Borges and Memory

Borges and Memory

MIT Press | September 21, 2012 | 213 pages

Imagine the astonishment felt by neuroscientist Rodrigo Quian Quiroga when he found afantastically precise interpretation of his research findings in a story written by the greatArgentinian fabulist Jorge Luis Borges fifty years earlier. Quian Quiroga studies the workings ofthe brain--in particular how memory works--one of the most complex and elusive mysteries of science.He and his fellow neuroscientists have at their disposal sophisticated imaging equipment and accessto information not available just twenty years ago. And yet Borges seemed to have imagined the gistof Quian Quiroga's discoveries decades before he made them. The title character of Borges's "Funesthe Memorious" remembers everything in excruciatingly particular detail but is unable to graspabstract ideas. Quian Quiroga found neurons in the human brain that respond to abstract concepts butignore particular details, and, spurred by the way Borges imagined the consequences of rememberingevery detail but being incapable of abstraction, he began a search for the origins of Funes.Borges's widow, MarĂ­a Kodama, gave him access to her husband's personal library, and Borges's booksled Quian Quiroga to reread earlier thinkers in philosophy and psychology. He found that just asBorges had perhaps dreamed the results of Quian Quiroga's discoveries, other thinkers--WilliamJames, Gustav Spiller, John Stuart Mill--had perhaps also dreamed a story like "Funes." With Borges and Memory, Quian Quiroga has given us a fascinating and accessible storyabout the workings of the brain that the great creator of Funes would appreciate.

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ISBN: 9780262018210
$27.95

		

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