The Loom

From Souls to Genes

I always like book reviews that combine books that might not at first seem to have that much in common. In the new issue of Natural History, the neuroscientist Williams Calvin reviews Soul Made Flesh along with The Birth of the Mind, a fascinating book by Gary Marcus of NYU. If you haven’t heard of Marcus’s new book–which explores how genes produce minds–definitely check it out.


  1. #1 Jim Lein
    June 29, 2004

    This Nat. Hist. review makes me regret letting my subscription lapse.
    So many books on the mind now, it’s hard to know who or what to read. Any thorough study should at least consider phenomology, as Dan Lloyd does in his book, Radiant Cool.
    The studies that action precedes thought explain a lot but certainly not all. Most thinking may be only rationalizing about what we just did. But what about, for example, one person lifting her arm because another asks her to do so? In this case two person’s mental activity seems to have preceded action.
    You always need to dig deeper, or move to a more subtle level of abstraction, it seems, in investigating consciousness. Reductionism really shows its limits here — it may overlook crucial data if used too confidently.

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