Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness
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 quest 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 scientific inquiry into the workings of the brain to formulate answers to the mind-body questions that intrigue every thinking person.
Concise 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 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 inquiry.
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ability animal anosognosia arise attention axons basal ganglia binding problem body brainstem causal cells cerebellum cerebral cortex changes circuits connections conscious experience conscious scene CONSCIOUSNESS AND CAUSATION construct deﬁned differentiated discriminations dynamic core efﬁcacy entailed environment episodic memory evolution example extended TNGS ﬁbers ﬁeld ﬁnd ﬁring ﬁrst ﬁrst-person give rise global brain global mappings globus pallidus GLOSSARY higher-order consciousness hippocampus individual individual’s inﬂuenced inhibitory input integrated interac loops magnetoencephalography MECHANISMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS modalities modulated motor movement ness neural activity NEURAL DARWINISM neuronal groups neurotransmitter nonconscious notion nuclei output pathways patterns perceptual categorization phenomenal transform postsynaptic primary consciousness PROPERTIES OF CONSCIOUSNESS qualia qualia space reentrant reentrant interactions reentry reﬂect regions remembered present representation responses result scientiﬁc sciousness sensory signals speciﬁc structure subcortical synaptic strength term thalamocortical system thalamus THEORY AND PROPERTIES tion underlying unitary value systems value-category memory variation various visual yield