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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Edelman and Tononi's work breaks new ground." -- Antonio Damasio, author of The Feeling of What HappensSee all Product Description
There is no doubt in my mind, after reading this book, that the authors have done excellent scientific work and made very interesting discoveries. Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2003 by The trebuchet
How does matter become imagination? How could consciousness arise as an emergent property of complex brains. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2003 by Michael M. Halassa
Very interesting, indeed; an easy tale of the marveluos brain, for the begginer. On the other side, philosophical problems are poorly treated, despite the fact that the authors... Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2002 by M. Echeverri
Edelmans new theory of consciousness is, as I expected,impresive and quite apealing. Reentry is again in the spotlight, but this time in support of the Dynamic Core hypothesis. Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2001 by Carlos Camara
This book has a broad appeal not only to those interested in neuroscience but also to those interested in philosophy, history, and art. I would recommend it to anyone. Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2001 by melanie m holzman