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Tending Adam's Garden - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780121783563, 9780080575216

Tending Adam's Garden

1st Edition

Evolving the Cognitive Immune Self

Author: Irun Cohen
Paperback ISBN: 9780121783563
eBook ISBN: 9780080575216
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 8th June 2004
Page Count: 296
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Tending Adam's Garden describes and explains the way in which our immune system works from a novel perspective. The book uses metaphors and examples to bring the immune system to life and explores the fundamental miracle of nature. Written in plain language for a broad audience, this book encompasses much more than just immunology, exploring more fundamental matters such as causality, information, energy, evolution, cognition and individuality, as well as the strategy of the immune system and its role in health and disease.

Key Features

  • Provides a unique perspective on the immune system from one of the keenest scientific and philosophical brains in the world
  • Uses metaphors and case histories to explore themes in an accessible manner
  • Written in plain language requiring no specialized vocabulary or specific scientific background in the subject


Academics, researchers, professionals and students in immunology, Scientists in other disciplines within the life sciences at all levels

Table of Contents

About the Author. From the Pre-Publication Quotes. Prologue. Introduction. On Causality and Evolution. On Cognition. On Immunity. On Autoimmunity. On Tending Adam's Garden. References. Index.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2003
8th June 2004
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Irun Cohen

Dr. Irun R. Cohen studied philosophy at Northwestern University (B.A., 1959) and medicine at Northwestern Medical School (MD., 1963). He did pediatric training at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and research in infectious diseases as a commissioned officer of the U.S. Public Health Service at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, Dr. Cohen is the Director of the Robert Koch-Minerva Center for Research in Autoimmune Diseases, at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel, and the Director of the Center for the Study of Emerging Diseases, in Jerusalem, Israel. He has published numerous scientific journal articles and edited or co-authored 4 books.

Affiliations and Expertise

The Weizman Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel


"...Irun Cohen, a leading experimental and theoretical immunologist, is one of the prophets who clearly sees the limits of current dogma and who has the vision to propose new alternatives. He challenges the clonal selection theory but aims even higher: Tending Adam's Garden is an ambitious statement about biology, and like Gerald Edelman's Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group Selection (New York, Basic Books, 1987) or Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), it seeks to establish a new vision, a different way of conceiving the organism... we may be grateful for the cogency of his argument and the creative insight he has offered into the nature of immunity, the organization of its function, and the promise of therapeutic approaches based on new ways of thinking. He has provoked us to question the basic assumptions of immunology; I believe he has done more, by showing us the shape of its future." --Alfred I. Tauber, M.D. for THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE

Prepublication Reviews
"It ranks among the best dissertations on natural philosophy that I have ever read. Aristotle would be bemused and Darwin delighted." --Gene H. Stollerman, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Public Health, Emeritus, BOSTON UNIVERSITY

"[Professor Cohen] has created a brilliant and iconoclastic text, that well-reflects his own broad intellectual foundations. His novel ideas will be provocative for scholars and lay persons alike...(a)terrific work." --Martin J. Blaser, Director, Divison of Infectious Diseases, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

"Cohen's book is a wonderful journey into the world of the immune system. The writing is original, provocative and touches on more than immunology, it touches on science itself." --Howard L.Weiner, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

"The book is beautiful, as I suspected it would be, full of deep thought and philosophy." --Alex Whelan, ST. JAMES HOSPITAL, DUBLIN

"It's TERRIFIC. Very clear, very well written, without a trace of cliché or second-hand thought. And amusing, full of good jokes and poetical statements." --N. Avrion Mitchison, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON

"As one might have expected from such a sophisticated person, the book is very clearly written and elaborated, very attractive and full of original concepts on immunology and neurobiology. The author's international reputation is outstanding and the text has been the matter of extensive thinking and care by an obviously gifted writer." --Jean-Francois Bach, NECKER HOSPITAL, PARIS

"I consider the whole book to be quite brilliant... The whole book, including of course the second half (On Immunity) should be compulsory reading for all immunologists." --Graham Rook, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

Ratings and Reviews