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Burgeoning advancements in brain science are opening up new perspectives on how we acquire knowledge. Indeed, it is now possible to explore consciousness-the very center of human concern-by scientific means. In this illuminating book, Dr. Gerald M. Edelman offers a new theory of knowledge based on striking scientific findings about how the brain works. And he addresses the related compelling question: Does the latest research imply that all knowledge can be reduced to scientific description? Edelman's brain-based approach to knowledge has rich implications for our understanding of creativity, of the normal and abnormal functioning of the brain, and of the connections among the different ways we have of knowing. While the gulf between science and the humanities and their respective views of the world has seemed enormous in the past, the author shows that their differences can be dissolved by considering their origins in brain functions. He foresees a day when brain-based devices will be conscious, and he reflects on this and other fascinating ideas about how we come to know the world and ourselves.
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.
How does the firing of neurons give rise to subjective sensations, thoughts, and emotions? How can the disparate domains of mind and body be reconciled? The quest for a scientifically based understanding of consciousness has attracted study and speculation across the ages. In this direct and non-technical discussion of consciousness, Dr. Gerald M. Edelman draws on a lifetime of scientific inquiry into the workings of the brain to formulate answers to the mind-body questions that intrigue every thinking person. Concise and understandable, the book explains pertinent findings of modern neuroscience and describes how consciousness arises in complex brains. Edelman explores the relation of consciousness to causation, to evolution, to the development of the self, and to the origins of feelings, learning, and memory. His analysis of the brain activities underlying consciousness is based on recent remarkable advances in biochemistry, immunology, medical imaging, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology, yet the implications of his book extend farther-beyond the worlds of science and medicine into virtually every area of human inquiry.
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