Prizewinning novelist, feminist, and scholar Siri Hustvedt turns her brilliant and critical eye toward the metaphysical issues of neuropsychology in this lauded, standalone volume. Originally published in her collection A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, The Delusions of Certainty exposes how the age-old, unresolved mind-body problem has shaped - and often distorted and confused - contemporary thought in neuroscience, psychiatry, genetics, artificial intelligence, and evolutionary psychology.
A unique book by an extraordinary author. Siri Hustvedt is a notable novelist, art scholar, and a philosopher of science. In this memorable and immensely enjoyable volume, Hustvedt rises above the exhausted debate over the two cultures, to demonstrate not just the possibility but also the advantages of combining the approaches of the arts, humanities and sciences to illuminate a key aspect of the human condition: the mind-body problem.
Siri Hustvedt proves her membership in the highest rank of neuroscientists and philosophers who probe the nature of thought and the workings of consciousness. A novelist and a student of psychoanalysis and neuroscience, Hustvedt can ask questions others cannot ask about imagination, identity, epistemology, gendered power, and mortality. Her authoritative knowledge and her courage to challenge the status quo guide the reader to fresh epiphanies about what counts as human nature. The work is, in the end, a work of freedom.
The Delusions of Certainty reads like the work of a talented teacher who has the drive and the ability to organise and present - in an exceptionally clear, clean, even limpid voice - a monumental amount of abstract information. It's hard to overstate the pleasure and the comfort that such demystification provides the scientifically uninitiated; it does indeed make the world feel larger, more expansive, more alive to the touch. - New York Times Book Review
The best book on the mind-body problem I have ever read. Perhaps only a great novelist and essayist can address what neuroscientists and philosophers fail to question. Siri Hustvedt takes the reader on an inspiring journey into highly relevant and often unanswered questions about what it means to be human.
Siri Hustvedt's first novel, The Blindfold, was published by Sceptre in 1993. Since then she has published The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, What I Loved, The Sorrows of an American, The Summer Without Men and The Blazing World, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of the poetry collection Reading To You, and four collections of essays -Yonder, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting, A Plea for Eros and Living, Thinking, Looking, as well as the memoir The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves.
Born in Minnesota, Siri Hustvedt now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has a PhD in English from Columbia University and in 2012 was awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities.
She delivered the Schelling Lecture in Aesthetics in Munich in 2010, the Freud Lecture in Vienna in 2011 and the opening keynote at the conference to mark Kierkegaard's 200th anniversary in Copenhagen in 2013, while her latest honorary doctorate is from the University of Gutenburg in Germany. She is also Lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and has written on art for the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph and several exhibition catalogues.