Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul

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Simon and Schuster, Jul 1, 1995 - Medical - 317 pages
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Forty years ago, Francis Crick, along with James Watson, made history with the discovery of the structure of DNA, forever changing our understanding of life itself. Now Crick is once again at the frontier of scientific discovery, turning his attention to the mysteries of human consciousness. Bent on deciphering the complexities of the brain, Crick maps out the neurobiology of vision. The result is a cogent, witty, and richly detailed analysis of how the brain 'sees', and a daring exploration of some of the most fundamental questions of human existence - Do we have free will? What exactly is it that makes us sentient beings and different from other animals? Is there such a thing as a soul, or are we nothing more than an immensely complex collection of neurons? In this groundbreaking, provocative work, Francis Crick challenges the very foundations of current scientific, philosophical, and religious thought.
 

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The astonishing hypothesis: the scientific search for the soul

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Nobel Prize winner Crick, who with James D. Watson discovered the molecular structure of DNA, considers the nature of human consciousness, focusing in particular on visual consciousness in an explanation of how the brain "sees.'' Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
The General Nature of Consciousness
13
Seeing
23
The Psychology of Vision
35
Attention and Memory
59
Theories of Vision
71
Part II
78
The Human Brain in Outline
81
Brain Damage
161
Neural Networks
177
Part III
201
Visual Awareness
203
Some Experiments
215
Mainly Speculation
231
Oscillations and Processing Units
243
Dr Cricks Sunday Morning Service
255

The Neuron
91
Types of Experiment
107
The Primate Visual SystemInitial Stages
121
The Visual Cortex of Primates
139
A Postscript on Free Will
265
Further Reading
281
Acknowledgments
301
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About the author (1995)

Francis Crick is the British physicist and biochemist who collaborated with James D. Watson in the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA, for which they received the Nobel Prize in 1962. He is the author of What Mad Pursuit, Life Itself, and Molecules and Men. Dr. Crick lectures widely all over the world to both professional and lay audiences, and is a Distinguished Research Professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.

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