The Cerebral Code is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes could operate in the brain to shape mental images in only seconds, starting with shuffled memories no better than the jumble of our nighttime dreams, but evolving into something of quality, such as a sentence to speak aloud. Jung said that dreaming goes on continuously but you can't see it when you are awake, just as you can't see the stars in the daylight because it is too bright. Calvin's is a theory for what goes on, hidden from view by the glare of waking mental operations, that produces our peculiarly human type of consciousness with its versatile intelligence.
As Piaget emphasized in 1929, intelligence is what we use when we don't know what to do, when we have to grope rather than using a standard response. Calvin tackles a mechanism for doing this exploration and improvement offline, as we think before we act or practice the art of good guessing.
Surprisingly, the subtitle's mosaics of the mind is not a literary metaphor. For the first time, it is a description of a mechanism of what appears to be an appropriate level of explanation for many mental phenomena, that of hexagonal mosaics of electrical activity that compete for territory in the association cortex of the brain. This two-dimensional mosaic is predicted to grow and dissolve much as the sugar crystals do in the bottom of a supersaturated glass of iced tea.
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Few philosophers today attempt a nonmaterialist explanation of consciousness, but even materialist explanations get stuck at the mysterious boundary where thoughts arise from synapses. The Cerebral Code offers a physiological model of the brain's thought processes, albeit in a highly technical presentation. William Calvin, overly glib at times, tries hard to present his new hypothesis for the workings of higher intellectual functions in easy-to-understand metaphors and plain language. And while the technical difficulty of the topic makes this a daunting read, the cogent neurological model of human cognition--dreaming, problem solving, and creative thinking--is rewarding. Anyone who wishes to thoroughly understand consciousness should not ignore this book.About the Author:
William H. Calvin is Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle. His books include The Cerebral Code (MIT Press, 1996).
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Descripción U.S.A.: A Bradford Book, 1998. Soft cover. Estado de conservación: New. 1st Edition. Paperback. Brand new unread unworn unopened. Nº de ref. de la librería 54713
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