Existentialisms arise when the foundations of being, such as meaning, morals, and purpose come under assault. In the first-wave of existentialism, writings typified by Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche concerned the increasingly apparent inability of religion, and religious tradition, to support a foundation of being. Second-wave existentialism, personified philosophically by Sartre, Camus, and de Beauvoir, developed in response to similar realizations about the overly optimistic Enlightenment vision of reason and the common good. The third-wave of existentialism, a new existentialism, developed in response to advances in the neurosciences that threaten the last vestiges of an immaterial soul or self. Given the increasing explanatory and therapeutic power of neuroscience, the mind no longer stands apart from the world to serve as a foundation of meaning. This produces foundational anxiety. In Neuroexistentialism, a group of contributors that includes some of the world's leading philosophers, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and legal scholars, explores the anxiety caused by third-wave existentialism and possible responses to it. Together, these essays tackle our neuroexistentialist predicament, and explore what the mind sciences can tell us about morality, love, emotion, autonomy, consciousness, selfhood, free will, moral responsibility, law, the nature of criminal punishment, meaning in life, and purpose.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 376
Weight: 688 g
Dimensions: 236 x 163 x 26 mm
"There's been lots of grounds for existential dread. First, God died in Nietzsche's arms. Then, the 20th century nearly drowned us in human carnage. Now, we are beset with what Caruso and Flanagan call the "third wave" of existential despair--what do we do as neuroscience shows that "mind" is solely a product of "brain," that "brain" is solely a product of an indifferent physical universe, and that free will is a myth? In this superb volume, some of the smartest people on earth wrestle with the implications of neuroexistentialism, including with the deepest question of all - how do we find meaning if we are merely the sum of our biology?" --Robert M. Sapolsky, Professor of Neuroscience, Stanford University
"This book brings together leading neuroscientists and philosophers to examine concepts such as free will, love, and morality through the lens of modern brain research, and will be indispensable to scholars interested in what neuroscience can tell us about human nature and selfhood." --Mo Costandi, Neurophilosophy blog, The Guardian, and author of Neuroplasticity (2016)
"Philosophy is indispensable in the effort to sort out the complexities of nature, especially human nature. The ability of the human brain to envision future existence gives us great advantages in planning our lives, but also allows us to worry, to be anxious about the future. The essays in Neuroexistentialism by leading philosophers and scientists offer fascinating perspectives on the human search for meaning at the present time, the age of the brain." --Joseph E. LeDoux, neuroscientist and author of Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety (2015).
"A splendid collection of papers that address (unflinchingly and from a variety of perspectives) anxieties - personal, social, and political - unleashed by recent advances in neuroscience that appear to undermine agency, responsibility, and human dignity...The book will serve as an indispensable resource for specialists and nonspecialists alike." --John Heil, Washington University in St. Louis and Monash University
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