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The feeling brain

Antonio Damasio takes neuroscience back to its philosophical origins in Spinoza's "mind-body" and reveals the "embodied consciousness" of art

By AS Byatt   June 2003

Book: Looking for Spinoza

Author: Antonio Damasio

Price: Heinemann, £20

In his book “Descartes’ Error”, Antonio Damasio took issue with two aspects of Descartes’s thought-his use of clockwork as a metaphor for the mind, and his statement of priorities: cogito ergo sum. Damasio reverses this, and shows how the life of the mind arises from the life of the body. He finds the idea of mind as computer programming, as hard-wiring, to be a misleading descendent of the clockwork metaphor. He deals in the “wet stuff” of the living tissues of body and brain. In “Descartes’ Error”, he gave us…

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