Am I Just My Brain?

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Looking at the body, mind and soul to answer the question: What exactly is a human being?

Part of the Questioning Faith series.

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Description

Modern research is uncovering more and more detail of what our brain is and how it works. We are living, thinking creatures who carry around with us an amazing organic supercomputer in our heads.

But what is the relationship between our brains and our minds—and ultimately our sense of identity as a person? Are we more than machines? Is free-will an illusion? Do we have a soul?

Brain Imaging Scientist Sharon Dirckx lays out the current understanding of who we are from biologists, philosophers, theologians and psychologists, and points towards a bigger picture that suggests answers to the fundamental questions of our existence. Not just "What am I?", but "Who am I?"—and "Why am I?"

Read this book to gain valuable insight into what modern research is telling us about ourselves, or to give a sceptical friend to challenge the idea that we are merely material beings living in a material world.

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Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Am I just my brain?
  • 2. Is belief in the soul out of date?
  • 3. Are we just machines
  • 4. Are we more than machines?
  • 5. Is free will an illusion?
  • 6. Are we hard-wired to believe?
  • 7. Is religious experience just brain activity?
  • 8. Why can I think?

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Specification

Author Sharon Dirckx
ISBN 9781784982751
Format Paperback
First published May 2019
Dimensions 129mm x 198mm x 12mm
Print size 0.00000000pt
Language English
Pages 160
Publisher The Good Book Company

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Endorsements

John C Lennox

Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford

Dr Dirckx is well qualified to investigate the question that forms the title of her book. She illuminates the widespread reductionist notion that the brain and the mind are the same and shows that it depends more on a presupposed naturalist or materialist philosophy, than it does on actual science. The author introduces us to the intriguing yet difficult problems of the nature of consciousness, free will and determinism and convincingly demonstrates that naturalism does not have the explanatory power that the Christian worldview possesses. This book is for the open minded, and will enrich the reader whatever their worldview. I whole heartedly recommend it.

Dr Ruth M. Bancewicz

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge, UK

Laying out the arguments in her usual very readable style, Sharon makes a compelling case for why the answer to her book’s title [spoiler alert!] is “No”. Whether you agree with her conclusions or not, this whistle-stop tour of the hottest issues in neuroscience is a helpful, clear and concise summary of the different philosophical and theological positions, and the latest scientific data.

Dr J.V. Priestley

Emeritus Professor of Brain Research at St Mary's University, London

This is a well written book which explores the relationship between neuronal activity and consciousness. It starts by looking at evidence for and against Francis Crick’s Astonishing Hypothesis; namely that “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells; and their associated molecules”. Dr Dirckx then considers such difficult questions as: whether we are just machines; whether belief in the soul is still valid today; and the contribution of the brain to religious beliefs.
Books on such topics are often written by experts in philosophy and they can be very difficult for the average reader to understand. This volume is written by a neuroscientist (an expert on brain imaging) and is intended for non-specialists. It has features such as a glossary and summary diagrams, which should make it accessible to a greater number of people. I found the presentation to be both enjoyable and thought provoking, and warmly commend it to you.

Independent reviews
 

Am I Just My Brain?

Fearghal Kelly, Bethinking

Am I just my brain? answers the question quickly and with ease in the first few chapters. No, Dirckx argues, I'm not just my brain. But it leads to further questions. If I am more than my brain, what am I? What is my mind? How does my mind interact with my brain?... continue reading

 

AM I JUST MY BRAIN?

JONNY IVEY, Heirs Magazine, June 14th 2019

The inner life – a window into our deepest fears and desires. The core of who we are as people. You want to know who I am? Forget my shoes – come and spend a day in my head.
But with many rejecting the idea of God has come, the idea that matter – physical stuff – is all there is. And so that inner life…what is it?... continue reading

Customer reviews


23/01/2020

“Clear and easy to read.”

Clear and easy to read. The author is a neuroscientist and a Christian. She is very open about her Christian faith and the intersection between neuroscience and spirituality is a focus of the book. The book is intended for a general audience of any faith or none. The Christian faith is winsomely commended. Are mind, consciousness and brain activity the same thing? If my experiences of God could be monitored on a brain scan what would that say about me, God, my experiences? Are my beliefs just the result of firing neurons in my brain? Is my writing of this review and everything I'm thinking and typing just the inevitable outcome of a series of causes and effects or am I deciding it...??? All questions addressed in this book without giving you an actual headache - impressive stuff!

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Am I Just My Brain? | Sharon Dirckx | £7.99 £4.00