Via Pete Mandik at Brain Hammer here is a rather snippy review by Raymond Tallis in the WSJ on V. S. Ramachandran’s latest which just yesterday I was leafing through. Is this the opening salvo of a slanging match akin to the APA Eastern Division meeting a few years back with Dennett vs. Bennett and Hacker?
The trouble begins when the neurologist turns philosopher and tries to use these insights to get closer to “what makes us human.” He suggests that such cross-wiring underpins both humans’ ability to enjoy metaphors and artists’ capacity to create novel connections—an assertion that has scarcely any research to back it up. (What little has been done depends on laughably simplistic models of how metaphors and creativity really work.) Likewise, his explanation of how we became speaking animals has scarcely a toe-hold on empirical data.