The subtitle says it all: how the human brain defies replication, medication, and explanation. The Undiscovered Mind, written by John Horgan, chronicles in detail the failures of psychology to understand, diagnose, or treat much of anything in an objective, empirical sense. Horgan claims that Prozac has not been shown to be better than a placebo, Freudian psychoanalysis – to the extent that it has any common meaning between analysts – makes problems worse if anything, and that enthusiasts of artificial intelligence have no idea what cognition is. Horgan suggests that each individual may be so altered by miniscule events as to make everyone so unique that general principles of human nature will be forever elusive.
Published in 1999, The Undiscovered Mind casts a pessimistic light on all progress in what is arguably the most important field of science. While it may on occasion go too far in this respect, it can still be useful in highlighting the blind radical loyalty to various questionable theories of genetic psychology, neuroscience, psychoanalysis, phrenology, lobotomy, and others by many in the scientific community.
If you like the book, you may also be interested in Horgan’s other book The End Of Science. In it, he explores the possibility that we are very close to knowing all that can be known, and how science will change in its focus.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.