Download Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness by Gerald M. Edelman PDF

By Gerald M. Edelman

How does the firing of neurons supply upward thrust to subjective sensations, techniques, and feelings? How can the disparate domain names of brain and physique be reconciled? the search for a scientifically established realizing of cognizance has attracted examine and hypothesis around the a long time. during this direct and non-technical dialogue of recognition, Dr. Gerald M. Edelman attracts on a life of medical inquiry into the workings of the mind to formulate solutions to the mind-body questions that intrigue each pondering person.
Concise and comprehensible, the e-book explains pertinent findings of contemporary neuroscience and describes how cognizance arises in advanced brains. Edelman explores the relation of attention to causation, to evolution, to the improvement of the self, and to the origins of emotions, studying, and reminiscence. His research of the mind actions underlying awareness is predicated on fresh extraordinary advances in biochemistry, immunology, scientific imaging, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology, but the consequences of his ebook expand farther—beyond the worlds of technological know-how and drugs into nearly each zone of human inquiry.

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Extra resources for Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness

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One of the most important anatomical structures for understanding the origin of consciousness is the thalamus. This structure, which is located at the center of the brain, is essential for conscious function, even though it is only somewhat larger than the last bone in your own thumb. When nerves elements of the brain 19 from different sensory receptors serving different modalities (located in your eyes, ears, skin, and so on) travel to your brain, they each connect in the thalamus with specific clusters of neurons called nuclei.

It is highly unlikely that this behavior is the result of a fixed template or a set of predetermined algorithms in the brains of pigeons. Nor can it be explained by natural selection for the positive recognition of fish. Pigeons neither evolve with fish nor live with them, and they don’t eat them either. I could cite many more examples ranging from the developmental anatomy of the brain to the individual variation of brain scans in humans carrying out similar tasks. But the conclusion is clear: the brains of higherlevel animals autonomously construct patterned reneural darwinism 38 sponses to environments that are full of novelty.

Since the proposal of the TNGS in 1978, a growing body of evidence has supported the notion that neuronal groups connected by reentrant interactions are the selectional units in higher-level brains. This evidence is presented in a number of books and papers and will not be reviewed here. Instead, I will consider certain consequences of the theory that are particularly important for understanding the mechanisms underlying consciousness. One important consequence is that the brain is so versatile in its responses because those responses are degenerate.

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