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Looking for Spinoza

Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain

Antonio Damasio


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The last in a trilogy of books that investigates the philosophical and scientific foundations of human life


Joy, sorrow, jealousy, and awe—these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza devoted much of his life's work examining how these emotions supported human survival, yet hundreds of years later the biological roots of what we feel remain a mystery. Leading neuroscientist Antonio Damasio—whose earlier books explore rational behavior and the notion of the self—rediscovers a man whose work ran counter to all the thinking of his day, pairing Spinoza's insights with his own innovative scientific research to help us understand what we're made of, and what we're here for.

Praise For Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain

"Clear, accessible and at times eloquent . . . Nothing less than a new vision of the human soul."-San Francisco Chronicle

"Compelling."-Scientific American

"Exceptionally engaging and profoundly gratifying."-Nature

"Damasio has the rare talent of rendering science intelligible while also being gifted in philosophy, literature and wit."

— Margaret Jacob

"Looking for Spinoza is exceptionally engaging and profoundly gratifying."

— Ray Dolan

"In clear, accessible and eloquent prose, Damasio is outlining a new vision of the human soul."

— William Kowinski


— Scientific American

Mariner Books, 9780156028714, 368pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2003

About the Author

Antonio Damasio is the Van Allen Professor and head of the department of neurology at the University of Iowa Medical Center and is an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute in San Diego. Descartes' Error was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and has been translated into twenty-three languages. He lives in Iowa City and Chicago.