Cover image for The consciousness instinct : unraveling the mystery of how the brain makes the mind / Michael S. Gazzaniga.
Title:
The consciousness instinct : unraveling the mystery of how the brain makes the mind / Michael S. Gazzaniga.
ISBN:
9780374715502
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
274 pages ; 24 cm
Contents:
Getting ready for modern thought. History's rigid, rocky, and goofy way of thinking about consciousness ; The dawn of empirical thinking in philosophy ; Twentieth-century strides and openings to modern thought -- The physical system. Making brains one module at a time ; The beginnings of understanding brain architecture ; Gramps is demented but conscious -- Consciousness comes. The concept of complementarity: the gift from physics ; Non-living to living and neurons to mind ; Bubbling brooks and personal consciousness ; Consciousness is an instinct.
Abstract:
How do neurons turn into minds? How does physical "stuff"--atoms, molecules, chemicals, and cells--create the vivid and various worlds inside our heads? The problem of consciousness has gnawed at us for millennia. In the last century there have been massive breakthroughs that have rewritten the science of the brain, and yet the puzzles faced by the ancient Greeks are still present. In The Consciousness Instinct, the neuroscience pioneer Michael S. Gazzaniga puts the latest research in conversation with the history of human thinking about the mind, giving a big-picture view of what science has revealed about consciousness.
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Summary

Summary

"The father of cognitive neuroscience" illuminates the past, present, and future of the mind-brain problem

How do neurons turn into minds? How does physical "stuff"--atoms, molecules, chemicals, and cells--create the vivid and various worlds inside our heads? The problem of consciousness has gnawed at us for millennia. In the last century there have been massive breakthroughs that have rewritten the science of the brain, and yet the puzzles faced by the ancient Greeks are still present. In The Consciousness Instinct , the neuroscience pioneer Michael S. Gazzaniga puts the latest research in conversation with the history of human thinking about the mind, giving a big-picture view of what science has revealed about consciousness.

The idea of the brain as a machine, first proposed centuries ago, has led to assumptions about the relationship between mind and brain that dog scientists and philosophers to this day. Gazzaniga asserts that this model has it backward--brains make machines, but they cannot be reduced to one. New research suggests the brain is actually a confederation of independent modules working together. Understanding how consciousness could emanate from such an organization will help define the future ofbrain science and artificial intelligence, and close the gap between brain and mind.

Captivating and accessible, with insights drawn from a lifetime at the forefront of the field, The Consciousness Instinct sets the course for the neuroscience of tomorrow.


Author Notes

Michael S. Gazzaniga, one of the premiere doctors of neuroscience, was born on December 12, 1939 in Los Angeles. Educated at Dartmouth College and California Institute of Technology, he has been on the faculty of the Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis.

His early research examined the subject of epileptics who had undergone surgery to control seizures. He has also studied Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients and reveals important findings in books such as Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind.

While many of his writings are technical, he also educates and stimulates readers with discussions about the fascinating and mysterious workings of the brain. Books such as The Social Brain and The Mind's Past bring forth new information and theories regarding how the brain functions, interacts, and responds with the body and the environment.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bolstered by a background in neurobiology and human psychology, Gazzaniga (Tales from Both Sides of the Brain), director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at UC Santa Barbara, adopts a philosophical approach in this insightful book-a "fresh attempt to wrestle with" the question of consciousness and the relationship between brain and mind. Gazzaniga posits that "consciousness is an instinct" and that the brain is a relatively independent, adaptable, and flexible system of local modules organized in a layered architecture, cohering through more integrative modules at a higher level. By discussing an array of substantial brain injuries throughout the book, he demonstrates that modules have the ability to mediate their specific functions as well as participate in the emergent property of subjective experience. Gazzaniga details how the understanding of human consciousness progressed; he examines the ideas of such philosophers as Aristotle, Descartes, David Hume, and William James, and shows where the centuries-long struggle to find the seat of consciousness has floundered. He also refreshingly grounds the work in real experimental data, revealing himself to be an intelligent mental explorer and master syncretist. Gazzaniga's accessible, well-organized arguments are bound to provoke deep metathoughts, and readers should find his treatise delightful. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

Introductionp. 3
Part I Getting Ready for Modern Thought
1 History's Rigid, Rocky, and Goofy Way of Thinking About Consciousnessp. 11
2 The Dawn of Empirical Thinking in Philosophyp. 29
3 Twentieth-Century Strides and Openings to Modern Thoughtp. 55
Part II The Physical System
4 Making Brains One Module at a Timep. 83
5 The Beginnings of Understanding Brain Architecturep. 107
6 Gramps Is Demented but Consciousp. 133
Part III Consciousness Comes
7 The Concept of Complementarity: The Gift from Physicsp. 155
8 Non-Living to Living and Neurons to Mindp. 175
9 Bubbling Brooks and Personal Consciousnessp. 201
10 Consciousness Is an Instinctp. 225
Notesp. 239
Acknowledgmentsp. 257
Indexp. 261