The Form Within: My Point of View

The Form Within: My Point of View

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by Karl H Pribram
     
 

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THE FORM WITHIN is the fascinating story of two hundred years of pioneering brain research, told from the unique perspective of the only brain scientist who has been, and still remains, an active participant in that story throughout the past seventy years: Karl H. Pribram.

In THE FORM WITHIN, Dr. Pribram takes us on a compelling journey from the dawn of our… See more details below

Overview

THE FORM WITHIN is the fascinating story of two hundred years of pioneering brain research, told from the unique perspective of the only brain scientist who has been, and still remains, an active participant in that story throughout the past seventy years: Karl H. Pribram.

In THE FORM WITHIN, Dr. Pribram takes us on a compelling journey from the dawn of our collective “recorded perceptions” in cave paintings to our greatest achievements as a species. He explains the important task of mapping the brain; the discovery of our holographic processing of memory and perception; and the detailed research that has created our understanding of self-organizing biological systems.

Along the way, Pribram shares the intimate interactions he has had with luminaries of twentieth-century science, including David Bohm, Francis Crick, John Eccles, Dennis Gabor, Hubel and Wiesel, Wolfgang Kohler, Karl Lashley, Aleksandr Romanovitch Luria, Ilya Prigogine, B. F. Skinner, Eugene Sokolov, and many others.

But this riveting glimpse into our past is only a part of the story. Pribram also provides us with insightful breakthroughs into a science of the future, and points the way to where our understanding of the brain is headed.


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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935212799
Publisher:
Easton Studio Press, LLC
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
560
File size:
7 MB

Read an Excerpt

Have you noticed the massive interest shown by the scientific community in studies of mind and brain? Scientific
American
is publishing a new journal, Mind; Psychology Today is headlining studies of the workings of the brain; Popular Science and Discover are filled with tales of new discoveries that relate mind to brain and 37,000 neuroscientists are working diligently to make these discoveries possible.

It has not always been this way. When, as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago in the 1930s, I took a course on the nervous system, we stopped short of the brain cortex—and what we now know as the “limbic systems” was dismissed as a most mysterious territory called the “olfactory brain.”

It was this very lack of knowledge that attracted me: The Form Within is the story of my adventures in charting
this most important world about which we then knew so little. In the process, the data I gathered and the colleagues with whom I worked changed what opinions I had brought to the research and added sophistication to my interpretations.
In retrospect what impresses me—and what I urge my students to appreciate—is the long time required, sometimes
decades of passion, persistence and patience, for an idea to ripen into a body of hard evidence and a theoretical
formulation that I was finally able to communicate clearly to others.

The Form Within tells the story of my voyage of discovery during almost a century of research and theory construction. The story is set within the frame of the discoveries of the previous century, the 19th, which totally revised
our understanding in the Western world of how our brains work. During the 17th century and earlier, the human brain
was thought to process air, often termed “spirits.” With the advent of the sciences of chemistry and of electricity, a basic
understanding of brain processes was attained that, to a large extent, resembles our current views. Writings like those of William James and Sigmund Freud, around the juncture of the two centuries, will be referenced repeatedly in the following chapters.

My own story has a somewhat different perspective from that which is currently available in most neuro- and psychological science books and journals. For example, my interactions with the 20th century “shapers of viewpoints”
in the brain and behavioral sciences—B. F. Skinner and Karl Lashley, experimental psychologists; Wilder Penfield,
neurosurgeon; Arthur Koestler, author; John Eccles, neurophysiologist and Karl Popper, philosopher—expose the questions that puzzled us rather than the dogma that has become associated with their names.

Thus, The Form Within is the story of my quest. It charts a voyage of discovery through 70 years of breakthroughs in brain and psychological research. More than a hundred students have obtained their doctoral and postdoctoral training in my laboratory and gone on to productive and in some cases outstanding careers. Collaboration with scientists on five continents has formed and continues to form my views. The voyage is not over: each month I’ve had to add to, and in some cases revise, this manuscript. But as a work in progress, The Form Within is to me an inspiring chronicle of a most exciting voyage through what, often, at the time, has seemed to be a storm of experimental
and theoretical findings. As you will see, the concept of form—the form within as formative causation—provides a novel and safe vessel for this journey.

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