Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness

Overview

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...

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Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[An] elegant . . . laudable, [and] accessible exploration of what’s happening in neuroscience, biochemistry, and other disciplines, and an insightful examination of the trait that defines humans above all other organisms.”—San Diego Union-Tribune

“Highly readable.”—Oliver Sacks, New York Review of Books

“Consciousness is a hot topic, but still a mystery. One of the leaders of the scientific approach to the study of consciousness, Gerald Edelman has written a book that is a good roadmap for the lay reader.”—Francis Crick, author of The Astonishing Hypothesis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300107616
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/10/2005
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 769,010
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald M. Edelman, M.D., is director of the Neurosciences Institute and president of Neurosciences Research Foundation. He is also professor and chair of the Department of the Neurobiology at the Scripps Research Institute. For his studies on the structure and diversity of antibodies he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 The Mind of Man: Completing Darwin's Program 1
2 Consciousness: The Remembered Present 4
3 Elements of the Brain 14
4 Neural Darwinism: A Global Brain Theory 32
5 The Mechanisms of Consciousness 48
6 Wider Than the Sky: Qualia, Unity, and Complexity 60
7 Consciousness and Causation: The Phenomenal Transform 76
8 The Conscious and the Nonconscious: Automaticity and Attention 87
9 Higher-Order Consciousness and Representation 97
10 Theory and the Properties of Consciousness 113
11 Identity: The Self, Mortality, and Value 131
12 Mind and Body: Some Consequences 140
Glossary 149
Bibliographic Note 181
Index 187
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