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Proust Was a Neuroscientist

By Jonah Lehrer

(14)

| Hardcover | 9780618620104

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Book Description

A gifted young writer explores the unexpected links between art and modern science. From a rising journalist and Rhodes scholar, a dazzling look at how five writers, a painter, a composer, and a chef discovered the truth about the mind. In this te Continue

A gifted young writer explores the unexpected links between art and modern science. From a rising journalist and Rhodes scholar, a dazzling look at how five writers, a painter, a composer, and a chef discovered the truth about the mind. In this technology-driven age, its tempting to believe that science can solve every mystery. After all, science has cured countless diseases and even sent humans into space. But as Jonah Lehrer argues in this sparkling and original book, science is not the only path to knowledge. In fact, where the brain is concerned, art got there first. Focusing on a group of artists -- a painter, a poet, a chef, a composer, and a handful of novelists -- Lehrer shows how each one discovered an essential truth about the human mind that science is only now rediscovering. We learn, for example, how Proust first revealed the fallibility of memory; how George Eliot discovered the brains malleability; how the French chef Escoffier discovered umami (the fifth taste); how Cézanne worked out the subtleties of vision; and how Gertrude Stein exposed the deep structure of language a full half-century before Chomsky. Its the ultimate tale of art trumping science. More broadly, Lehrer shows that there is a cost to reducing everything to atoms and acronyms and genes. Measurement is not the same as understanding, and this is what art knows better than science. An ingenious blend of biography, criticism, and first-rate science writing, Proust Was a Neuroscientist urges science to listen more closely to art, for the right minds can combine the best of both to brilliant effect.

3 Reviews

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  • 1 person finds this helpful

    L'autore cerca di costruire un ponte tra scoperte scientifiche nel campo delle neuroscienze, rigorosamente ottenute col metodo sperimentale, e l'opera di vari artisti. La pecca è che il lato scientifico potrebbe risultare ostico per i non addetti ai ...(continue)

    L'autore cerca di costruire un ponte tra scoperte scientifiche nel campo delle neuroscienze, rigorosamente ottenute col metodo sperimentale, e l'opera di vari artisti. La pecca è che il lato scientifico potrebbe risultare ostico per i non addetti ai lavori soprattutto perché, a volte, non si riesce bene ad afferrare dove sta avvenendo il paragone. Tuttavia entrambi gli aspetti sono trattati in modo soddisfacente e particolareggiato con uno stile semplice, chiaro, lineare. Lo consiglio.

    The Author tries to build a bridge between scientific discoveries in the field of Neuroscience and the work of various artists. The scientific side, though, may be a little complicated for newbies especially in light of the fact that sometimes it's difficult to get exactly what the comparison is being made of. Anyway, the two aspects are discussed thoroughfully with clear and simple writing. Recommended

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    Unworldly Northman said on Mar 13, 2010 | 2 feedbacks

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    E' un libro molto ambizioso, che purtroppo non mantiene quello che promette. Vuole mostrare come spesso gli artisti abbiano, in anticipo sui tempi della scienza, intuizioni che la scienza poi conferma. Purtroppo gli esempi, via via che il libro proce ...(continue)

    E' un libro molto ambizioso, che purtroppo non mantiene quello che promette. Vuole mostrare come spesso gli artisti abbiano, in anticipo sui tempi della scienza, intuizioni che la scienza poi conferma. Purtroppo gli esempi, via via che il libro procede, sono sempre più tirati per i capelli. E' comunque un libro abbastanza piacevole e scritto molto bene.

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    Marco said on Aug 11, 2009 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    Proust was a Neuroscientist explores the sometimes curious relationship between art and science. In each chapter, author Jonah Lehrer reveals how a particular artist—Walt Whitman, George Eliot, Auguste Escoffier, Marcel Proust, Paul Cézanne, I ...(continue)

    Proust was a Neuroscientist explores the sometimes curious relationship between art and science. In each chapter, author Jonah Lehrer reveals how a particular artist—Walt Whitman, George Eliot, Auguste Escoffier, Marcel Proust, Paul Cézanne, Igor Stravinsky, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf—anticipated later discoveries by neuroscientists. Simultaneously, Lehrer considers how the artists themselves were influenced by scientific thinking at the time. Even if science isn't your cup of tea, Lehrer's insights into the artists' goals, thought processes, and influences should prove fascinating.

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    Victor B said on Aug 18, 2008 | Add your feedback

Book Details

  • Rating:
    (14)
    • 5 stars
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  • English Books
  • Hardcover 256 Pages
  • ISBN-10: 0618620109
  • ISBN-13: 9780618620104
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publish date: 2007-11-01
  • Dimensions: 129 mm x 967 mm x 1,354 mm
  • Also available as: Paperback , Audio CD , eBook
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