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Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brainby Antonio Damasio
Synopses & Reviews
Exquisite…Readers fascinated from both a philosophical and scientific perspective with the question of the relationship among brain, mind, and self will be rewarded.
The marvel of reading Damasio's book is to be convinced one can follow the brain at work as it makes the private reality that is the deepest self.
—V.S. Naipaul, Nobel Laureate and author of A Bend in the River and the Enigma of Arrival
“Damasio makes a grand transition from higher-brain views of emotions to deeply evolutionary, lower-brain contributions to emotional, sensory and homeostatic experiences. He affirms that the roots of consciousness are affective and shared by our fellow animals. Damasio's creative vision leads relentlessly toward a natural understanding of the very font of being.”
—Jaak Panksepp, author of Affective Neuroscience and Baily Endowed Professor of Animal Well-Being Science, Washington State University
“I was totally captivated by Self Comes to Mind. In this work Antonio Damasio presents his seminal discoveries in the field of neuroscience in the broader contexts of evolutionary biology and cultural development. This trailblazing book gives us a new way of thinking about ourselves, our history, and the importance of culture in shaping our common future.”
—Yo-Yo Ma, musician
“The epicenter of Self Comes to Mind concerns the neurological basis for cognition and the issue of the superposition of a “self’ onto the construct which we address as reality. In very characteristic style, Antonio is both eloquent and scholarly. His command of the themes he approaches is impressive, as is the vigor with which he tackles such recondite issues as the elusive “self,” inside the head. A wonderful read, and a recommended one ”
—Rodolfo R. Llinás, Chair and Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University
“In this astonishing work, Antonio Damasio puts his years of investigation into the processes of the brain to open the impenetrable mysteries of self and mind, where all the contradictions of human experience unite in the ultimate unknown, consciousness.”
—Peter Brook, theater and film director and author of The Empty Space and Threads of Time
“Awareness may be mostly mystery, but Damasio shapes its hints and glimmerings into an imaginative, informed narrative.”
“A thoughtful work.”
—Scientific American Book Club
“A very interesting book…cogent, painstaking, imaginative, knowledgeable, honest, and persuasive…Damasio’s quest is both thorough and comprehensive”
—New York Journal of Books
“Ambitious…a lucid and important work.” –Wired.com
“Self Comes to Mind is a Big Idea book penned by a luminous thinker…The result is this beautifully sprawling and marvelous work.” –The Dallas Morning News
From the Hardcover edition.
From one of the most significant neuroscientists at work today, a pathbreaking investigation of a question that has confounded philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists for centuries: how isconsciousness created?
Antonio Damasio has spent the past thirty years studying and writing about how the brain operates, and his work has garnered acclaim for its singular melding of thescientific and the humanistic. In Self Comes to Mind, he goes against the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, presenting compelling new scientific evidence thatconsciousness--what we think of as a mind with a self--is to begin with a biological process created by a living organism. Besides the three traditional perspectives used to study the mind (theintrospective, the behavioral, and the neurological), Damasio introduces an evolutionary perspective that entails a radical change in the way the history of conscious minds is viewed and told. He also advances a radicalhypothesis regarding the origins and varieties of feelings, which is central to his framework for the biological construction of consciousness: feelings are grounded in a near fusion of body and brain networks, and firstemerge from the historically old and humble brain stem rather than from the modern cerebral cortex.
Damasio suggests that the brain's development of a human self becomes a challengeto nature's indifference and opens the way for the appearance of culture, a radical break in the course of evolution and the source of a new level of life regulation--sociocultural homeostasis. He leavesno doubt that the blueprint for the work-in-progress he calls sociocultural homeostasis is the genetically well-established basic homeostasis, the curator of value that has been present in simple life-forms for billions ofyears. Self Comes to Mind is a groundbreaking journey into the neurobiological foundations of mind and self.
From the Hardcover edition.
One of the most important and original neuroscientists at work today tackles a question that has confounded neurologists, philosophers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists for centuries: how consciousness is created.
Antonio Damasio has spent the past thirty years studying and writing about how the brain operates, and his work has garnered acclaim for its singular melding of the scientific and the humanistic. In this revelatory work, he debunks the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, presenting astounding new scientific evidence that consciousness—what we think of as “self”—is in fact a biological process created by the brain. Besides the three traditional perspectives used to study the mind (the personal, the behavioral, and the neurological), Damasio introduces the evolutionary perspective, which entails a radical change in the way the history of conscious minds is viewed and told.
Self Comes to Mind is a groundbreaking investigation of consciousness as a dynamic, unpredictable faculty that is instrumental in defining and explaining who we understand ourselves to be.
About the Author
ANTONIO DAMASIO is the director of the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute. Damasio’s books include Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain; The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness (named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review); and Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain. He lives in Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
Starting over. Awakening ; From life regulation to biological value — What's in a brain that a mind can be? Making maps and making images ; The body in mind ; Emotions and feelings ; An architecture for memory — Being conscious. Consciousness observed ; Building a conscious mind ; The autobiographical self ; Putting it together — Long after consciousness. Living with consciousness.
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