The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head

Raymond Tallis

The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head

"The Kingdom of Infinite Space" is a journey around the part of our anatomy to which we feel most attached: our heads. In this unique combination of biological science and philosophical interrogation, Raymond Tallis takes the head apart, piece by piece, in search of the place where our souls, and consciousness, reside.From the act of blushing and the amount of manganese in our tears (tears of pain contain more than tears of distress) to the curiousness of a kiss, "The Kingdom of Infinite Space" explores the astonishing range of activities that go on inside our heads, most of which are entirely beyond our control. After escorting his readers on a fantastic voyage through every chamber of the head and brain, Raymond Tallis demonstrates that not only does consciousness not reside between our ears, but that our heads are infinitely cleverer than we are. 4.4 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Science & Nature, Psychology & Psychiatry
Format Hardback
Pages 400
RRP £19.99
Date of Publication April 2008
ISBN 978-1843546696
Publisher Atlantic
 

"The Kingdom of Infinite Space" is a journey around the part of our anatomy to which we feel most attached: our heads. In this unique combination of biological science and philosophical interrogation, Raymond Tallis takes the head apart, piece by piece, in search of the place where our souls, and consciousness, reside.From the act of blushing and the amount of manganese in our tears (tears of pain contain more than tears of distress) to the curiousness of a kiss, "The Kingdom of Infinite Space" explores the astonishing range of activities that go on inside our heads, most of which are entirely beyond our control. After escorting his readers on a fantastic voyage through every chamber of the head and brain, Raymond Tallis demonstrates that not only does consciousness not reside between our ears, but that our heads are infinitely cleverer than we are.

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Kenan Malik

Imagine a guide to England that bypasses London. Or a history of football that fails to mention Pelé. That is similar to what Ray Tallis has done in The Kingdom of Infinite Space. He gives us 'a fantastical journey around your head' that barely mentions your brain. And it is so much the better for that... At the heart of all his work is a desire to understand what it means to be human, neither as divine creations nor merely as beasts, but rather as what Tallis calls 'embodied subjects'... Tallis can digress entertainingly on anything from Heidegger to hiccups, from Samuel Beckett to the basilar membrane. The Kingdom of Infinite Space is a book to make you laugh, cry, yawn. It might even make you use your brain.

09/05/2008

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The Times

Catherine O'Brien

The Kingdom of Infinite Space is a book that could have been conceived only by a mind as original as that of Tallis... Underpinning everything about which he writes - from the infectiousness of yawning to the hinterlands of a nod and a wink - are two things: a high-minded philosophical inquiry into human consciousness, and a boyish wonderment at the utterly brilliant entity that is our heads.

25/03/2008

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The Sunday Times

Lynne Truss

This is an amazing book about the human head, and since its chief stated purpose is to amaze, there can be no higher compliment... Tallis is a bit of a brainbox, so it isn't all plain sailing, style-wise. Having a medical and academic background, Tallis is also a poet, literary critic and philosopher, and it is his unique ability to synthesise hard biological fact, wide philosophical inquiry and piercing poetic incontrovertibility that makes his book so original... The irony... is that it sets out to draw attention to everything other than the brain, yet in the process makes the reader bury his face in his hands and moan, “It hurts, I tell you; it hurts!” But the pleasure of this book is that, at the same time - and in all the best senses - it is a very, very heady experience.

24/04/2009

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The Times Educational Supplement

Chris McManus

Raymond Tallis isn't happy with neuroscience and neurophilosophy because - how else to say it? - he finds them too cerebral. In a nutshell, The Kingdom of Infinite Space is therefore not about brains, but about heads, that "strange zeugma of intelligence and meat, of thought and bone". The 5kg of biological kit carried on our necks is a remarkable evolutionary achievement, packing in the body's control systems, major sensory systems, orifices for admitting food and air, and a panoply of glands, tubes and miscellaneous junk to keep it all fed and watered.

29/05/2008

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The Guardian

Jane O'Grady

Tallis stalks the essence of experience, tries to pinpoint the borderline where sensation peters out into nothingness... Sometimes he is self-indulgent, facetious, a bit too pleased with himself, but at his best he does, 38 years later, what the philosopher Thomas Nagel did in his seminal "What is it like to be a bat?" and reminds us of the glory of human beings... Tallis reminds us of the surprising obtuseness of clever academics when they fail to see what's right in front of their noses.

10/05/2008

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