Neuroscience has made astounding progress in the understanding of the brain. What should we make of its claims to go beyond the brain and explain consciousness, behaviour and culture? Where should we draw the line? In this brilliant critique Raymond Tallis dismantles "Neuromania", arising out of the idea that we are reducible to our brains and "Darwinitis" according to which, since the brain is an evolved organ, we are entirely explicable within an evolutionary framework. With precision and acuity he argues that the belief that human beings can be understood in biological terms is a serious obstacle to clear thinking about what we are and what we might become. Neuromania and Darwinitis deny human uniqueness, minimise the differences between us and our nearest animal kin and offer a grotesquely simplified account of humanity. We are, argues Tallis, infinitely more interesting and complex than we appear in the mirror of biology.
Combative, fearless and thought-provoking, Aping Mankind is an important book and one that scientists, cultural commentators and policy-makers cannot ignore.
This Routledge Classics edition includes a new preface by the Author.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Routledge Classics Edition Introduction 1. Science and Scientism 2. Consequences 3. Neuromania: A Castle Built on Sand 4. From Darwinism to Darwinitis 5. Bewitched by Language 6. The Sighted Watchmaker 7. Restoring Humanity 8. Defending the Humanities 9. Back to the Drawing Board. Index
Raymond Tallis trained as a doctor before going on to become Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester, UK. He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences for his research in clinical neuroscience. He retired from medicine in 2006 to become a full-time writer. His most recent works include Epimethean Imaginings (2014) and The Black Mirror (2015).
"A trenchant, lucid and witty attack on the reductive materialism of many scientific accounts of consciousness." – David Lodge, The Guardian’s Books of the Year
"Neuroscience, we are implausibly informed…will help dispense with evil. Who better to debunk its pretensions while instructing us in its uses than wise, literate Raymond Tallis, a neuroscientist himself, in his entertaining Aping Mankind." – George Walden, Evening Standard’s Best Books of the Year
"With erudition, wit and rigour, Tallis reveals that much of our current wisdom is as silly as bumps-on-the-head phrenology." – Jane O’Grady, The Observer
"Impassioned and intensely erudite." – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
"Raymond Tallis is one of the very few contemporary thinkers whom I would unequivocally call a genius." - The Scotsman on Sunday