Speculations

John Brockman, Author Prentice Hall $10.95 (268p) ISBN 978-0-13-826215-0
These ``speculations'' reveal an ironic subtext more pervasive even than the book's ostensible theme: the latest scientific word on how the human brain and thought are structured. Underlying this collection of essays by neurobiologists, psychoanalysts, artists and others--all members of a private intellectual group founded by literary agent Brockman--is an all too traditional bias toward an empirically conditioned view of reality and thought. On the one hand, this explicit bias makes for a coherent statement about the ``subject of thinking.'' On the other, it glosses over the more problematical aspects of thought taken in a social rather than biological context, where the ``ontogenesis of the human brain'' is not a typical topic of conversation--rather, the freedom to think independently is of primary importance. Of all the essays here, only biologist Lynn Margulis's poetically inspired piece on the origins of mind-brain breaks out of the scientistic mold. Historian Morris Berman's account of creativity recalls the bygone days of a more meditative empirical approach to the subject. The others, though, uphold the status quo. Some of these pieces appeared previously in Lynx Books's The Reality Club no. I. Macmillan Book Club selection. (Aug.) NONFICTION REPRINTSNONFICTION REPRINTS ) WHAT AM I DOING HERE Bruce Chatwin. Penguin, $10.95 * ISBN *0-14-011577-3* The late author of Utz and In Patagonia offers what PW described as a ``mosaic of travelogues, profiles, semi-fictionalized stories and fragments . . . an endless feast, rich in small discoveries and larger perceptions of the world.'' 75,000 first printing. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
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