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The Delusions of Certainty

Siri Hustvedt

4 Reviews

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Social & political philosophy, Gender studies: women, Psychology

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.

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Praise for The Delusions of Certainty

  • 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.

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Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt is the author of seven novels including the international besteller What I Loved, The Blazing World, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and Memories of the Future, as well as five collections of essays: Yonder, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting, A Plea for Eros, Living, Thinking, Looking and A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women. She has also published a poetry collection, Reading To You, and the memoir The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves.

Hustvedt has won the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities and the European Essay Prize for her essay The Delusions of Certainty. She is a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and has written on art for the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph. Born in Minnesota, Siri Hustvedt lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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