The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Apr 3, 2018 - Psychology - 288 pages

“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 of brain 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.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Viewing consciousness as a biologically evolved instinct, neuroscientist Gazzaniga makes a tortuous intellectual journey to a point where one opinion he states is that artificial consciousness will ... Read full review

The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

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 ... Read full review


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About the author (2018)

Michael S. Gazzaniga is the director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the president of the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, the founding director of the MacArthur Foundation’s Law and Neuroscience Project, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of many popular science books, including Tales from Both Sides of the Brain. He lives in California.

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