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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 13, 2003

UI's Antonio Damasio Reads 'Live From Prairie Lights' Feb. 18

University of Iowa faculty member Antonio Damasio, one of the world's leading neuroscientists, will read from his latest book, "Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910.

"Looking for Spinoza" is the third in Damasio's trilogy of books on the neurological mechanisms of consciousness, emotion and reason. Building on the insights of his "Descartes' Error" and "The Feeling of What Happens," Damasio demonstrates how joy and sorrow are cornerstones of human experience and accomplishment.

Damasio argues that internal regulatory processes not only preserve the life of human organisms, but also create, motivate and shape mankind's greatest cultural accomplishments.

Discarding Cartesian dualism, Spinoza not only unified the mind and body but also grasped the role of emotions in human survival and culture. In Damasio's view, Spinoza's insights in the 17th century prefigured modern neuroscience.

Oliver Sacks wrote of "Looking for Spinoza," "This is the boldest, the most satisfying, and the most personal of Antonio Damasio's books, presenting dazzling insights into the nature of emotion and feeling."

Damasio is professor and head of the UI neurology department where he studies the fundamental mechanisms of cognition and cognitive and behavioral disturbances caused by diseases of central nervous systems

Damasio was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1999 and has been the recipient of numerous honors worldwide.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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