Oxford University Press, 2002
Nicholas Humphrey’s writings about the evolution of the mind have done much to set the agenda for contemporary psychology. Here, in a series of riveting essays, he invites us to "take another look" at a variety of the central and not-so-central issues: the evolution of consciousness, the nature of the self, multiple personality disorder, the placebo effect, cave art, religious miracles, mediaeval animal trials, the seductions of dictatorship, and much more.
"Nicholas Humphrey writes so elegantly, he turns thinking into a positive pleasure."
In an age in which "popular science" – and indeed "popular" anything – has come to mean the regurgitation of tired ideas, Nicholas Humphrey is a gem. A genuinely provocative thinker, and a wonderfully elegant writer, Humphrey possesses the enviable knack of being able to talk both to the practising scientist and the lay reader. His theoretical work on consciousness and evolution has helped set the agenda for contemporary psychology. But he is also able to take the ordinary reader through the thicket of argument without sacrificing depth for clarity. Even when you disagree with Humphrey, reading his essays is both a pleasure and a necessity.
Kenan Malik. Sunday Telegraph
For those who are unafraid to question received opinions and consider alternative hypotheses, Nicholas Humphrey’s new collection of essays is an intellectual goldmine. . .His radical suggestions are always based on rigorous argument and scrupulously examined evidence. Underneath all of the essays [lies] a single-minded and passionate concern to uncover the truth, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. . . His style is by turns elegant, intimate, and entertaining. . . This is a far cry from those worthy but tedious collections that one finds gathering dust on library shelves; it is a real page-turner.
Dylan Evans.Human Nature Review
His answers involve a lucid and jargon-free journey along all sorts of philosophical and psychological byways. . . even getting lost with Humphrey can be worthwhile.
Jerome Burne. Financial Times
Nicholas Humphrey, School Professor at the LSE, is a good candidate for the post of philosopher’s favourite psychologist. . . This fascinating book is an ideal introduction to the breadth of his work – in both science and the humanities.
Keith Sutherland. Times Higher Educational Supplement