An Open Mind?

Examining the complex functioning of a human brain as it lay exposed on an operating table can be a heady experience. Wonder, however, can easily lead to a kind of philosophical vertigo. This was evident in a recent essay in the New York Times written by Karl Ove Knausgaard. The famous Norwegian author described his experiences witnessing brain surgery performed by the British neurosurgeon, Henry Marsh. Marsh was in Albania to demonstrate his method of removing tumors from the brains of patients while they were conscious. The patients could respond to various stimuli in the brain so as to provide valuable information about the limits of surgical intervention. Knausgaard was present in the operating theatre, able to peer into the exposed brains, and to talk with the patients while their…


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