A Universe Of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination

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9780465013760: A Universe Of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination

What goes on in our head when we have a thought? Why do the physical events that occur inside a fistful of gelatinous tissue give rise to the world of conscious experience? In The Universe of Consciousness , Gerald Edelman and Giulio Tononi present for the first time a full-scale theory of consciousness based on direct observation of the human brain in action. Their pioneering work, presented here in an elegant style, challenges much of the conventional wisdom about consciousness. The Universe of Consciousness has enormous implications for our understanding of language, thought, emotion, and mental illness.

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Review:

Emily Dickinson wrote "The Brain--is wider than the Sky," and who can argue with that? Quoted by Nobel-winning scientist Gerald M. Edelman and his Neurosciences Institute colleague Giulio Tononi in A Universe of Consciousness, Miss Emily neatly explains the problem of conscious awareness, then ducks out of the way as the two scientists get to work solving it. Testable theories of consciousness are mighty lonely, as even the soberest mind can be driven to tears of madness pondering its own activity. Centuries of work by philosophers and psychologists like James and Freud have made little progress by starting with awareness and working backward to the brain; these days we have a secure enough base to try looking in the other direction and building a theory of the mind out of neurons.

Though Edelman and Tononi do make a good effort to help out the lay reader, ultimately A Universe of Consciousness is aimed at the interdisciplinary gang of scientists and academics trying to understand our shared but invisible experience. The first sections of the book cover the basic philosophical, psychological, and biological elements essential to their theory. Swiftly the authors proceed to define terms and concepts (even the long-abused term complexity gets a reappraisal) and elaborate on these to create a robust, testable theory of the neural basis of consciousness. Following this hard work, they consider some ramifications of the theory and take a close look at language and thinking. This much-needed jump-start is sure to provoke a flurry of experimental and theoretical responses; A Universe of Consciousness might just help us answer some of the greatest questions of science, philosophy, and even poetry. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:

Gerald M. Edelman is director of the Neurosciences Institute and chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at the Scripps Research Institute. He received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1972. He is also the author of Bright Air, Brilliant Fire; Tobiology ; and The Remembered Present .

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Gerald Edelman; Giulio Tononi
Editore: Basic Books (2000)
ISBN 10: 0465013767 ISBN 13: 9780465013760
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Descrizione libro Basic Books, 2000. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria M0465013767

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Gerald Edelman, Giulio Tononi
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