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The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

2009 . Iain McGilchrist



About the book


Why is the brain divided? The difference between right & left hemispheres has been puzzled over for centuries. In a book of unprecedented scope, McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent brain research, illustrated with case histories, to reveal that the difference is profound—not just this or that function, but two whole, coherent, but incompatible ways of experiencing the world. The left hemisphere is detail oriented, prefers mechanisms to living things & is inclined to self-interest. The right hemisphere has greater breadth, flexibility & generosity. This division helps explain the origins of music & language, & casts new light on the history of philosophy, as well as on some mental illnesses. The 2nd part of the book takes a journey thru the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought & belief of thinkers & artists, from Aeschylus to Magritte. He argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction Asymmetry and the brain -- What do the two hemispheres 'do'? -- Language, truth and music -- The nature of the two worlds -- The primacy of the right hemisphere -- The triumph of the left hemisphere -- Imitation and the evolution of culture -- The ancient world -- The Renaissance and the Reformation -- The Enlightenment -- Romanticism and the Industrial Revolution -- The modern and post-modern worlds Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index






Yale University Press




030014878X (ISBN13: 9780300148787)


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