Will our increased understanding of how our brains work allow us to transcend human nature? Yes indeed, say the authors of “Beyond Human Nature” and “How to Create a Mind.” In the first book, Jesse Prinz, a philosophy professor at the City University of New York, challenges the tenets of modern evolutionary psychology, especially those that see human behavior as something strongly constrained by biology. In the second book, Ray Kurzweil, the software inventor and visionary, argues that human intelligence will radically evolve beyond biology and become embedded in new “spiritual” machines. Both authors begin by explaining what cutting-edge cognitive sciences know about how our brains work—a lot, it turns out.


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