I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self

I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self

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by Rodolfo R. Llin?s
     
 

In I of the Vortex, Rodolfo Llinas, a founding father of modern brain science, presents an original view of the evolution and nature of mind. According to Llinas, the "mindness state" evolved to allow predictive interactions between mobile creatures and their environment. He illustrates the early evolution of mind through a primitive animal called the "sea

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Overview

In I of the Vortex, Rodolfo Llinas, a founding father of modern brain science, presents an original view of the evolution and nature of mind. According to Llinas, the "mindness state" evolved to allow predictive interactions between mobile creatures and their environment. He illustrates the early evolution of mind through a primitive animal called the "sea squirt." The mobile larval form has a brainlike ganglion that receives sensory information about the surrounding environment. As an adult, the sea squirt attaches itself to a stationary object and then digests most of its own brain. This suggests that the nervous system evolved to allow active movement in animals. To move through the environment safely, a creature must anticipate the outcome of each movement on the basis of incoming sensory data. Thus the capacity to predict is most likely the ultimate brain function. One could even say that Self is the centralization of prediction.

At the heart of Llinas's theory is the concept of oscillation. Many neurons possess electrical activity, manifested as oscillating variations in the minute voltages across the cell membrane. On the crests of these oscillations occur larger electrical events that are the basis for neuron-to-neuron communication. Like cicadas chirping in unison, a group of neurons oscillating in phase can resonate with a distant group of neurons. This simultaneity of neuronal activity is the neurobiological root of cognition. Although the internal state that we call the mind is guided by the senses, it is also generated by the oscillations within the brain. Thus, in a certain sense, one could say that reality is not all
"out there," but is a kind of virtual reality.

The MIT Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262621632
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
03/07/2002
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
314
Sales rank:
948,410
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface
Motor Primacy and the Organization of Neuronal Networks: Thinking as Internalized Movement
1Setting Mind to Mind1
2Prediction Is the Ultimate Function of the Brain21
3The Embedding of Universals through the Embedding of Motricity53
4Nerve Cells and Their Personalities69
5Lessons from the Evolution of the Eye93
6The I of the Vortex111
7Fixed Action Patterns: Automatic Brain Modules that Make Complex Movements133
8Emotions as FAPs155
9Of Learning and Memory173
10Qualia from a Neuronal Point of View201
11Language as the Chile of Abstract Thought225
12The Collective Mind?247
References267
Index295

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