I d never been a science person, Casey Schwartz declares at the beginning of her far-reaching quest to understand how we define ourselves. Read more...
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I d never been a science person, Casey Schwartz declares at the beginning of her far-reaching quest to understand how we define ourselves. Nevertheless, in her early twenties, she was drawn to the possibilities and insights emerging on the frontiers of brain research. Over the next decade she set out to meet the neuroscientists and psychoanalysts engaged with such questions as, How do we perceive the world, make decisions, or remember our childhoods? Are we using the brain? Or the mind? To what extent is it both?
Schwartz discovered that neuroscience and psychoanalysis are engaged in a conflict almost as old as the disciplines themselves. Many neuroscientists, if they think about psychoanalysis at all, view it as outdated, arbitrary, and subjective, while many psychoanalysts decry neuroscience as lacking the true texture of human experience. With passion and humor, Schwartz explores the surprising efforts to find common ground. Beginning among the tweedy Freudians of North London and proceeding to laboratories, consulting rooms, and hospital bedsides around the world, Schwartz introduces a cast of pioneering characters, from Mark Solms, a South African neuropsychoanalyst with an expertise in dreams, to David Silvers, a psychoanalyst practicing in New York, to Harry, a man who has lost his use of language in the wake of a stroke but who nevertheless benefits from Silvers s analytic technique. "In the Mind Fields" is a riveting view of the convictions, obsessions, and struggles of those who dedicate themselves to the effort to understand the mysteries of inner life."
- ISBN-13: 9780307911520
- ISBN-10: 0307911527
- Publisher: Pantheon Books
- Publish Date: August 2015
- Page Count: 240
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-15
- Reviewer: Staff
More than just a survey of the fields of neuroscience and psychoanalysis, this compelling book presents readers with the stories behind the science. Schwartz depicts ongoing attempts to unite the seemingly disparate disciplines of neuroscience, in which she has a degree, and psychoanalysis—the former founded on proof, the latter sometimes criticized for its apparent absence. Yet both disciplines aim, in their varying ways, to understand the human mind. From their interdisciplinary merger comes a new term, neuropsychoanalysis. Schwarz also intends to uncover the emotional substance behind these two sciences, and accordingly emphasizes her personal connections to the research at hand. Even Freud is given an uncharacteristically human and relatable face, as are case studies typically encountered (in much less vivid form) in textbooks. Though clearly knowledgeable, Schwartz is honest about her moments of indecision, further humanizing the narrative—indeed, the book ends with more questions yet to be answered rather than with concrete conclusions. Schwartz demonstrates the value of embracing confusion and the limitations of one’s knowledge while exploring the vast expanses of the mind. (Aug.)