"According to many popularising books published in the last few years, the heart of Man's mystery is soon to be plucked from him. John Horgan pours well-deserved (and clearly expressed) scorn upon this idea." Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph

"Freud, Prozac, genes, evolution, smart machines--John Horgan offers a healthy antidote to facile claims that the enigmas of the human mind will be solved--or dissolved--by a single approach." Howard Gardner, Harvard University

"[E]xtraordinarily provocative and wide-ranging...During his rollicking stroll though the varied creeds that compose the terrain of consciousness studies, Horgan both educates and entertains." Publisher's Weekly

"Compelling... a well-researched and important book." Abraham Vergese, front page review, Chicago Tribune.

"[F]ull of fascinating vignettes in which noted brain researchers are caught thinking out loud... Riveting [and] eye-opening." Wall Street Journal

"The Undiscovered Mind is saved from mere crankiness by his light touch (there are some chuckles here), his evenhandedness (almost everybody gets torched) and by the fact that he gets most of his victims straight..." Paul Churchland, The New York Times Book Review

"John Horgan has done it again. In this rich, irreverent, thorough, and entertaining tour of mind-science, Horgan makes complicated lines of research accessible and compelling." Walter Brown, Professor of Psychiatry, Brown University

"[R]aises some tough, provocative questions." Kirkus Reviews

The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation

Publisher's Description

John Horgan focuses on the single most important scientific enterprise of all - the effort to understand the human mind - and exposes a world of minor and doubtful achievement.. Horgan takes us inside laboratories, hospitals, and universities to meet neuroscientists. Freudian analysts, electroshock therapists, behavioral geneticists, evolutionary psychologists, artificial intelligence engineers, and philosophers of consciousness. He looks into the persistent explanatory gap between mind and body that Socrates pondered and shows that it has not been bridged. He investigates what he calls the Humpty Dumpty dilemma, the fact that neuroscientists can break the brain and mind into pieces but cannot put the pieces back together again. He presents evidence that the placebo effect is the primary ingredient of psychotherapy, Prozac, and other treatments for mental disorders. As Horgan shows, the mystery of human consciousness, of why and how we think, remains so impregnable that to expect the attempts of scientific method and technology to penetrate it anytime soon is absurd.

Selected Works

McSweeney's Books, paperback edition, 2014.
"Cross-check" (Scientific American blog), August 12, 2014.
Review of Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature," Slate, October 3, 2011
A rebuttal of the deep-roots theory of warfare. Discover, June 2012.
Drones may soon become ubiquitous in U.S. skies.
Brain and Mind
Don't hold your breath for the Singularity. IEEE Spectrum, June 2008.
Article on scientific explanations of religious experiences, Discover, December 2006.
Profile of Jose Delgado, pioneer of brain implants, Scientific American, October 2005.
Investigation of controversial "grandmother-cell" hypothesis. Discover, June 2005.
Investigation of peyote use in Native American Church. Discover, February 2003.
Tenth-anniversay update of The End of Science. Discover, October 2006.
Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7, 2006.
New York Times, August 12, 2005
New York Times, December 12, 2004
A list of articles written for Scientific American and other publications.
Rational Mysticism Outtakes
An account of Horgan's efforts to achieve satori in a Zen class.
A profile of the German anthropologist and authority on shamanism Christian Ratsch.
A profile of Diana Alstad and Joel Kramer, authors of The Guru Papers.
A profile of the Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast.
A profile of the British Buddhist Stephen Batchelor.
A profile of the guru Andrew Cohen, founder of What Is Enlightenment?
Basic Books, 2015 (with new preface). Originally published by Addison Wesley, 1996.