ONLINE BOOK Wider Than the Sky The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness Author Gerald M. Edelman –

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This book is very interesting but very difficult Edelman starts by describing the neural anatomy that sensory perceptions and then processed information travels through in order for our brains to process information then describes how this process of ordering info is primary consciousness Combined with value systems with instinctual responses to stimuli the development of communication then language our brains evolved to also process abstract thoughts How our brains process language was not really discussed and could have bridged the gap between advanced sensory perception and value filters and Socrates So this is only the beginning of my reading not the end However Edelman notes how our memories and concepts about those memories form our identities A good start but be prepared for alot of hard vocabulary This is not so much a review as a synopsisEdelman s work on both researching and describing neuroanatomy has significantly changed the way we see how the brain works It is not too difficult to follow and should be enough to rock subjects like psychology to the core as they seem happy to proceed on the delusion that there is some ind of metaphysical ie non physical mind that bears no resemblance to the brain With people such as Edelman and Maturana and Varela on the case metaphysical approaches to the mind should soon be a thing of the past wishful thinkingRe entry within the dynamic core of the brain allows for primary consciousness mediation of value category memory originating in bodily experiences and thru re entry can be re enacted with or without motor function at any time and perceptual categorisation the here and now of sorting perception into different objects Higher Order consciousness re entrant circuits mediating between primary consciousness and semantic capability Symbolic nature of semantic dissociation between symbol and meaning combined with the flexibility of manipulating these symbols thru syntax releases the consciousness from the remembered present and thru these re entrant circuits enables remembered past imagined past and future and planned future although the conscious process involves representation the neural substrate of consciousness is non representational 104 mental images arise in a primary consciousness scene largely by the same neural processes by which direct perceptual images arise One relies on memory the other on signals from without 105it is thru re entry that these processes are so similarThis view rejects the notion of computation and the idea that there is a language of thought Meaning is not identical to mental representation Instead it arises as a result of the play between value systems varying environmental cues learning and non representational memory 105also Thibault Jnl of Prag much of cognitive psychology is ill founded There are no functional states. 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 uest 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.

D a few books about the brain since to give you an idea of my backgroundTo me about half of it was comprehensible He starts off admirably explaining the theory of brain that he is basing this explanation of consciousness on This part is difficult but I was just about able to understand it and it was frankly fascinating I had never read an overall theory of the brain before and it was greatAs the book progresses though he loses all pretence of writing the book for a general or non expert audience After the theory of brain he goes into the basic theory of consciousness he is expounding this part is faintly understandable though much of it was lost on me He then goes into specific topics like explaining ualia the sense of feeling something and intentionality the intention to do something and these parts were way past me and I believe 80 90% of people out there which makes you wonder as I have done so often with these types of books why he bothered explaining things at the start if the book wasn t written for a general audience It wasn t an issue of talking about specific brain regions that an expert wouldn t Strife (Sweep, know it was his use of language something that was entirely avoidable if he just wrote it better or had a better editorFor example there was a sentence The reticular nucleus it is suspected acts to switch or gate the activities of the specific thalamic nuclei yielding different patterns of expression of such sensory modalities as sight hearing and touch which could have been written The reticular nucleus is believed to be a switch or gate to different ways to see hear or sense the world and would ve been shorter and a lot clearerThe last two chapters become very readable again and are a uite interesting summary of the book but leave out a lot of detail I can only presume was gone into in detail in previous chapters He also leaves out things like experimental backing for the theory which he says is done in different books listed in the bibliography which is also very well laid out The glossary is poorly explained as well as it always being cumbersome to have to go to the end of the book to read the out of context explanation of a term that could ve been just explained in textAs it was what I did understand was fascinating but there was far too little of those bits The Brain is wider than the Sky For put them side by side The one the other will containWith ease and You beside The Brain is deeper than the sea For hold them Blue to Blue The one the other will absorb As Sponges Buckets do The Brain is just the weight of God For Heft them Pound for Pound And they will differ if they do As Syllable from Sound Emily DickinsonThis book is amazing Edelman is amazing It not exactly light reading and while he does do alot of explaining One may get lost with out a solidnowledge base in the subject to begin wit. 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 inui.

ONLINE BOOK Wider Than the Sky The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness Author Gerald M. Edelman –

That can be uniuely euated with defined or coded computational states in individual brains and no process that can be euated with the execution of algorithms Instead there is an enormously rich set of selectional repertoires of neuronal groups whose degenerate responses can by selection accommodate the open ended richness of environmental input individual history and individual variation Intentionality and will in this view both depend on local contexts in the environment the body and the brain but they can selectively arise only through such interactions and not as precisely defined computations 111embodied and groundedConstructivist brain Filling in of the blind spot the phenomena of apparent motion and gestalt phenomena can all be explained in terms of temporal synchrony in re entrant circuits The same is true of time of succession and of duration The re entrant brain combines concepts and percepts with memory and new input to make a coherent picture at all costs 124eg saccades eye movements are erratic with the eye jumping to a new point of focus often as a result of peripheral vision and then resting Our experience of vision however is one of a smooth transition from one scene to the next Given the continual sensorimotor signals arising from the body subjectivity is a baseline event that is never extinguished in the normal life of conscious individuals But there is no need for an inner observer or a central I in James s words the thoughts themselves are the thinker 134Higher order consciousness may be considered as a trade off of absolute precision for rich imaginative possibilities 135The pervasive presence of degeneracy in biological systems is particularly noticeable in neural systems and it exists to a high degree in the rentrant selective circuits of the conscious brain In certain circumstances natural languages gain as much strength from ambiguity as they do under other circumstances through the power of logical definition Association and metaphor are powerful accompaniments of 135 conscious experience even at early stages and they flower withy linguistic experience 136the study of consciousness must recognize the first person or subjective point of view 140Consciousness is a property of neural processes and cannot itself act causally in the world 141Whether in the dreams of REM sleep or in imagery or even in perceptual categorization a variety of sensory motor and higher order conceptual processes are constantly in play in visual imagery the same reentrant circuits used in direct perception are reengaged but without the precise constraints of signals from without In REM sleep the brain truly speaks to itself in a special conscious state one constrained neither by outside sensory input nor by the tasks of motor output 144 So I did a single module of neuropsychology in college and have rea. Scientific inuiry into the workings of the brain to formulate answers to the mind body uestions that intrigue every thinking personConcise 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.

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Gerald Maurice Edelman born July 1 1929 is an American biologist who shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work with Rodney Robert Porter on the immune system1 Edelman's Nobel Prize winning research concerned discovery of the structure of antibody molecules2 In interviews he has said that the way the components of the immune system evolve over the life of the individu