College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
to The Moral Animal, though it smiles just a tad too much. One HOPES that Wright's optimistic "destiny" of human evolution is true, though there is plenty of real life mess to prove otherwise. Wright does make some wonderfully insightful observations about what drives the complexity and symbolic nature of human society, it is just the underlying eutopic hints that cause one to cringe a bit. Overall, a fine book with lots of insight and things to ponder...just don't take it's subtitle too much to heart--humans simply don't yet deserve it.
of lecture series in the Great Courses collection! In the past month and a half, I have listened to a dozen Great Courses lecture series on the brain, perception, sleep and memory (see my other reviews here), and I have to first say that the information in these series have dovetailed wonderfully well, and, taken together, provide a broad picture of our mental workings and the physicality behind it all. Francis Colavita's Sensation, Perception And The Aging Process provides a great follow-up to everything I have listened to in this vein thus far. Colavita develops the course thusly: 1) he discusses in depth what perception is and how our senses work to collect data from outside stimuli 2) he explores how the brain processes these perceived stimuli to make sense (pun intended) of the world and shape our internal reality 3) then he shows how the aging process affects these processes. My graduate and undergraduate degrees are in the Humanities, but I have a minor degree in physiological psychology and have spent more than a quarter of a century doing research in the developing arenas of neurological psychology, and I can assure any Audible customer that the information provided in these lecture series is remarkably up-to-date, correct and scientifically sound. I am exceedingly impressed with the level of university lecturers that deliver these lectures and the quality and educative value of each and every one.
on the unconscious and the brain. But do be aware this is something of a beginner's book on the brain. After having just read Schwartz's The Brain and The Mind and several other deeper books on brain function and being a long time student of neurology, I found this book something of a step down. It is a good book and well written, but it is best taken early in one's reading in this subject. (I almost never comment on readers, but this growing habit of writers reading their own books needs to end. Eastman puts UNdo INflection on NEarly EVery WORd, and his awkward enthusiasm detracts somewhat from a book already not the deepest in content.)
This book was written in 1994, and its underlying philosophy holds true today, even if a few other theories on evolutionary psychology have eclipsed what Wright has written here. (Just as what Charles Darwin has written is still powerful despite the work that has been done after his death, interestingly.) For those of us who are atheists, a book like the Moral Animal becomes extremely important because it shows that morality does not need to come from a deity, and instead likely comes out of our own interest in passing our genes to the next generation. Although I personally feel that at least some morality need not come out of clinical self-interest. Nor does it always need to be explained. The Moral Animal along with Wright's latest book, The Evolution of God, have, inadvertently or tangentially, done more for the cause of atheists than any works before, during or since.