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Gerald Edelman describes how consciousness arises in complex brains and how it is related to evolution, to the development of self and to the origins ...Show synopsisGerald Edelman describes how consciousness arises in complex brains and how it is related to evolution, to the development of self and to the origins of feelings, learning and memory. His theories offer a solution to the mind-body problem.Hide synopsis
Description:New. Gift quality, Fine. A superior copy without defect. Clean,...New. Gift quality, Fine. A superior copy without defect. Clean, unmarked pages. Fine binding and cover. Hardcover and dust jacket. Ships daily.
Description:New. 0300102291. BRAND NEW, FLAWLESS COPY, NEVER OPENED-224 pp....New. 0300102291. BRAND NEW, FLAWLESS COPY, NEVER OPENED-224 pp. 13 black and white illus. --DESCRIPTION: When he was still a student, Richard Feynman hinted at a career to come as a scientific wonderer when he wrote: "I wonder why. I wonder why. / I wonder why I wonder / I wonder why I wonder why / I wonder why I wonder! " Such wondering, and meta-wondering, takes us to the heart of what geneticist-cum-neuroscientist Francis Crick (who would know) calls "the major unsolved problem in biology"--explaining how billions of neurons swapping chemicals give rise to such subjective experiences as consciousness, self-awareness, and awareness that others are conscious and self-aware. The body of literature attempting to solve this problem is extensive, and getting one's mind around the field is a herculean task successfully executed by psychologist Susan Blackmore in her delightful introduction, Consciousness. Presented as a textbook, it is so highly engaging that I recommend it for general readers, too. In many ways, the book is structured like a brain, with loads of independent modules (boxes and sidebars featuring profiles, concepts and activities) tied together by a flowing narrative and integrated into a conceptual whole. The easy problem, Blackmore says, is explaining each of the functional parts of the brain, such as "the discrimination of stimuli, focusing of attention, accessing and reporting mental states, deliberate control of behavior, or differences between waking and sleep. " In contrast, the hard problem in consciousness studies "is experience: what it is like to be an organism, or to be in a given mental state. " Adding up all of the solved easy problems does not equal a solution to the hard problem. Something else is going on in private subjective experiences--called qualia--and there is no consensus on what it is. Dualists hold that qualia are separate from physical objects in the world and that mind is more than brain. Materialists contend that qualia are ultimately explicable through the activities of neurons and that mind and brain are one. Blackmore, uniquely qualified to assess all comers (she sports multihued hair, is a devotee of meditation, and studies altered states of consciousness), allows the myriad theorists to make their case (including her own meme-centered theory) so that you can be the judge. Making a strong case for the materialist position is Gerald M. Edelman's latest contribution, Wider Than the Sky, offered as a "concise and understandable" explanation of consciousness "to the general reader. " Concise it is, but as for understandable, Edelman understates: "It will certainly require a concentrated effort on the part of the reader. " As director of the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, Calif., a Nobel laureate and author of several books on consciousness (Neural Darwinism, The Remembered Present and Bright Air, Brilliant Fire), Edelman has impeccable credentials. But science writing for a general audience involves more than expunging scholarly references and providing a glossary of technical terms as a substitute for clear exposition. To wit, on memory Edelman writes that "it is more fruitfully looked on as a property of degenerate nonlinear interactions in a multidimensional network of neuronal groups. " Such prose is common throughout the book, which is a shame because Edelman is a luminously entertaining conversationalist, and his theory that the brain develops in a Darwinian fashion of neuronal variation and selection, and that consciousness is an emergent property of increasingly complex and integrated neuronal groups, has considerable support from neuroscience research. An ideal combination of exquisite prose and rigorous science can be found in California Institute of Technology neuroscientist Christof Koch's The Quest for Consciousness. A rock climber adorned with a tattoo of the Apple Computer logo on his arm, Koch takes an unabashed neurobiological approach, the natural...
This is the easy-to-read version of prominent neuroscientist and nobel lauterate Gerald Edelman's theory of consciousness. Edelman's work in the cognitive sciences has moved everywhere from biology and evolution, to philosophical problems and computation.
In this short and accessible book, Edelman ...
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