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Modell, A.H. (2000). The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness: Antonio R. Damasio. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1999, 367 pp., $28.00.. Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(1):88-91.

(2000). Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(1):88-91

The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness: Antonio R. Damasio. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1999, 367 pp., $28.00.

Review by:
Arnold H. Modell

Antonio Damasio's The Feeling of What Happens is a bold and highly original book that is bound to be controversial. Although Damasio's knowledge base is scientific observations of neurological illness, and inferences from neuroanatomy and neuropathology, The Feeling of What Happens is also a work of the imagination, which will vastly contribute to its influence. It is a major achievement that cannot be ignored by anyone who is interested in the problem of consciousness, affects, and the self.

At the heart of Damasio's thesis is his introspective realization that consciousness feels like a feeling. Damasio describes this experience as if it were an epiphany. If consciousness is a feeling state, Damasio then infers that self consciousness means consciousness “with a sense of self.” If consciousness feels like a feeling there must be a self (an I) that is experiencing that feeling. Furthermore if the self and consciousness are inseparable this constitutes a redefinition of the biological self.

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