Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Aug 7, 2012 - Psychology - 380 pages
5 Reviews

This title is printed in full color throughout.

From one of the most original and influential neuroscientists at work today, here is an exploration of consciousness unlike any other—as told by Galileo, who opened the way for the objectivity of science and is now intent on making subjective experience a part of science as well.
 
Galileo’s journey has three parts, each with a different guide. In the first, accompanied by a scientist who resembles Francis Crick, he learns why certain parts of the brain are important and not others, and why consciousness fades with sleep. In the second part, when his companion seems to be named Alturi (Galileo is hard of hearing; his companion’s name is actually Alan Turing), he sees how the facts assembled in the first part can be unified and understood through a scientific theory—a theory that links consciousness to the notion of integrated information (also known as phi). In the third part, accompanied by a bearded man who can only be Charles Darwin, he meditates on how consciousness is an evolving, developing, ever-deepening awareness of ourselves in history and culture—that it is everything we have and everything we are.
 
Not since Gödel, Escher, Bach has there been a book that interweaves science, art, and the imagination with such originality. This beautiful and arresting narrative will transform the way we think of ourselves and the world.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - neurodrew - LibraryThing

This is physically a lovely book, with fine art illustrations and whimsical photographs. The conception is to explain consciousness as integrated information, the phi of the title. The exposition is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - delphica - LibraryThing

Oh, for heaven's sake. I wanted to like this a lot more than I did, reviews compared it to Gödel, Escher, Bach (which I have to admit I have owned for about 20 years, and never made it past page 17 ... Read full review

Contents

I D E N C E 2 Experiments ofNature
17
3
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37
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45
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8
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9
87
I
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Acknowledgments
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About the author (2012)

Giulio Tononi is a professor of psychiatry, the David P. White Professor of Sleep Medicine, and the Distinguished Chair in Consciousness Science at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to the major scientific journals, his work has appeared in New Scientist, Science Daily, and Scientific American. His research has been the subject of articles in The New York Times and The Economist. He is the coauthor, with Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman, of A Universe of Consciousness.

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