The Conscious Mind - 9780262527101

Un libro in lingua di Torey Zoltan L. edito da Mit Pr, 2014

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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 Toreyoffers an accessible and concise description of the evolutionary breakthrough that created the humanmind. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and linguistics, Toreyreconstructs the sequence of events by which Homo erectus became Homosapiens. 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 formsa selection mechanism for mentally generated behavior options. This functional breakthrough, Toreyargues, 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 evolvedinto language, how a brain subsystem for the emergent mind was built, and why these developments areopaque 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 theinformational source of the brain's behavioral response. Consciousness, he argues, is not a newlyacquired "quality," "cosmic principle," "circuitry arrangement," or"epiphenomenon," as others have argued, but an indispensable working component of theliving system's manner of functioning.

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