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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Jul-18 > Mysteries of the mind

Mysteries of the mind

The best neuroscience writing acknowledges just how little we know about the workings of the brain, finds Julian Baggini
The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Stars: A Neuropsychologist’s Odyssey by Paul Broks (Allen Lane, £20)
Brainstorm: Detective Stories from the World of Neurology by Suzanne O’Sullivan (Chatto & Windus, £16.99)
The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery by Barbara K Lipska (Bantam, £16.99)

Every culture has its shamans, oracles and priests who act as intermediaries between the known and the unknown, the seen and the unseen. In secular societies that role is increasingly being filled by scientists working at the frontiers of human understanding. Thanks to the mind-boggling obscurity of quantum theory many of these are physicists—Carlo Rovelli is only the latest to have achieved almost prophetic status.

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In Prospect's July issue: Editor of Prospect Tom Clark tackles the major fault lines developing in the Conservative Party over Brexit, arguing that the issue could be one of those few occasions where the Tories can’t overcome a significant challenge. Alongside his lead essay, Andrew Gamble, professor of politics at the University of Sheffield, examines why many European parties on the right are struggling and why the continent should be worried. Conservative MP Lee Rowley charts what some of the policy areas that the Tories will have to deal with beyond Brexit if they are to get it right. Elsewhere in the issue: Nabeelah Jaffer tries to answer one of the most difficult questions of our time: how do you de-radicalise an extremist. Using examples from both the UK and Denmark, she argues that the UK model needs more work to be effective; Philip Collins asks why Britain’s towns have fallen by the wayside while its cities have thrived; and Sam Tanenhaus profiles “the real deal-maker” in Donald Trump’s White House, Mike Pompeo, after the Secretary of State oversaw the US-North Korea summit.