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The Strange Order Of Things

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472147356

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 4th November 2021

Genre: Mathematics & Science

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‘Damasio undertakes nothing less than a reconstruction of the natural history of the universe … [A] brave and honest book’ The New York Times Book Review

The Strange Order of Things is a pathbreaking investigation into homeostasis, the condition of that regulates human physiology within the range that makes possible not only survival but also the flourishing of life.

Antonio Damasio makes clear that we descend biologically, psychologically and even socially from a long lineage that begins with single living cells; that our minds and cultures are linked by an invisible thread to the ways and means of ancient unicellular existence and other primitive life-forms; and that inherent in our very chemistry is a powerful force, a striving toward life maintenance that governs life in all its guises, including the development of genes that help regulate and transmit life.

The Strange Order of Things is a landmark reflection that spans the biological and social sciences, offering a new way of understanding the origins of life, feeling and culture.


'The Strange Order of Things is a foundational book. It provides the concepts, the language, and the knowledge to explain in an integrated framework the interplay between Nature and Culture at the heart of the human condition. Damasio unveils the codes and protocols that make humans human ... This is the beginning of a new scientific revolution' Manuel Castells, author of Networks of Outrage and Hope
'Damasio's books are marvels of scientific effervescence, of conceptual invention, and, in the end, of modesty, of that sense of the limits of knowledge that only knowledge is capable of imposing' Le Monde
'Nietzsche would have given four cheers for this intricately argued book, which is at once scientifically rigorous and humanely accommodating, and, so far as this reviewer can judge, revolutionary ... The Strange Order of Things is a fresh and daring effort to identify the true spring and source of human being - of the being, in fact, of all living things - namely feeling' John Banville, The Guardian
'Following Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio may be the neuroscientist whose popular books have done the most to inform readers about the biological machinery in our heads, how it generates thoughts and emotions, creates a self to cling to, and a sense of transcendence to escape by...[the book] mounts his boldest argument yet for the egalitarian role of the brain' Kevin Berger, Nautilus
'[Damasio] exerts a considerable influence on the fashioning of contemporary thought and on all debates concerning neurology. Damasio is one of the great thinkers of our time. A pioneer in his field' L'Express
'This disturbing book shakes our conceptions of the mechanisms behind life, mind and culture. The author brings them together in a single perspective centered on homeostasis ... It is incredibly, formidably, refreshing ... A strange and ambitious book, which draws on multiple disciplines and moves across time and space to give us, very simply, a new definition of life' Revue Medicale Suisse
'Almost a quarter century after Descartes' Error, Antonio Damasio has done it again--created a grand exploration of the inextricable relationship between mind, body and the source of human feelings. Along the way, Damasio takes the reader on an adventure that starts with the single-celled organisms that existed billions of years ago, proceeds through the development of nervous systems and brains, and culminates with the origin of consciousness and human cultures. Thought-provoking and highly original, this book can change the way you look at yourself, and your species' Leonard Mlodinow, author of Subliminal
'Damasio undertakes nothing less than a reconstruction of the natural history of the universe. ... [A] brave and honest book' The New York Times Book Review
'In The Strange Order of Things, Antonio Damasio presents a new vision of what it means to be human. For too long we have thought of ourselves as rational minds inhabiting insentient mechanical bodies. Breaking with this philosophy, Damasio shows how our minds are rooted in feeling, a creation of our nervous system with an evolutionary history going back to ancient unicellular life that enables us to shape distinctively human cultures. Working out what this implies for the arts, the sciences and the human future, Damasio has given us that rarest of things, a book that can transform how we think--and feel--about ourselves' John Gray, Literary Review
'[Damasio] has introduced something baroque in a science that has been centered in one single organ, the brain. The Strange Order of Things vibrates with a baroque sensibility' Le Figaro
'These pages make enthralling reading ... It is indispensable for any psychoanalyst--and not only for psychoanalysts, of course. Damasio is the closest thing we have in the post-truth era to a great public intellectual' Mark Solms, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
'Ever since his first book, Damasio has not wavered in his efforts to rehabilitate emotions and feelings within cognitive processes. In The Strange Order of Things he nails down the effort and goes well beyond' Les Echos
'Damasio takes his reader on an intellectual journey he has made himself, one of discovery, surprise, and insight. He explains his points thoroughly but does not simplify what is complicated. He is handy with a metaphor and avoids unnecessary jargon. In a world in which specialisation has become so refined that the discourse of a given discipline often becomes wholly unintelligible to those outside it, Antonio Damasio conveys his thoughts with clarity and grace and summons the works of composers and writers and philosophers' Siri Hustvedt, Los Angeles Review of Books
'Bold and important ... Damasio, by unseating the mind from its elevated throne within the brain, delivers an onslaught on one of the core dogmas of conventional neuroscience ... Compelling and refreshingly original' Nature
'A radical revision of how we understand mind, feeling, consciousness, and the construction of cultures ... Damasio draws a visionary link between biology and social science in a fascinating investigation of homeostasis--the delicate balance that underpins our physical existence, ensures our survival, and defines our flourishing' Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
'Here is a new, strange and unassailable definition of life' Slate