In this unique exploration of the mysteries of the human brain, Roger Bartra shows that consciousness is a phenomenon that occurs not only in the mind but also in an external network, a symbolic system. He argues that the symbolic systems created by humans in art, language, in cooking or in dress, are the key to understanding human consciousness. Placing culture at the centre of his analysis, Bartra brings together findings from anthropology and cognitive science and offers an original vision of the continuity between the brain and its symbolic environment. The book is essential reading for neurologists, cognitive scientists and anthropologists alike.
Richard Swinburne presents a powerful new case for substance dualism and for libertarian free will. He argues that pure mental events (including conscious events) are distinct from physical events and interact with them, and claims that no result from neuroscience or any other science could show that interaction does not take place. Swinburne goes on to argue for agent causation, and claims that it is we, and not our intentions, that cause our brain events. It ismetaphysically possible that each of us could acquire a new brain or continue to exist without a brain; and so we are essentially souls. Brain events and conscious events are so different from each other that it would not be possible to establish a scientific theory which would predict what each ofus would do in situations of moral conflict. Hence, we should believe that things are as they seem to be: that we make choices independently of the causes which influence us. It follows that we are morally responsible for our actions.
The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind
Author: Nikolas S. Rose,Joelle M. Abi-Rached
Publisher: Princeton University Press
The brain sciences are influencing our understanding of human behavior as never before, from neuropsychiatry and neuroeconomics to neurotheology and neuroaesthetics. Many now believe that the brain is what makes us human, and it seems that neuroscientists are poised to become the new experts in the management of human conduct. Neuro describes the key developments--theoretical, technological, economic, and biopolitical--that have enabled the neurosciences to gain such traction outside the laboratory. It explores the ways neurobiological conceptions of personhood are influencing everything from child rearing to criminal justice, and are transforming the ways we "know ourselves" as human beings. In this emerging neuro-ontology, we are not "determined" by our neurobiology: on the contrary, it appears that we can and should seek to improve ourselves by understanding and acting on our brains. Neuro examines the implications of this emerging trend, weighing the promises against the perils, and evaluating some widely held concerns about a neurobiological "colonization" of the social and human sciences. Despite identifying many exaggerated claims and premature promises, Neuro argues that the openness provided by the new styles of thought taking shape in neuroscience, with its contemporary conceptions of the neuromolecular, plastic, and social brain, could make possible a new and productive engagement between the social and brain sciences. Copyright note: Reproduction, including downloading of Joan Miro works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
The Anthropology and Neurobiology of Ecstatic Experience
Author: John A. Rush
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
Entheogens and the Development of Culture makes the radical proposition that mind-altering substances have played a major part not only in cultural development but also in human brain development. Researchers suggest that we have purposely enhanced receptor sites in the brain, especially those for dopamine and serotonin, through the use of plants and fungi over a long period of time. The trade-off for lowered functioning and potential drug abuse has been more creative thinking--or a leap in consciousness. Experiments in entheogen use led to the development of primitive medicine, in which certain mind-altering plants and fungi were imbibed to still fatigue, pain, or depression, while others were taken to promote hunger and libido. Our ancestors selected for our neural hardware, and our propensity for seeking altered forms of consciousness as a survival strategy may be intimately bound to our decision-making processes going back to the dawn of time. Fourteen essays by a wide range of contributors—including founding president of the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology of Religion section Michael Winkelman, PhD; Carl A. P. Ruck, PhD, Boston University professor of classics and an authority on the ecstatic rituals of the god Dionysus; and world-renowned botanist Dr. Gaston Guzma, member of the Colombian National Academy of Sciences and expert on hallucinogenic mushrooms—demonstrate that altering consciousness continues to be an important part of human experience today. Anthropologists, cultural historians, and anyone interested in the effects of mind-altering substances on the human mind and soul will find this book deeply informative and inspiring. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition
Author: Merlin Donald
Publisher: Harvard University Press
This bold and brilliant book asks the ultimate question of life sciences: How did the human mind acquire its incomparable power? Origins of the Modern Mind traces the evolution of human culture and cognition from primitive apes to the era of artificial intelligence, and presents an original theory of how the human mind evolved from its presymbolic form. Illustrated with line drawings.
Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness
Author: Alva Noë
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Alva Noë is one of a new breed--part philosopher, part cognitive scientist, part neuroscientist--who are radically altering the study of consciousness by asking difficult questions and pointing out obvious flaws in the current science. In Out of Our Heads, he restates and reexamines the problem of consciousness, and then proposes a startling solution: do away with the two-hundred-year-old paradigm that places consciousness within the confines of the brain. Our culture is obsessed with the brain--how it perceives; how it remembers; how it determines our intelligence, our morality, our likes and our dislikes. It's widely believed that consciousness itself, that Holy Grail of science and philosophy, will soon be given a neural explanation. And yet, after decades of research, only one proposition about how the brain makes us conscious--how it gives rise to sensation, feeling, and subjectivity--has emerged unchallenged: we don't have a clue. In this inventive work, Noë suggests that rather than being something that happens inside us, consciousness is something we do. Debunking an outmoded philosophy that holds the scientific study of consciousness captive, Out of Our Heads is a fresh attempt at understanding our minds and how we interact with the world around us.
A bold new theory on what sparked the "big bang" of human culture The abrupt emergence of human culture over a stunningly short period continues to be one of the great enigmas of human evolution. This compelling book introduces a bold new theory on this unsolved mystery. Author Richard Klein reexamines the archaeological evidence and brings in new discoveries in the study of the human brain. These studies detail the changes that enabled humans to think and behave in far more sophisticated ways than before, resulting in the incredibly rapid evolution of new skills. Richard Klein has been described as "the premier anthropologist in the country today" by Evolutionary Anthropology. Here, he and coauthor Blake Edgar shed new light on the full story of a truly fascinating period of evolution. Richard G. Klein, PhD (Palo Alto, CA), is a Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. He is the author of the definitive academic book on the subject of the origins of human culture, The Human Career. Blake Edgar (San Francisco, CA) is the coauthor of the very successful From Lucy to Language, with Dr. Donald Johanson. He has written extensively for Discover, GEO, and numerous other magazines.
Neuroscience has made astounding progress in the understanding of the brain. What should we make of its claims to go beyond the brain and explain consciousness, behaviour and culture? Where should we draw the line? In this brilliant critique Raymond Tallis dismantles "Neuromania", arising out of the idea that we are reducible to our brains and "Darwinitis" according to which, since the brain is an evolved organ, we are entirely explicable within an evolutionary framework. With precision and acuity he argues that the belief that human beings can be understood in biological terms is a serious obstacle to clear thinking about what we are and what we might become. Neuromania and Darwinitis deny human uniqueness, minimise the differences between us and our nearest animal kin and offer a grotesquely simplified account of humanity. We are, argues Tallis, infinitely more interesting and complex than we appear in the mirror of biology. Combative, fearless and thought-provoking, Aping Mankind is an important book and one that scientists, cultural commentators and policy-makers cannot ignore. This Routledge Classics edition includes a new preface by the Author.
Winner of the CORINE International Book Award 2011 From one of the most important neuroscientists at work today, a path-breaking investigation of a question that has confounded neurologists, philosophers, cognitive scientists and psychologists for centuries: how is consciousness created? Antonio Damasio has spent the past thirty years studying and writing about how the brain operates, and his work has garnered acclaim for its singular melding of the scientific and the humanistic. In Self Comes to Mind, he goes against the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, presenting compelling new scientific evidence that consciousness - what we think of as a mind with a self - is in fact a biological process created by a living organism. The result is a groundbreaking investigative journey into the neurobiological foundations of mind and self.
Psychoanalytic, Linguistic, and Anthropological Explorations of the Dual Nature of Mind
Author: Michael Robbins
Consciousness, Language, and Self proposes that the human self is innately bilingual. Conscious mind includes two qualitatively distinct mental processes, each of which uses the same formal elements of language differently. The "mother tongue," the language of primordial consciousness, begins in utero and our second language, reflective symbolic thought, begins in infancy. Michael Robbins describes the respective roles the two conscious mental processes and their particular use of language play in the course of normal and pathological development, as well as the role the language of primordial consciousness plays in adult life in such phenomena as dreaming, infant-caregiver attachment, creativity, belief systems and their effects on social and political life, cultural differences, and psychosis. Examples include creative persons, extreme political figures and psychotic individuals. Five original essays, written by the author's current and former patients, describe what they learned about their aberrant uses of language and their origins. This book sheds new light on several controversies that have been limited by the incorrect assumption that reflective representational thought and its language is the only conscious mental state. These include the debate within linguistics about whether language is the expression of a hardwired instinct whose identifying feature is recursion; within psychoanalysis about the nature of conscious and unconscious mental processes, and within cognitive philosophy about whether language and thought are isomorphic. Consciousness, Language, and Self will be of great value to psychoanalysts, as well as students and scholars of linguistics, cognitive philosophy and cultural anthropology.
Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind
Author: Michael S. Gazzaniga
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
“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.
This book investigates consciousness as an emergent state arising from the global functioning of the brain and the body. In this research Krieger applies these concepts to analytical psychology, particularly to the constellation of the complex and of the archetype. Global brain functioning is considered as a complex system whose macroscopic, emergent patterns such as thoughts and behaviours are determined by physical parameters including emotion, memory, and perception. The concept of the feeling-toned complex was among the first of the theories to be developed by Jung, and the theories of complexity and dynamical systems which subsequently developed in the physical sciences did not exist at the time. This book takes a new look at the feeling-toned complex as a basin of attraction which competes for consciousness against other complexes to determine behaviour. By drawing parallels between current ideas in neuroscience and Jung’s more traditional theories, Krieger discusses the relevance for both psychotherapy and everyday life. Bridges to Consciousness considers the importance of the link between emotion and the complex in both the establishment of consciousness and the determination of self-esteem, making the work relevant to therapists and analysts. This book will also awaken interest in complexes in both the Jungian and wider neuroscientific research communities and will therefore interest researchers and academics in the field of psychology who want an insight into how the ideas of Jung can be applied beyond the traditional analytic field.
Revised for the first time in over thirty years, this edition of Emile Durkheim’s masterful work on the nature and scope of sociology is updated with a new introduction and improved translation by leading scholar Steven Lukes that puts Durkheim’s work into context for the twenty-first century reader. When it was originally published, The Division of Labor in Society was an entirely original work on the nature of labor and production as they were being shaped by the industrial revolution. Emile Durkheim’s seminal work studies the nature of social solidarity and explores the ties that bind one person to the next in order to hold society together. This revised and updated second edition fluently conveys Durkheim’s arguments for contemporary readers. Leading Durkheim scholar Steve Lukes’s new introduction builds upon Lewis Coser’s original—which places the work in its intellectual and historical context and pinpoints its central ideas and arguments. Lukes explains the text’s continued significance as a tool to think about and deal with problems that face us today. The original translation has been revised and reworked in order to make Durkheim’s arguments clearer and easier to read. The Division of Labor in Society is an essential resource for students and scholars hoping to deepen their understanding of one of the pioneering voices in modern sociology and twentieth-century social thought.
Synthesizing decades of research, this book advances a theory of the psychological and neurophysiological correlates of conscious experience. Prinz argues that consciousness always arises at a particular stage of perceptual processing, the intermediate level, and that consciousness depends on attention.
This book is an exploration of interrelationships among culture, language, and the individual unconscious (the dark matter of the mind ), how these feed into a sense of self, and implications for the notion of human nature. The first part of the book is concerned with perceptual and cultural bases of dark matter and the effect of dark matter on perception (especially vision) and the interpretation of discourse. The second part is concerned with the contribution of dark matter to languagewith language viewed as a combination of speech and gesture, and including issues related to translation. In the final part Everett addresses implications of his account, summarizing and extending arguments for replacing an instinct-based account of human nature with a culturally-based, dark matter view of the constructed self. Everett makes a powerful argument for the influence of culture on unconscious forces that underlie human behavior and the individual s sense of self, with much of the power of the argument coming from the deep insights he gained from living and working with the Pirahas of the Amazon. This is an important book that sits at the intersection of anthropology, linguistics, psychology, and philosophy, and it is enriched by a combination of the author s knowledge of these fields and his cross-cultural perspective. The book will make an important contribution to newly emerging directions taken by cognitive science. After decades of a field derailed by ethnocentric, instinct-based views of language and the mind, the cognitive sciences need such informed analyses of the relationship between culture, cognition, and language, as embodied in speech and gesture."
How did the human mind emerge from the collection of neurons that makes up the brain? How did the brain acquire self-awareness, functional autonomy, language, and the ability to think, to understand itself and the world? In this volume in the Essential Knowledge series, Zoltan Torey offers an accessible and concise description of the evolutionary breakthrough that created the human mind. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and linguistics, Torey reconstructs the sequence of events by which Homo erectus became Homo sapiens. He describes the augmented functioning that underpins the emergent mind -- a new ("off-line") internal response system with which the brain accesses itself and then forms a selection mechanism for mentally generated behavior options. This functional breakthrough, Torey argues, explains how the animal brain's "awareness" became self-accessible and reflective -- that is, how the human brain acquired a conscious mind. Consciousness, unlike animal awareness, is not a unitary phenomenon but a composite process. Torey's account shows how protolanguage evolved into language, how a brain subsystem for the emergent mind was built, and why these developments are opaque to introspection. We experience the brain's functional autonomy, he argues, as free will. Torey proposes that once life began, consciousness had to emerge -- because consciousness is the informational source of the brain's behavioral response. Consciousness, he argues, is not a newly acquired "quality," "cosmic principle," "circuitry arrangement," or "epiphenomenon," as others have argued, but an indispensable working component of the living system's manner of functioning.
***'Awe-inspiring... You will learn more about human nature than in any other book I can think of' Henry Marsh THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER / WINNER OF THE 2017 LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE 'One of the best scientist-writers of our time' Oliver Sacks Why do human beings behave as they do? We are capable of savage acts of violence but also spectacular feats of kindness: is one side of our nature destined to win out over the other? Every act of human behaviour has multiple layers of causation, spiralling back seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, even centuries, right back to the dawn of time and the origins of our species. In the epic sweep of history, how does our biology affect the arc of war and peace, justice and persecution? How have our brains evolved alongside our cultures? This is the exhilarating story of human morality and the science underpinning the biggest question of all: what makes us human?