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‘Cogito ergo sum’ (I think therefore I am) sums up the philosophy of René Descartes (figure 1)—on which Western ideas of consciousness and mind are often based—postulating a division between mind and body (or brain). Damásio says, “I am, therefore I think”. Or, to elaborate, “I am, therefore I think and I feel, and therefore I thrive”. His thesis is that our reasoning powers and the dissuasive (or persuasive) bodily emotions are in fact a life-saving, life-enhancing double act, and that without a body as a yard stick to perceive the outside world and respond to thoughts and memory, a mind as we know it could not exist. No longer should we regard feelings as a source of only detrimental influence on our reasoning skills. Damásio challenges their oil and water reputation and with …
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