Weekend Reading, 11/5/11

Alright so here’s our reading for the weekend. We start with four pieces on brain science and philosophy:

“Telling the Story of the Brain’s Cacophony of Competing Voices” by Benedict Carey at the NY Times: Discussion of the life and work of neuroscientist and professor of psychology Michael Gazzaniga on the brain, freedom, responsibility, and law.

“A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain” by Samuel McNerney at Scientific American: As the title implies. Focusing on the work of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.

“Raymond Tallis Takes Out the Neurotrash” by Marc Parry in the The Chronicle of Higher Education: Profile of Raymond Tallis whose made a reputation for himself challenging reductive theories of the brain that, for example, reduce things like love to neural impulses. If you click through on this one make sure to listen to the audio of the exchange between Parry and his editor on Tallis. In fact, listen to that rather than read the article if you have to choose. You can also read a longish essay by Tallis on the subject here: “What Neuroscience Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves.”

“Your Brain Knows A Lot More Than You Realize” by David Eagleman at Discover Magazine: Excerpt from Eagleman’s new book, Incognito, on how much our brain does without our conscious awareness. Interesting case studies, good read.

We’re following that up with a couple of pieces on advertising, and the segue is legitimate if not entirely obvious:

“Thinking Vs. Feeling: The Psychology of Advertising” by Derek Thompson at The Atlantic: Light blog post, true to the title.

“Advertising is a poison that demeans even love – and we’re hooked on it” by George Monbiot at The Guardian: Hmm, well, that title pretty much says it all no? It’s a rant, enjoy.

And finally, to wrap up with a lighter piece:

“Dialing Up Twenty Years of Gadget Reviews” by Walter S. Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal: Nice retrospective jaunt through twenty years of consumer tech history beginning with those brick phones.

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