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In the beginning was the hand. So argues Colin McGinn in this gripping, inventive, and wide-ranging tale of evolution and human nature. How did we ever get to be what we are: smart, social, linguistic, dexterous, and prone to anxiety? It is not our brains but our hands that explain our contours. Drawing on his life in philosophy, and his engagement with cognitive science and the theory of evolution, McGinn proposes that we are handlers by nature: we take hold, reach and grasp, seize, stroke, poke, squeeze, probe, and rub. We are great big hands extended toward the world around us. -- Alva Noe, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature Life in the twenty-first century leaves little doubt that the human brain is headed for a role reassignment, the nature of which will ultimately depend on what computers cannot do to solve human problems and to manage our complex affairs. In this context, philosopher Colin McGinn's new book Prehension is a critical reminder that human intelligence is irreplaceably human, rooted in ancestral and evolutionary circumstances that gave the hand its distinctive and powerful individual, social, and cultural agency. -- Frank R. Wilson, author of The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture
Colin McGinn has taught philosophy at institutions of higher learning including University College London, Rutgers University, and Oxford University. He is the author of The Character of Mind, Consciousness and Its Objects, The Meaning of Disgust, The Philosophy of Language: The Classics Explained (MIT Press), and other books.