- Copertina rigida: 352 pagine
- Editore: Jonathan Cape; First Edition edizione (3 marzo 2005)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0224062549
- ISBN-13: 978-0224062541
- Peso di spedizione: 680 g
The 21st Century Brain: Explaining, Mending and Manipulating the Mind (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 3 mar 2005
Descrizione del libro
A compelling and authoritative study of the brain - its past, present and future - aimed squarely at the general reader. (2004-07-02)
Steven Rose is Professor of Biology and Director of the Brain and Behaviour Research Group at The Open University, Visiting Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at University College London, and, jointly with sociologist Hilary Rose, Professor of Physic (genetics and society) at Gresham College, London. His previous books include The Chemistry of Life (1996), Science and Society (with Hilary Rose) (1973), The Conscious Brain (1973), Molecules and Minds: Essays on Biology and the Social Order (1988), and The Making of Memory (1992). (2004-03-15)
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Rose discusses pharmacuticals and the use of prescription drugs such as ritalin in schools today. He emphasizes that such learning drugs are similar to steroids that are banned from use in sports. Similar methods such as brain magnets and gene therapy could potentially be used for the same purpose of boosting brain power. He also makes it known that most modern research is done for the sake of marketable knowledge and not intellectual curiosity. He takes a cautious approach and says about Alzheimers: "The short answer is, we don't know.' We do know some things. We know that the nostrums currently available do not work. We do know that women are far more susceptible than men of the same age."
I enjoyed reading this book because of the unique perspective Rose has of the scientific community because of his long time work in neuroscience.
The book is less than 300 pages and is a fairly easy read, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the future of brain science and its impacts on the world.
be either completely engulfed in neuroscientific lingo and details or very popular, over-simplistic. Steven Rose strikes a nice balance between the two.
The book begins with a an evolutionary story starting from proto-cells in the pre-biotic soup to axons, dendrites, synapses and brain "modules" A brilliant tour I might add.
Lots of details and insights that I found a joy to read.
Throughout it is stressed that the brain's developmental history
is made in interaction with the environment to determine what it is going to be, how it works and why. Even though the subject matter is very complex Steven Rose manages to give the needed overview.
Sometimes Steven Rose pops up with strong views on subjects I would have thought to be widely accepted. E.g. Personally I don't agree that Richard Dawkins meme-theory is as bad as Steven Rose makes it out to be - one could argue that the evolutionary idea is for biological things, not for meme ideas, but I wouldn't be upset if someone would say that evolution works fine on memes as well. But nevermind, it won't distract you from the overall narrative.
The last chapters are devoted to a human future where neuroscience might become neurotechnology for mending and manipulating the mind. Even though much of it is speculative Steven Rose seems to be able to tell science from science fiction, and therefore be a valuable voice in the debate.
I haven't read "The Future of the Brain", also by Steven Rose, so I wouldn't be able to tell, if they are identical - but I can tell you that this book is a brilliant read!
It is typical in publishing nowadays for authors to come up with a gimmicky pitch and write well the first 100 pages in order to secure a publisher's advance. Then the author is overwhelmed by stress or depression or just plain laziness, and fails to deliver the rest of the book. That seems to be the case with this book.
Consider the praise that the book chooses to put on its front and back covers. "A timely book on a timely subject," says the Observer. "An elegantly written and cogent guide to contemporary ideas and how and why the brain works," says the Independent. "An excellent account of neuroscience today," says the Financial Times.
From this praise alone we can discern two things. Steven Rose has nothing new or interesting to say about neuroscience, and the reviewers probably haven't read the book.
Indeed, it's difficult to read this book, which while written eloquently is very academic. Putting in perspective the billions of years of development of the brain is certainly useful, but it need not be couched in such technical, academic language; "The Accidental Mind" written by neuroscientist David Linden is a good example of how to explain the development of the brain in clear, simple terms.
And for whatever reason Steven Rose chooses to spend a great many pages attacking evolutionary psychology, which he claims correctly spends too much theorizing and not enough time researching. He's also quite upset by how evolutionary psychology fails to acknowledge "neuroplasticity," and instead harps on an "architecture of the mind." This is all true, but Steven Pinker, while outrageous most of the time, does pose interesting questions and provide interesting frameworks for thinking about the brain.
The final half of the book is just pointless, as Steven Rose ruminates pointlessly and endlessly on the ethics of a possible "Brave New World" situation where everyone is medicated into a dead, sullen happiness.
There are a lot better books about neuroscience out there, and this book got published because it was "a timely book on a timely subject."
This is not a book that builds up a coherent rational thesis about the brain or transhumanism. Instead, Rose prefers to rant at sociobiology and transhumanism by picking easy, isolated, targets for ridicule. Whilst some of his points are good, and serve to expose some of the hype around short-term promises of pharmacalogical utopia, on the bigger issues of whether some form of transhumanism is desirable or possible in-principle, he essentialy indulges in straw-man rhetoric.
Overall, Rose makes it clear that he really doesn't like this silly transhumanist stuff very much, but fails to tackle the big issues in any profound way.