Evolving the Mind: On the Nature of Matter and the Origin of Consciousness (Hardback)
  • Evolving the Mind: On the Nature of Matter and the Origin of Consciousness (Hardback)
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Evolving the Mind: On the Nature of Matter and the Origin of Consciousness (Hardback)

(author)
£77.00
Hardback 340 Pages / Published: 21/03/1996
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Evolving the Mind has two main themes: how ideas about the mind evolved in science; and how the mind itself evolved in nature. The mind came into physical science when it was realised, first, that it is the activity of a physical object, a brain, which makes a mind; and secondly, that our theories of nature are largely mental constructions, artificial extensions of an inner model of the world which we inherited from our distant ancestors. From both of these perspectives, consciousness is the great enigma. If consciousness evolved, however, it is in some sense a material thing whatever else may be said of it. Physics, chemistry, molecular biology, brain function and evolutionary biology - almost the whole of science - is involved, and there can be no expert in all these fields. So the style of the book is simple, almost conversational. The excitement is that we seem to be close to a scientific theory of consciousness.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521402200
Number of pages: 340
Weight: 670 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'A. G. Cairns-Smith is a brilliant explainer of difficult ideas, bringing to the task an imagination that is magnificently disciplined by detailed scientific understanding. He is also open-minded. His book will tantalize participants and onlookers of all persuasions.' Daniel C. Dennett, Nature
'... an absorbing book ... an enjoyable and rewarding read: throw out a couple of thrillers and take it on holiday.' New Scientist
'Cairns-Smith has a story to tell and he does so, eloquently and well.' Susan Greenfield, The Times Higher Education Supplement
'Cairns-Smith offers a very intelligent human's guide to physics, molecular biology and neuroscience; on these he is both contemporary and more accurate than a cohort of Ph-doctored science newswriters. He deserves a new Nobel for Honest Communication.' Hilton Stowell, Journal of Consciousness Studies
"A.G. Cairns-Smith is a brilliant explainer of difficult ideas, bringing to the task an imagination that is magnificently disciplined by detailed scientific understanding. He is also open-minded. His book will tantalize participants and onlookers of all persuasions...I have never encountered a clearer or more vivid account of the spectacular ingenuity of cellular design and operation..." Daniel C. Dennett, Nature
"Cairns-Smith's book is of interest to anyone who is thinking seriously about the problem of consciousness, but it also offers a good read for those who are merely curious about the subject. For anyone who has wondered how a physical system can give rise to consciousness, Cairns-Smith gives a great tour of our present knowledge and aptly demonstrates its limitations....[H]e writes about these difficult concepts with a clarity unmatched by most other authors." David L. Wilson, Quarterly Review of Biology
"Of course, Evolving the Mind is in no way meant to embody a theory of consciousness. That would have been miraculous. But what the book does achieve is in some sense no less miraculous. It is an extremely clear, engaging, and informative account of a vast topic, one that includes physics, evolution, biochemistry, neuroscience, and psychology...Evolving the Mind is the best kind of popular science: it goes far beyond mere description, to include much of the history of scientific progress, and to analyze what science is." John J. Kim, The Boston Book Review
"...an absorbing book...We know a lot about how [the brain] works via molecular biology, but none of that explains our consciousness, our mind. There are, of course, theories--and Cairns-Smith provides one of his own as well as discussing others, in an admirably clear style. It is an enjoyable and rewarding read: throw out a couple of thrillers and take it on holiday." New Scientist
"Cairns-Smith's speculations are often unorthodox, but they never lack grounding in the several fields of study he has mastered. Very few others could have provided such a comprehensive picture of this topic, especially in broad strokes that are remarkably accessible." Choice

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