Self Comes to Mind

Self Comes to Mind

Constructing the Conscious Brain

Book - 2010
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"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 is consciousness 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 Self Comes to Mind, he goes against the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, presenting compelling new scientific evidence that consciousness--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 (the introspective, 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 radical hypothesis 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 first emerge 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 challenge to 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 leaves no 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 of years. Self Comes to Mind is a groundbreaking journey into the neurobiological foundations of mind and self."--BOOK JACKET.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2010], ©2010
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307378750
0307378756
Branch Call Number: 612.823 Da
Characteristics: xi, 367 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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StephenFoster
Feb 21, 2015

This recent book by Dr. Antonio Damasio, M.D. and brain scientist, challenges with its depth of insights and its many implications.
Human brains are "built" or constructed not only from our individual experiences but also from a deep evolutionary past we share with other organisms.
Damasio is a clear, elegant writer who expects (reasonably) his readers to slow down when necessary since his vision of the brain (and the mind, including the core self, and the biographical self) is complex. Honest, he distinguishes what is factually established from his ideas, including his hypotheses and speculations. In a word, it's a fascinating and challenging book. I'm glad I spent the time.

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Tvashtar
May 28, 2014

This is an excellent contemporary treatise of how consciousness emerges from our neural body system, written from a functional/evolutionary standpoint. A comprehensive, readable book without the usual fluff or pseudo science this topic seems to attract.

Damasio defines consciousness as an integrated blend of wakefulness, mind, and self - then goes on to explore each component of this triad in some detail.

srmechs Jun 26, 2013

If you are interested in how your brain works and/or the evolution of consciousness, this is a wonderful book. The beginnings of life, more than 4 billion years ago, were one celled creatures capable of reproduction and some movements. They had no brains but the ones that survived had an urge to do so and met the challenges of their world with skills that look to us like intelligence and yet was only a precursor to intelligence.. It’s a long tail to follow, but I’m now on my third reading still captivated by the intricacy and beauty of the natural world as we find out more about it.

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