"From a neurologist whose work offers one of the most promising paths to unraveling the mystery of consciousness, an exploration of consciousness unlike any other. Somehow our soul, our consciousness, our world, all is generated by what's inside our skull. This is the essential question of neurology. Consciousness cannot just rest inside the ...Read More"From a neurologist whose work offers one of the most promising paths to unraveling the mystery of consciousness, an exploration of consciousness unlike any other. Somehow our soul, our consciousness, our world, all is generated by what's inside our skull. This is the essential question of neurology. Consciousness cannot just rest inside the shroud of science, because consciousness is more than an object of science: it is its subject, too. In PHI, we follow an old scientist, Galileo, on a journey in search of consciousness. Galileo once wrote "concerning sensation and the things that pertain to it, I claim to understand but little"--so he chose to remove the observer from nature, and now his investigation requires its return. Galileo's journey has three parts, each with a different guide: in the first, accompanied by a scientist who resembles Francis Crick, he learns why certain parts of the brain are important and not others and why consciousness fades with sleep. In the second part, when his companion seems to be Alturi (Galileo is hard of hearing, so doesn't properly hear his companion's name--Turing), he sees how the facts we have might be unified into a theory of consciousness. In the third part, accompanied by another master of scientific observation, he muses on how consciousness is an evolving, developing, ever deepening awareness of ourselves in history, culture"--Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2012-05-14 Both playful and philosophical, this extravagant book addresses questions about the root of consciousness in a unique way to illustrate Tononi's innovative view of consciousness in terms of information theory, the brain as an integrated network of signals. Professor of neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, Tononi takes an aging Galileo-and the reader-on a complex intellectual journey in three parts, each led by a prominent scientist. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, shows Galileo how various portions of the human brain function, both separately and together. Alan Turing, a founder of the science of artificial intelligence, helps Galileo understand how to link these facts into "a scientific theory of consciousness." Galileo's third guide is Charles Darwin, who explores how consciousness is evolving. Tononi provides notes at the end of each chapter that expand on the themes raised, and in a voice separate from that of the text's narrator; for example, the book ends with an arcane symbol, and the note comments that this symbol "must hold some great significance to the author but could not be deciphered." The book is a visual delight as well as an impressive read, its lavish artwork and literary references demonstrating just how fully complementary art and science can be. (Aug) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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