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Tsakiris, M. (2010). Todd E. Feinberg: From Axons to Identity: Neurological Explorations of the Nature of the Self. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. ISBN-10: 0393705579, 288 pp., $25.95.. Neuropsychoanalysis, 12(2):217-219.

(2010). Neuropsychoanalysis, 12(2):217-219

Book Reviews

Todd E. Feinberg: From Axons to Identity: Neurological Explorations of the Nature of the Self. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. ISBN-10: 0393705579, 288 pp., $25.95.

Review by:
Manos Tsakiris

Questions such as the nature of consciousness and the “self” have traditionally been the focus of philosophical investigations. Thanks to recent advances in experimental psychology, neuropsychology, and cognitive neurosciences, the question of self-consciousness has become a timely topic of multidisciplinary scientific investigations. Todd Feinberg's book From Axons to Identity: Neurological Explorations of the Nature of the Self is the latest addition in a series of recent monographs and edited volumes devoted to this topic.

Unlike most of the other recent publications, Feinberg's approach focuses on the understanding of self-awareness from the vantage point of neurology and, in particular, of neurological syndromes that seem to affect in a fundamental way the awareness of one's self. The book begins with an overview of Feinberg's main aims: first, to provide a metapsychological understanding of the self as can be seen in development and in neuropathology; second, to put forward a plausible framework for the neurological basis of the self. These two aims are gradually developed over eight chapters, complemented by a glossary of some key terms and concepts. Chapter 1 begins with several clinical vignettes of the neuropathology of self. Here, Feinberg is at his best, as patients with anosognosia for hemiplegia (e.g., apparent unawareness of hemiplegia), somatoparaphrenia (e.g., denial of ownership of a limb), delusional misidentification syndromes (e.g., Capgras and Fregoli syndromes), and confabulations appear in a vivid and engaging way.

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