Raymond Tallis Takes Out the ‘Neurotrash’

photo of Raymond Tallis wearing a red hatMy latest Chronicle story is a profile of the physician-philosopher Raymond Tallis. The scrappy British polymath aims to cure academe of two illnesses: “Neuromania” and “Darwinitis.” Neuromania is the notion that to understand people you must peer into the “intracranial darkness” of their skulls with brain-scanning technology. Darwinitis is the idea that Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory can explain not just the origin of the human species—a claim Tallis enthusiastically accepts—but also the nature of human behavior and institutions. Tallis’s opponents call him a propagandist who resorts to caricaturing the ideas he attacks. If you don’t feel like wading through the whole story, check out the quick version in this podcast.

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