These essays from one of our most stimulating thinkers showcase Tallis's infectious fascination, indeed intoxication, with the infinite complexity of human lives and the human condition. In the title essay, we join Tallis on a stroll around his local park - and the intricate passages of his own consciousness - as he uses the motif of the walk, the amble, to occasion a series of meditations on the freedoms that only human beings possess. In subsequent essays, the flaneur thinks about his brain, his relationship to the rest of the animal kingdom, his profession of medicine and about the physical world and the claims of physical science to have rendered philosophical reflection obsolete. Taken together the essays continue Tallis's mission to elaborate a vision of humanity that rejects religious myths while not succumbing to scientism or any other form of naturalism. Written with the author's customary intellectual energy and vigour these essays provoke, move and challenge us to think differently about who we are and our place in the material world.
Raymond Tallis trained as a doctor before going on to become Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester. He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences for his research in clinical neuroscience. He retired from medicine in 2006 to become a full-time writer. He has published over a dozen books of cultural criticism and philosophical anthropology including, most recently, "The Kingdom of Infinite Space" (2008), "Aping Mankind" (Acumen, 2011), and "In Defence of Wonder" (Acumen, 2012).
Overture: Reflections of a Metaphysical Flaneur Part I: Brains, Persons and Beasts 1. Am I My Brain? 2. Was Schubert a Musical Brain? 3. Wickedness and Wit: Is It All in the Brain? 4. Are Conscious Machines Possible? 5. David Chalmers's Unsuccessful Search for the Conscious Mind 6. A Conversation with My Neighbour 7. Silk: Metamorphoses Beyond Biology Part II: Philosophy and Physics 8. Should We Just Shut Up and Calculate? Does Physics Need Philosophy? 9. You Chemical Scum, You 10. Did Time Begin with a Bang? 11. A Hasty Report from a Tearing Hurry Part III: Philosophy and Physic 12. Medical Ethics in the Real Mess of the Real World 13. On Caring and Not Caring 14. Coinages of the Mind: Hallucinations 15. Becoming the Prisoners of Our Free Choices 16. The Right to an Assisted Death Epilogue: And So to Bed: Notes towards a Philosophy of Sleep from A to Zzzzzzz