Bodily Sensibility: Intelligent Action

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The brain is a cognitive organ, and regions of the brain that traverse brainstem and cortical sites orchestrate the expression of bodily sensibility: intelligent action. They can appear perfunctory or intimate, calculating a sum or selecting a mate. Schulkin presents neuroscientific research demonstrating that thought is not on one side and bodily sensibility on the other; from a biological point of view, they are integrated. Schulkin further argues that this integration has important implications for judgements about the emotions, art and music, moral sensibilities, attraction and revulsion, and our perpetual inclination to explain ourselves and our surroundings. He begins the book by setting forth a view of the emotions not as a bodily burden to be borne, but rather as a great source of information. He then moves on to other domains, claiming that underlying the experience of aesthetics in at least some instances is the interplay between expectation and disappointment from its infraction, and suggesting that, among other things, repulsion and attraction to the cries and joys of others constitutes moral responsiveness. This book should appeal to researchers in behavioural neuroscience, emotion, and psychophysiology, as well as cognitive and social psychologists and philosophers of mind.