Stuart Agency
Published by
St. Martin's (April 2013)
Original language
Society & Social Sciences


What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves

by Burton, Robert A.

A critical look at cutting edge and key assumptions in cognitive science that offers a new way of exploring how our brains generate thought.

What if what we consider to be reason-based, deliberative judgment is really the product of involuntary mental sensations? In A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind, Dr. Robert Burton takes a close look at the key false assumptions that permeate the field of cognitive science and offers a new way of exploring how our brains generate thought. The essential paradox that drives this cutting-edge theory is that the same mechanisms that prevent understanding the mind also generate a sense that we can attain such understanding. In A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind, Burton presents his theory of the "mental sensory system"—a system that generates the main components of consciousness: a sense of self, a sense of choice and free will, and how we make moral decisions.
Bringing together anecdotes, practical thought experiments, and cutting-edge neuroscience to show how these various strands of thought and mental sensations interact, A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind offers a powerful tool for knowing what we can and cannot say about the mind; how to discern good from bad cognitive science studies; and most importantly, how to consider the moral implications of these studies. This is a pathbreaking model for considering the interaction between conscious and unconscious thought.

ROBERT BURTON, M.D. graduated from Yale University and University of California at San Francisco medical school. He was chief of the Division of Neurology at Mt. Zion-UCSF Hospital, where he subsequently became Associate Chief of the Department of Neurosciences. He is the author of On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not and three critically acclaimed novels. He lives in Sausalito, California.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


Challenges our understanding of the very nature of thought and provokes readers to ask what Burton calls 'the most basic of questions': How do we know what we know?

Quote: Scientific American Mind

If there’s anything you think you’re certain of, read this book and you may change your mind.

Review: Skeptical Inquirer

Burton questions the fundamental assumptions of his field . . . he takes on the very foundations of cognitive science, leading readers to valuable insights in the process.

Quote: Vinod Koshla, Sun Microsystems

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