neurologists call it "anosognosia." However it may be labeled, this phenomenon and others like it allow us peeks into other mental worlds and afford us considerable insight into our own.

The writings of Oliver Sacks and others have shown us that we can learn much about ourselves by looking closely at the deficits shown by people with neurological problems. V.S. Ramachandran has seen countless patients suffering from anosognosia, phantom limb pain, blindsight, and other disorders, and he brings a remarkable mixture of clinical intuition and research savvy to bear on their problems. He is one of the few scientists who are able and willing to explore the personal, subjective ramifications of his work; he rehumanizes an often too-sterile field and captures the spirit of wonder so essential for true discovery. Phantoms in the Brain is equal parts medical mystery, scientific adventure, and philosophical speculation; Ramachandran's writing is smart, caring, and very, very funny.

Whether you're curious about the workings of the brain, interested in alternatives to expensive, high-tech science (much of Ramachandran's research is done with materials found around the home), or simply want a fresh perspective on the nature of human consciousness, you'll find satisfaction with Phantoms in the Brain. --Rob Lightner -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


Explores the vast complexities of the human brain and how it works, drawing on real-life case studies of patients suffering from unusual neurological afflictions to explain what occurs in the brain. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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A man wearing a enormous bejeweled cross dangling on a gold chain sits in my office, telling me about his conversations with God, the "real meaning" of the cosmos and the deeper truth behind all surface appear. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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4.6 von 5 Sternen
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Inspiring 17. Februar 2007
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
In "Phantoms in the Brain" the neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran and the science writer Sandra Blakeslee combine two very different issues in an amazing way: Philosophy from the far east and contemporary brain research. Eastern philosophy tells us that our self is just an illusion, while brain research suggests that we have already made a decision before we are aware of it. Thus, we would act fully deterministically.

Although I rather believe in the arguments Roger Penrose had risen in his wonderful books "The Emperors New Mind" and "Shadows of the Mind" pointing out that there must be something indeterministic going on in our minds because of Goedel's theorem of incompleteness, "Phantoms" was very pleasant to read. There are many arguments I share, e.g. that a good part of our self is just a social illusion of how we like to be regarded by others. Although the authors are very speculative in several issues in which they are not experts (e.g. schizophrenia), their ideas are very stimulating and the volume is one of several popular science books I'm glad to having read.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The best popular neurology book 14. März 2000
Von Ein Kunde
I read this book at a clip of several hundred pages per day. It beats most fiction for excitement and provides the impetus to read more in neurology. Neurology is truly a science and this book asks the right questions about consciousness, perception, and mental "health." I have cleaned out the library shelves on neurology and only wish there were more books like this one. The section on body image is particularly interesting--could the technique described in this book be used to help treat eating disorders and the like? It also provides a fresh perspective on the much-discussed dual-brain theory. Enjoy.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A good read for the novice 4. Mai 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
A light and breezy account of some of the oddities of neurology, much in the spirit of Oliver Sacks (who also wrote the introduction). Much of the book is devoted to cases of people exhibiting odd behavior after losing part of their brain. This is familiar stuff to any serious student of the brain but will delight and amuse the lay reader unfamiliar with this literature. In addition, the authors offer their thoughts on some of the more contentious issues in many of the fields they touch upon, such as the validity of evolutionary psychology, the limits of adaptationism in evolutionary thought, and the nature of qualia in relation to brain function, to name a few. Furthermore, Ramachandran puts forth some interesting ideas of his own. He refers to the temporal lobe regions involved in complex shape analyses and object recognition as a distinct system or "pathway," which he calls the "what" pathway of vision, endowed with memory and consciousness, while the visual processing areas in the parietal lobe concerned with motion detection and 3-D mapping in space are lumped together as the "where" pathway, which has neither memory nor consciousness. Not being shy, the authors also proceed to emunerate the qualities of qualia, the 3 ingredients of consciousness and other riddles that have puzzled philosophers for centuries. Given the empirical evidence from brain research that supports their views (much of which unfortunately they do not discuss in detail, for brevity's sake), they offer more true insight into these issues than the mountains of philosophical dross these issues have generated in times both ancient and modern. Ramachandran may not be right, but he shows that a little empirical, scientific knowledge proves far more useful than a lot of groundless speculation by armchair experts. A good read for both novice and professional.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant Stuff 29. Dezember 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Anyone looking for a new paradigm for consciousness should read this book, in particular anyone without any prior knowledge of neural science. The book is full of the latest discoveries about how the brain works, including several experiments you can perform by yourself or with friends. In particular, I found that the experiment which the author(s) have you perform on yourself with your blind spot particularly discombobulating, as you watch as your mind "fills in" missing information, and even "hallucinates" things that aren't there. You're left feeling that you can't even trust your own eyes! The final chapter is particularly important, and required reading for anyone interested in how neural science affects our understanding of consciousness and self.
My only complaint is that the book seems schizophrenic; it is scientific, but constantly needs to reassure us as if it were afraid that a purely scientific understanding of our lives is somehow inimical to our artistic selves. The book continually quotes Shakespeare. I'm not sure if that's because the book has two authors, that Ms. Blakeslee was brought in to soften up the science a bit. It often seems as if there's a phantom author.
Even so, it's enjoyable can't-put-it-down reading and contains several important points which should add significantly to your understanding of your brain works and consciousness itself.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Engrossing and entertaining reading 12. Januar 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Ramachandran's ability to captivate is partly due to his sense of humour, which in itself is a welcome change from the numbing factual recitations plaguing books about the brain. But the primary reason why the book is hard to put down is the investigative approach. Each chapter explores some fundamentally challenging behaviour of the brain, and since each of us require this information to a greater or lesser extent, the unravelling of the sometimes surreal situations and their resolution by simple experiments of logic is fascinating. Ramachandran uses very little other than an ingenious approach, and whether all of the basic experiments are solely his or not is irrelevant, since they are only the building blocks on which he bases his deductions. It could do with some colour illustrations, but it doesn't pretend to be that sort of a book. It's a good read, so just go and buy it!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen It was overwhelming!
Since I am pretty interested in neurology, this book was an enrichment for me.
He describes the circuities in the brain in a simple and understandable way, thus it is no... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 20. März 2008 von Laner Dominik
5.0 von 5 Sternen Closeness to Spirituality
Recent trends of neurology being close to spirituality as reflected in the works of Sir Charles Sherrington, Gray Walter and others finds a new perspective in this book. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 19. März 2000 von A monk
5.0 von 5 Sternen Challenge your image of self
This book was not only informative in a scientific sense, it was fascinating on a personal level. There are so many things about the brain, and hence the self, that remain... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 23. Februar 2000 von Amazon Customer
5.0 von 5 Sternen Gift idea
This is a marvelous, thought-provoking book. I'm no scientist, but the text is clear and the topics covered are fascinating. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 12. Dezember 1999 von PhyllisB.Partridge
5.0 von 5 Sternen I learned something on every page!
"Wow!" On almost every page, I sat up and said, "No kidding!"
The book is heavy on experiment, and cautious on theory (as it should be in such a new... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 18. Oktober 1999 veröffentlicht
4.0 von 5 Sternen l'uomo che scambiò i suoi piedi per un pene
sì , questa è una delle affermazioni più interessanti contenute in questo libro, che riprende alcuni dei casi già esposti nel famoso libro di sacks. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 14. Oktober 1999 von giancarlo giannetti (cagianne@tin.it)
5.0 von 5 Sternen This book is the best I've read in ten years
This is the single most enlightening book I have read in the last ten years. Only 'The Anthropic Cosmological Principle' by Barrow and Tipler comes close. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 13. Oktober 1999 von Ron Williams (rw@one.net.au)
4.0 von 5 Sternen Simple questions with stunning ramifications....
Perhaps the most intriuging aspect about Dr. Ramachandran's book is the sheer simplicity with which he asks his questions, and the basic nature of his studies with his patients. Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 2. Oktober 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen An excellent book.
This was a very fascinating read. Sheds much light on how fragile our sacred notions can be when examined in light of the effects of brain disease and brain injury and their... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 29. September 1999 von Anthony L Bonillo
5.0 von 5 Sternen You've gotta read it !
This book is simply great !!
Am 20. August 1999 veröffentlicht
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