Evolving the Mind: On the Nature of Matter and the Origin of Consciousness

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.68
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 96%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (21) from $3.68   
  • New (5) from $4.75   
  • Used (16) from $3.62   


The next great revolution in science will undoubtedly be the emergence of a useful theory of consciousness--a theory based on our better understanding of molecules and brains and of the nature of science itself. Evolving the Mind broaches both of these themes, covering how ideas about the mind evolved in science and how the mind itself evolved in Nature. What Cairns-Smith does that is particularly compelling is to synthesize the contributions of a wide range of scientific disciplines (physics, molecular biology, brain science, and evolution) to bring science to the brink of a unified theory of consciousness. The author thoroughly explores this complex concept in a straightforward, conversational style. Few readers will be able to resist the exciting conclusion that we are closing in on a scientific theory of consciousness.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A.G. Cairns-Smith is a brilliant explainer of difficult ideas, bringing to the task an imagination that is magnificently disciplined by detailed scientific understanding. He is also open-minded. His book will tantalize participants and onlookers of all persuasions...I have never encountered a clearer or more vivid account of the spectacular ingenuity of cellular design and operation..." Daniel C. Dennett, Nature

"Cairns-Smith's book is of interest to anyone who is thinking seriously about the problem of consciousness, but it also offers a good read for those who are merely curious about the subject. For anyone who has wondered how a physical system can give rise to consciousness, Cairns-Smith gives a great tour of our present knowledge and aptly demonstrates its limitations....[H]e writes about these difficult concepts with a clarity unmatched by most other authors." David L. Wilson, Quarterly Review of Biology

"Of course, Evolving the Mind is in no way meant to embody a theory of consciousness. That would have been miraculous. But what the book does achieve is in some sense no less miraculous. It is an extremely clear, engaging, and informative account of a vast topic, one that includes physics, evolution, biochemistry, neuroscience, and psychology...Evolving the Mind is the best kind of popular science: it goes far beyond mere description, to include much of the history of scientific progress, and to analyze what science is." John J. Kim, The Boston Book Review

"...an absorbing book...We know a lot about how [the brain] works via molecular biology, but none of that explains our consciousness, our mind. There are, of course, theories--and Cairns-Smith provides one of his own as well as discussing others, in an admirably clear style. It is an enjoyable and rewarding read: throw out a couple of thrillers and take it on holiday." New Scientist

"Cairns-Smith's speculations are often unorthodox, but they never lack grounding in the several fields of study he has mastered. Very few others could have provided such a comprehensive picture of this topic, especially in broad strokes that are remarkably accessible." Choice

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521402200
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Material things; 2. Life; 3. Forms of intelligence; 4. Places in the brain; 5. Correlates of consciousness; 6. Dreaming aware; 7. Space time and substance; 8. Making theories; 9. Quantum theories of consciousness; 10. Conversation and coda; References; Index.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)