Download Figments of reality : the evolution of the curious mind by Ian Stewart PDF

By Ian Stewart

Peppered with wit and debatable subject matters, this can be a fresh new examine the co-evolution of brain and tradition. Bestselling authors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen (The cave in of Chaos, 1994) eloquently argue that our minds developed inside an inextricable hyperlink with tradition and language. They transcend traditional perspectives of the functionality and goal of the brain to examine the ways in which the brain is the reaction of an evolving mind that's continuously adjusting to a fancy surroundings. alongside the best way they improve new and exciting insights into the character of evolution, technological know-how, and humanity that might problem traditional perspectives on recognition. The esteemed authors tantalize the reader with those daring new outlooks whereas placing a progressive spin on such vintage philosophical difficulties because the nature of loose will and the essence of humanity. This truly written and stress-free e-book will motivate any proficient reader to severely evaluation the prevailing notions of the character of the human brain.

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What makes recursive processes disturbing is the feeling that they can never get started – the ‘chicken and egg’ problem. Actually that’s not a serious problem at all, just a case of sloppy thinking caused by incorrectly extrapolating the process backwards. It’s relatively easy to get a replicative process started. What you can’t do – without destroying the process – is stop it. The way to start a chicken-and-egg process is to create a suitable start-up configuration, one that is part of the process only the first time round.

The cruise-vessel Watcher-of-Moons, crewed by a standard octuplet of Zarathustrans, is passing through an obscure but ordinary spiral arm of their obscure but ordinary galaxy. The journey has hitherto been uneventful – or as uneventful as any journey made by an octuplet of Zarathustrans can be – but now the vessel’s sensors alert the crew to an unexpected discovery. For simplicity we shall refer to the aliens by their roles in the octuplet, and not by their names. This is probably a good thing since their names are typically something like ‘Nifflepuffltrentleboffle-Pufflex Third Remove’.

Although some organisms, such as echinoderms (starfish and their kin) are very effective with no brains at all. The brainiest animals on the planet – dolphins, gorillas, chimpanzees, humans – are all mammals. Mammals have had a chequered history, which may have encouraged them to develop very effective brains. The Cambrian explosion, preserved for posterity in the Burgess Shale, is not the only rapid burst of diversity in the fossil record. Another, pivotal in the evolution of mammalian brains, happened shortly after the dinosaurs died out – killed, the evidence now suggests, by a modest-sized meteorite which hit the Earth just off the Yucatan coast of Mexico.

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