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On Being Human: Why Mind Matters

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  8 reviews
A revered psychologist invites us to re-examine our thinking about controversial contemporary issues, from the genetic basis for behaviors to the functions of education

In this thought-provoking book, psychologist Jerome Kagan urges readers to sally forth from their usual comfort zones. He ponders a series of important nodes of debate while challenging us to examine what w
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by Yale University Press
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Peter Geyer
Jerome Kagan is a favourite author of mine.

He writes on a topic of interest, personality.

He is a researcher and a presenter of relevant data, particularly on early childhood development.

He is obviously well educated, with an appreciation and depth of knowledge about various intersecting and overlapping topics. Although American, his references are global.

He critiques neuroscientists and social scientists for their presumptions and methods, from brain, society, to method, and he does this from
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it

‘On Being Human’ is a collection of essays by retired professor of psychology Jerome Kagan. He goes over issues such as brain scans being relatively useless for finding out where thoughts come from, given that a scanner is not the kind of place a person is usually in when thinking; the fact that neurons and chemicals do not tell us *how* a person things; and that using animals for research into thinking isn’t going to tell us how people think. There’s a lot about how environment shapes the mind
Aug 08, 2019 added it
Shelves: travelogue
Kind of a though-travelogue by a U.S. academic, born in 1929, educated in the 1950s, and reflecting on the "human mind" in the late 2010s after being a developmental psychologist over the second half of the twentieth century, when biological sciences have accumulated more prestige. Sort of the happy-hour talks one has during the reception and drink hours between the academics who hold wine glasses. Mentioned a nice distinction between hunters who strike at specific answers vs. bird-watchers who ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book is very badly written. Does not state it's objective clearly, it has lots of references about people and articles which is annoying. It just states what other people are saying.
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brain
not sure if I'll finish this. Kagan is quite opinionated. I'm never sure if what he's saying can be backed up by research results or not.
Christopher Taylor
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jerome Kagan, an emeritus professor of psychology at Harvard University, has assembled a collection of essays which he says are inspired by Montaigne. For Kagan, this means without footnotes and collage-like in structure. Kagan is/was an academic and it shows. There is very little in these essays which could be classified as personal in the style of Montaigne. Nonetheless, the writing is fluid (if repetitive) and the points are clear.

Kagan has four key messages: abstraction is a double-edged swo
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wow. I wanted a highlighter. So much interesting information packed into 275 pages. Brainfood!
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Jerome Kagan is an American psychologist. He was born in 1929 in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in Rahway, New Jersey. Kagan is currently retired after being a professor at Harvard University in the Developmental program. He is one of the key pioneers of developmental psychology. He is Daniel and Amy Starch Research Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at Harvard University, and co-faculty at the Ne ...more

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