Phantoms In The Brain: Human Nature And The Architecture Of The Mind uses case studies and incidents to delve into theories of the human mind. The book was written after extensive research into the functioning of the brain.
This book features different instances of how the brain reacts after a physical injury. The brain creates phantom imitations of body parts that have been damaged or destroyed. One example given is of a woman who believes that she is able to move her left arm despite being paralysed in reality. Another case study talks about a man who was in a fatal accident and lost his right arm. Yet, he states that he can feel actual movement in his arm. The author explains that this is merely the mind creating phantom sensations.
This book states that it is not just about the physical healing process but the time that the human brain takes to make sense of what has happened. The book poses questions on topics like identity of oneself and the world, consciousness, and philosophical beliefs. Many clinical syndromes are explained with the help of logical thought and presented with wit and humour, making it an interesting read. The author even points out errors in thought by philosophers of yesteryears, forcing readers to rethink their stance on certain principles.
The book states that for the brain to create conscious sensations three important factors are needed, stability, choice, and memory. The book even attempts to discuss different aspects of the self such as the passionate self and the mnemonic self.
Phantoms In The Brain: Human Nature And The Architecture Of The Mind was well-received. Critics appreciated that such an intensive scientific topic was written in a style for both laymen and intellectuals to grasp.
About The Authors
V. S. Ramachandran is a neuroscientist specializing in areas such as visual perception and behavioural neurology.
He has also penned The Emerging Mind, A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers, and The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human.
V. S. Ramachandran was born in Tamil Nadu, India. He studied earned an M.B.B.S. from Madras Medical College and went on to complete his Ph.D. from University of Cambridge. Richard Dawkins has hailed him as ‘the Marco Polo of Neuroscience.’ He has been bestowed with several awards including the Padma Bhushan.
Sandra Blakeslee is a well-known science writer with the New York Times.
She has written Sleights of Mind, On Intelligence, and What About the Kids?.
She focuses on topics like brain sciences, earth sciences and environment.
She grew up in New York and studied at Northwestern University and University of California. She has innumerable articles to her credit. She became the first journalism fellow at Santa Fe Institute.