The Frontal Cortex

Proust in Wired

My book got a very nice little spread in the new Wired. There’s a picture of me at an uncomfortable zoom and a short Q&A:

Q: Do you really think that we’ll find answers to science’s Big Questions in the arts?

A: Virginia Woolf isn’t going to help you finish your lab experiment. What she will do is help you ask your questions better. Proust focused on problems that neuroscience itself didn’t grapple with until relatively recently – questions of memory that couldn’t be crammed into Pavlovian reinforcement: Why are memories so unreliable? Why do they change so often? Why do we remember only certain aspects of the past?

For context on the odd Kanye West allusion, look here. On a related note, Ted over at Bookeywookey has written a few generous and illuminating posts on Proust Was A Neuroscientist. Thanks so much Ted!


  1. #1 Ted
    October 22, 2007

    My pleasure. I so enjoyed your book.

  2. #2 Anibal
    October 26, 2007

    Iīm planning to submit to Oxford graduate studies a research statement for the philosophy department entitled : Neurohistory of philosophy “of” consciousness” which try to reveal how authors from the past have been anticipating, implicitely, or even explicitely, the very advances made by neuroscience concerning conciousness.
    It is fantastic to know (via that what its call neurohistory (how scientific breakthroughs are anticipated by intellectuals before an objective measure finally will confirm them, the backward approach in neurohistory, because there is a forward approach that deals with drawing a new vocabulary for our conceptual framework while neuroscience discover new facts to udnerstand the mind/brain) its at the center or is the main point of your book.
    I canīt wait to buy it!

  3. #3 Gary Coulter
    October 26, 2007

    I was guessing the title of your next book would be “All fiction is gadget fiction.”

  4. #4 Christopher
    November 13, 2007

    …Am about halfway through the Proust chapter and just saw the picture of the page proof with all of the edits and paperoles; I can’t help but wonder what Proust would have made of collaborative writing spaces so characteristic of Web2.0 today. I wonder what form a text like Search would have taken had it been written in a Wiki (or some other form of collaborative document creation)
    I suspect that there is a lot of thinking to be done around how such collaborative spaces effect our personal (and our collective) memories.

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