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The Undiscovered Mind

The Undiscovered Mind

How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation

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In his acclaimed book The End of Science, John Horgan ignited a firestorm of controversy about the limits of knowledge in a wide range of sciences. Now in The Undiscovered Mind he focuses on the single most important scientific enterprise of all -- the effort to understand the human mind.
Horgan takes us inside laboratories, hospitals, and universities to meet neuro-scientists, Freudian analysts, electroshock therapists, behavioral geneticists, evolutionary psychologists, artificial intelligence engineers, and philosophers of consciousness. He looks into the persistent explanatory gap between mind and body that Socrates pondered and shows that it has not been bridged. He investigates what he calls the "Humpty Dumpty dilemma," the fact that neuroscientists can break the brain and mind into pieces but cannot put the pieces back together again. He presents evidence that the placebo effect is the primary ingredient of psychotherapy, Prozac, and other treatments for mental disorders. As Horgan shows, the mystery of human consciousness, of why and how we think, remains so impregnable that to expect the attempts of scientific method and technology to penetrate it anytime soon is absurd.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684865782 | 
  • November 2000
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Neuroscience's Explanatory Gap

By 1979 Freudian psychology was treated as only an interesting historical note. The fashionable new frontier was the clinical study of the central nervous system....Today the new savants probe and probe and slice and slice and project their slides and regard Freud's mental constructs, his "libidos," "Oedipal complexes," and the rest, as quaint quackeries of yore, along the lines of Mesmer's "animal magnetism."

-- Tom Wolfe, In Our Time

In Phaedo Plato described the last hours of Socrates, who had been imprisoned and sentenced to death by Athenian authorities.... see more



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