The Man Who Wasn't There

The Man Who Wasn't There

Investigations Into the Strange New Science of the Self

Book - 2015
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Science journalist Anil Ananthaswamy interviews individuals who have lost some part of their sense of self and presents recent research identifying specific regions of the brain that, when they misfire, disrupt this imporant but immaterial self.
Publisher: New York, New York : Dutton, [2015]
New York, New York : Dutton, [2015]
ISBN: 9780525954194
Branch Call Number: 616.8 ANA 2015
Characteristics: viii, 305 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Man who was not there


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Feb 27, 2017

I noticed his misuse of prone and supine as well--that kind of thing can drive an anatomy teacher crazy! But overall I really liked this book and find it fascinating that these conditions can be somehow connected to specific areas in the brain. I used some of the examples in this book in my physiology class.

Sep 01, 2016

The Man Who Wasn’t There explores neuroscience of the most fascinating and mind-bending sort. Ananthaswamy does begin with the most dramatic of the conditions he is exploring, Cotard’s syndrome, in which the patient believes herself to be dead. But in general this is a very sober and analytic investigation. Ananthaswamy is delving deep, and his explanations are detailed; he is willing to dig into nuance rather than oversimplifying matters. He has a tendency to interleave explanations and examples, which can make for some circular reading, since the science is often best understood once the example is in hand. Full review:

Jul 04, 2016

The cases and the experiments are interesting. But all the discussions about "self" get to be tiresome after a while. Oliver Sacks he is not.

Given the author's credentials, it's surprising that he confuses consistently the meanings of "prone" and "supine".

PimaLib_JB Dec 03, 2015

Fascinating book that fans of Oliver Sacks and science writing will love, about the intersection of case studies in neurology and philosophy's concept of the self.


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Sep 01, 2016

What is the self? This is an old and difficult question at the intersection of religion, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. By investigating Alzheimer’s disease, autism, body integrity identity disorder, Cotard’s syndrome, and schizophrenia in turn, Anil Ananthaswamy is able to show how the disruptions these conditions cause can illuminate the illusive concept of self, which can be so difficult to examine when it is functioning seamlessly. Through interviews with patients as well as their caregivers, Ananthaswamy offers insight into the phenomenology of these conditions, interspersed with lucid explanations of the most current scientific thinking.


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Sep 01, 2016

“But in the devastation are clues to what makes us who we are. These maladies are to the study of the self what brain lesions are to the study of the brain: They are cracks in the façade of the self that let us examine an otherwise almost impenetrable, ongoing, unceasing neural process.”


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