Research What Are You Reading? (February 29–March 6)

What Are You Reading? (February 29–March 6)

With all the election hysteria going on at the moment—illustrated most recently by The New York Times‘s interesting account of the Republican establishment’s attempts to stop the Trump campaign—it is worth asking where our political differences originate. Though this is hardly a question that can be answered in one book—or even a hundred—there have been some novel attempts, in the last couple of years, to contrast the science of neurology with the field of politics. A reading group I participate in has been going through some of the literature on this topic, and I would recommend that anyone interested in this question take a look at the books we have read. They are Catherine Malabou’s What Should We Do with Our Brain? and Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind.

What are you reading?


  1. I would suggest, for your reading group, not simply to contrast “the science of neurology with the field of politics” but to broaden your thinking by inviting in some other viewpoints, both Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Modern World (2009) and John Searle’s The Construction of Social Reality (1995) and Making the Social World (2010). Recognizing the extent to which our present social institutions are linguistic constructions (and hence can be re-constructed, if we muster the collective awareness that we can do so), and combining that insight with the realization that thinking in terms of linguistic re-presentations is only ONE way of thinking (there is an alternative way of approaching the world, thanks to our hemispheric asymmetry, one that can help us see what’s wrong with many of our existing linguistic constructions), should be received as very good news indeed.


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