This fully illustrated account, rigorous yet lucid and entirely accessible, shows how the plasticity of the brain’s neural network allows for successive inscriptions, transcriptions, and retranscriptions of experience, leading to the constitution of an inner reality, an unconscious psychic life unique to each individual. In what amounts to a paradigm shift based on the concept of plasticity, this elegant, seamless collaboration of a psychoanalyst and a neuroscientist bridges the gap between disciplines formerly believed to be incompatible. Ansermet and Magistretti have opened up new areas of exploration of the mind/body connection and profoundly new ways in which to understand the bodily underpinnings of personal freedom, identity, and change.
“On the surface psychoanalysis and neuroscience could not appear more different. The approach, the vocabulary, and the investigative tools seem too far apart. But under that surface, however, they share a subject and a purpose. In Biology of Freedom, François Ansermet and Pierre Magistretti, a psychoanalyst and a neuroscientist, deal with differences and similarities richly and thoughtfully. In the process they open the way for a fruitful dialogue between two indispensable disciplines. ” —Antonio Damasio, author of Descartes’ Error, The Feeling of What Happens, and Looking for Spinoza
“This book is both informative and groundbreaking. It enriches basic cognitive and affective neuroscience with the deep and intelligent theoretical sophistication of French psychoanalysis.” —Mark Solms, Arnold Pfeffer Center for Neuropsychoanalysis, New York Psychoanalytic Institute
About the Authors:
François Ansermet is a psychoanalyst, professor, and head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the School of Medicine at the University of Geneva. He is a member of the World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP).
Pierre Magistretti is a professor of neuroscience, Co-director of the Brain Mind Institute of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale (EPFL) in Lausanne, and Director of the Center for Psychiatric Neurosciences at the Centres Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and the University of Lausanne. He holds the International Chair 2007-2008 at the Collège de France, Paris. He has served as the president of the European Federation of Neuroscience Societies (FENS).