The Brain and the Meaning of Life

  • von Paul Thagard
  • Sprecher: Christian Rummel
  • 9 Std. 20 Min.
  • ungekürztes Hörbuch


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.



"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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More Like: "An Elaborate Refutation of the Existence of God"

This book has a rather misleading title and description in my opinion. I expected a book heavy on the latest information in the field of neuroscience and not a long treatise on why philosophers have had it wrong for years. Listening to the book made it that much more annoying. In addition to not being able to see the charts referenced, I kept trying to stop myself from playing BS bingo in my head every time I heard a phrase stating that "love, work and play" are/should be our main pursuits, that "minds are brains" or that "a priori reasoning" is ineffective. The author spends so much time trying to convince the reader/listener that philosopers have had it all wrong all along, that he never gets around to any of the real, hard neuroscience promised on the book's cover and back flap.

Essentially, the book can be summed up in a few lines: Minds are brains (there's nothing spiritual about us), a priori reasoning is inferior to empirical data and therefore, God doesn't exist (Hello!?!?). Humans are merely on earth to pursue love, work and play. All nice enough conclusions, but ones that could be summed up in a paragraph and don't need to be repeated over and over again in every chapter. He only touches on neuroscience and cognition, leaving the reader feeling very cheated indeed.

Definitely not impressed with the "science" offered here!
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- JulieC1971

Weitere Infos zum Hörbuch

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 23.02.2010
  • Verlag: Audible Studios