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A brilliant and comprehensive history of the creation of the modern Western mind.
Soul Machine takes us back to the origins of modernity, a time when a crisis in religious authority and the scientific revolution led to searching questions about the nature of human inner life. This is the story of how a new concept—the mind—emerged as a potential solution, one that was part soul and part machine but fully neither.
George Makari shows how writers, philosophers, doctors and anatomists worked to construct notions of the mind as not an ethereal thing but a natural one. This became the basis of the mind sciences, liberal politics, secular ethics and radically new visions of the self, society, the ordering of knowledge and the sources of unreason. Boldly original and synthetic, Soul Machine is a masterful new history of the mind, madness and the emergence of psychological man in the Western world.
“...highly engaging story...” — The Economist
“Insightful, thought-provoking and encyclopaedic, Makari's book shows how we came to understand where the mind is located and something of its nature.” — Nature
“Soul Machine is George Makari’s examination of the way we moved from conceptualising our core humanity in terms of a soul to conceptualising in terms of a mind. It’s a history not of psychiatry but of consciousness, magisterial and pellucid and often wise.” — Andrew Solomon, Best Books of 2016, The Guardian