The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains

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Penguin, Aug 27, 2019 - Science - 432 pages
A leading neuroscientist offers a history of the evolution of the brain from unicellular organisms to the complexity of animals and human beings today

Renowned neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux digs into the natural history of life on earth to provide a new perspective on the similarities between us and our ancestors in deep time. This page-turning survey of the whole of terrestrial evolution sheds new light on how nervous systems evolved in animals, how the brain developed, and what it means to be human.

In The Deep History of Ourselves, LeDoux argues that the key to understanding human behavior lies in viewing evolution through the prism of the first living organisms. By tracking the chain of the evolutionary timeline he shows how even the earliest single-cell organisms had to solve the same problems we and our cells have to solve each day. Along the way, LeDoux explores our place in nature, how the evolution of nervous systems enhanced the ability of organisms to survive and thrive, and how the emergence of what we humans understand as consciousness made our greatest and most horrendous achievements as a species possible.

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The Deep History of Ourselves: How Ancient Microbes Became Conscious Brains

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The eons-long development of the mechanics of thought—and other aspects of life—are covered in this sprawling, sometimes indigestible treatise from NYU neuroscientist Le Doux (The Emotional Brain ... Read full review


Also by Joseph LeDoux
Deep Roots
Survival and Behavior
Microbial Life
The Transition to Complexity
And Then Animals Invented Neurons Chapter 23 What Is an Animal? Chapter 24 A Humble Beginning Chapter 25 Animals Take Shape Chapter 26 ...
Metazoan Bread Crumbs in the Oceans Chapter 28 Facing Forward Chapter 29 Tissue Issues Chapter 30 Oral or Anal? Chapter 31 DeepSea Deuterost...
The Vertebrates Arrive Chapter 33 Bauplan Vertebrata Chapter 34 The Life Aquatic Chapter 35 On the Surface Chapter 36 The Milk Trail
Surviving and Thriving by Thinking
Cognitive Hardware
Consciousness Through the Looking Glass of Memory
The Shallows
Emotional Subjectivity
Can We Survive Our SelfConscious Selves?
Illustration Credits

Ladders and Trees in the Vertebrate Brain Chapter 37 NeuroBauplan Vertebrata Chapter 38 Ludwigs Ladder Chapter 39 The Triune Temptress Chapt...
The Beginning of Cognition Chapter 42 Cogitation
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About the author (2019)

Joseph LeDoux is the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science, and Professor of Neural Science, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University. He directs the Emotional Brain Institute at NYU and at The Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, and is Deputy Director of the Max Planck-NYU Center for Language, Music, and Emotion, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. LeDoux's books include Anxious, Synaptic Self, and The Emotional Brain, and he is a singer and songwriter in the folkrock band the Amygdaloids, and in the acoustic duo So We Are. He lives with his wife Nancy Princenthal in Brooklyn, New York.

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