Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Neuromania: On the Limits of Brain Science

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Neuromania: On the Limits of Brain Science

Article excerpt

Neuromania: On the Limits of Brain Science Paolo Legrenzi and Carlo Umiltà, Tr. Francis Anderson. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. 120 pp. $29.95

Here we have a diminutive book on a very important subject: the misuse of the prefix neuro and accompanying computer-generated images of a colorful brain derived from the flow of blood. Most laypersons and even some professionals confuse these images with reality, draw false conclusions based on an illuminated illustration of the brain (the authors hold that most people probably realize that the coloration is "a graphic device"; I am not so sure), and confuse the brain (a physical entity) and the mind. (merely a metaphor for the accumulated data, information, and knowledge that the brain contains). The authors rail against the fragmentation of neuropsychology into superfluous subdisciplines, trace the history of current technological miracles back to much earlier avatars, and, although they are both psychologists, disagree with the desire of fellow professionals to scientize their discipline, what they in a different context call "contagion by the hard sciences. …

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