The Master and His Emissary has ratings and reviews. Iain McGilchrist In a book of unprecedented scope, McGilchrist draws on a vast body of. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist. Mary Midgley enjoys an exploration. Divided Brain, Divided World by Jonathan Rowson and Iain McGilchrist and the Humanities An Essay by Steven Pinker with Response by Iain McGilchrist.

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I realize this review doesn’t do much more than emphasize my own enthusiasm — but for the curious reader, maybe that will suffice. The book is long, the argument is powerful, and the scholarship is beyond reproach.

The author himself admits that there is a gap between the reductionist scientific evidence he brings to the table regarding emissarg function of the hemispheres, and the conclusions we might draw about the way they have influenced cultural development, and the implications for society. Along with Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein, among German-language philosophers, receive extended and sympathetic treatment demonstrating that McGilchrist willingly suffers through some dense and challenging prose to retrieve nuggets of insight.

This anatomical anomaly, in addition to the fact that the two sides are joined by a bridge, the corpus collosum, that serves as the gatekeeper of the traffic between the two halves, gives some clue to the division of functions within the brain. McGilchrist is making an enormous claim, and hi has written a magnum opus to prove it.

But even the fact that he might not feel it especially relevant is bound to upset someone. Next, the mystique of the Orient. Part one outlines the major distinctions between the way each hemisphere conceives the world.

View all 10 comments. Views Read Edit View history. Jung’s Psychological Types, another survey of Western eemissary related to psychological theory, focused primarily on the history of ideas.

It may appear I’m not enjoying mcgilchrisf much. In fact, the balance between the left and right hemispheres is a delicate one, where many things can go wrong. How do you get people to meditate? The author would defend all of this by declaiming that he’s trying to express something which ‘can not be expressed in language’, attempts at which – along with using reason to frame language – again, the author decries as the ultimate bete noire of all the evils of modernity.


The author is astonishingly erudite, and this book must be the culmination of a lifetime mcgilchriat research and study. The Master and His Emissary: However, none of this relieves rationalist thinking from its many limitations, or repairs the damage it has wrought.

The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

Finally, McGilchrist considers the American pragmatists John Dewey and William James for their useful perspectives on philosophy and the organic nature of reality. Emisaary have in recent years read a number of books that illuminate and discuss the problems of modern society; but none that made sense of them as a unified whole in such a clear way as this book.

Thsi, according to McGilchrist, is what the left hemisphere of the brain tends to do. Atheism, to me at least, misses the point it’s not whether God exists—a factual claim I really don’t care to argue about—but HOW you see the world and live your life. Fortunately, McGilchrist is also an exceptionally lucid writer of readable, even enjoyable prose. Long sentences, with lots of sub-clauses. McGilchrist looks at the relation between our two brain-hemispheres in a new light, not just as an interesting neurological division but as a crucial shaping factor in our culture.

But if it turns out to be ‘just’ a metaphor, I will be content. My choice of the Nietzschean fable of the Master thw his emissary suggests that right at the heart of the relationship between the hemispheres I see a power struggle between two unequal cmgilchrist, and moreover one in which the inferior, dependent party the left hemisphere starts to see itself as of primary masher. The individual chapters offer amazing information and insight into not just brain and neurolog I find it impossible to rate this book.


But it was worth it for the second half: Clearly, the right brain is doing something far more essential than it is normally given credit for, even by neuroscientists. I have read of similar research results elsewhere. Jan 18, Gary rated it really liked it.

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Also mciglchrist like emiesary book explains why we are Predictably Irrational and Strangers to Ourselves, etc. The writer is part of a much broader tradition of cultural conservatism.

For example, a right-brain stroke is more debilitating than an equivalent left-brain stroke, and many of common psychiatric il Part 1 is great and would get 4 stars on its own, but I’m left wishing I hadn’t invested so much time reading part 2. By the fifth century BC, however, left to right was becoming the norm, and by the fourth century the transition was complete, and all forms of Greek were being written left to right.

Throughout, he has referred to a tale by Nietzsche, he claims to be unable to say just where he read it, but it sounds a great deal like the parable of the vineyard owner in the Gospels, which he does not refer to, to my recollection, and like Hegel’s dialectic, which he does, particularly the master-slave sections.

Mary Midgley’s Beast and Man: With response from McGilchrist http: One of the most significant non-fiction books I’ve ever read. After using neurology, neuroscience and psychiatry to explain Heidegger, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein, and thus why a fragmented, decontextualized, devitalized, and self-referential worldview will only lead to meaninglessness and inauthenticity, and ultimately “a distinctive combination of superiority and impotence”, the author then canvasses the trajectory of Western cultural evolution and social changes, citing in particular philosophy, paintings and poetry to illustrate his thesis.