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Publisher's Summary

Why is life worth living? What makes actions right or wrong? What is reality and how do we know it? The Brain and the Meaning of Life draws on research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to answer some of the most pressing questions about life's nature and value. Paul Thagard argues that evidence requires the abandonment of many traditional ideas about the soul, free will, and immortality, and shows how brain science matters for fundamental issues about reality, morality, and the meaning of life. The ongoing Brain Revolution reveals how love, work, and play provide good reasons for living.

Defending the superiority of evidence-based reasoning over religious faith and philosophical thought experiments, Thagard argues that minds are brains and that reality is what science can discover. Brains come to know reality through a combination of perception and reasoning. Just as important, our brains evaluate aspects of reality through emotions that can produce both good and bad decisions. Our cognitive and emotional abilities allow us to understand reality, decide effectively, act morally, and pursue the vital needs of love, work, and play. Wisdom consists of knowing what matters, why it matters, and how to achieve it.

The Brain and the Meaning of Life shows how brain science helps to answer questions about the nature of mind and reality, while alleviating anxiety about the difficulty of life in a vast universe. The book integrates decades of multidisciplinary research, but it's clear explanations and humor make it accessible to the general reader.

©2010 Paul Thagard (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The Brain and the Meaning of Life provides a highly informed account of the relevance of recent neuroscience to human life. It compellingly tells how humans, as biological creatures in a physical world, can find meaning and value." (William Bechtel, University of California, San Diego)
"Engagingly written for general readers, Thagard's book provides a nice description of current knowledge about the brain and explains how brain research bears on philosophical issues." (Gilbert Harman, Princeton University)

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touches wide range of topics

Excellent book that covers wide range of topics from reality, perception and emotions to decision making and morality. All well articulated and based on research of neuroscience.

Dont get wrong ideas from bad reviews. This is dense book that covers areas that people are sensitive about. Overall excellent book, very pleasant suprise

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Lyle
  • Longmont, CO, United States
  • 11-22-11

Helps learn about US

If you are interested in understanding why we are here and where we might go.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Gustav
  • 08-20-12

Great research makes great reading

This book combines great research, a fascinating topic and good editing into a compelling book about the most important thing in the universe: your brain. After all, without it, you would not have a mental world from which to experience the physical one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful