Pierre Buser

The Brain : Yours and Others Publication date : January 1, 1998

This book is both a careful review of the numerous debates that have stirred--and continue to stir--the cognitive sciences, and a personal essay. Buser gives us a great deal of information on the field of cognitive studies during the past twenty years. The various approaches to the subject are reviewed and analysed with a pedagogue's concern for order and clarity of presentation. The personal essay that runs though Buser's book focuses on the unconscious, a concept that the cognitive sciences have significantly enhanced. Besides the affective unconscious, familiar to us from psychoanalysis, there is also the cognitive unconscious encompassing all the mental activities that escape the conscious self but may nonetheless be confirmed: either by the subjects themselves in the aftermath of such activity, or in others through observation. As a result, introspection, confession, meditation, and hypnosis are given a nearly experimental status. The author has tried to elaborate an original theory of psychic activity, based, on the one hand, on the cognitive conscious and the cognitive unconscious, and, on the other, on the cognitive unconscious and the affective unconscious.

Pierre Buser, a former director of the Institut des neurosciences at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, is Professor Emeritus at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, and a member of the Académie des Sciences.