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Cognitive Science

CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE SOCIAL BRAIN

CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE SOCIAL BRAIN

By: Graziano, Michael
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What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? In Consciousness and the Social Brain, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano lays out an audacious new theory to account for the deepest mystery of them all. The human brain has evolved a complex circuitry that allows it to be socially intelligent. This social machinery has only just begun to be studied in detail. One function of this circuitry is to attribute awareness to others: to compute that person Y is aware of thing X. In Graziano's theory, the machinery that attributes awareness to others also attributes it to oneself. Damage that machinery and you disrupt your own awareness. Graziano discusses the science, the evidence, the philosophy, and the surprising implications of this new theory. Now in an affordable paperback edition!
CONSCIOUSNESS COLOR & CONTENT

CONSCIOUSNESS COLOR & CONTENT

By: Tye, Michael
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Experiences and feelings are inherently conscious states. There is something it is like to feel pain, to have an itch, to experience bright red. Philosophers call this sort of consciousness "phenomenal consciousness." Even though phenomenal consciousness seems to be a relatively primitive matter, something more widespread in nature than higher-order or reflective consciousness, it is deeply puzzling.

In 1995 Michael Tye proposed a theory of phenomenal consciousness now known as representationalism. This book is, in part, devoted to a further development of that theory along with replies to common objections. Tye's focus is broader than representationalism, however. Two prominent challenges for any reductive theory of consciousness are the explanatory gap and the knowledge argument. In part I of this book, Tye suggests that these challenges are intimately related. The best strategy for dealing with the explanatory gap, he claims, is to consider it a kind of cognitive illusion. Part II of the book is devoted to representationalism. Part III connects representationalism with two more general issues. The first is the nature of color. Tye defends a commonsense, objectivist view of color and argues that such a view is compatible with modern color science. In the final chapter, Tye addresses the question of where on the phylogenetic scale phenomenal consciousness ceases, arguing that consciousness extends beyond the realm of vertebrates to such relatively simple creatures as the honeybee.

CONSCIOUSNESS IN ACTION

CONSCIOUSNESS IN ACTION

By: Hurley, S L
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In this important book, Susan Hurley sheds new light on consciousness by examining its relationships to action from various angles. She assesses the role of agency in the unity of a conscious perspective, and argues that perception and action are more deeply interdependent than we usually assume. A standard view conceives perception as input from world to mind and action as output from mind to world, with the serious business of thought in between. Hurley criticizes this picture, and considers how the interdependence of perceptual experience and agency at the personal level (of mental contents and norms) may emerge from the subpersonal level (of underlying causal processes and complex dynamic feedback systems). Her two-level view has wide implications, for topics that include self-consciousness, the modularity of mind, and the relations of mind to world. The self no longer lurks hidden somewhere between perceptual input and behavioral output, but reappears out in the open, embodied and embedded in its environment.

Hurley traces these themes from Kantian and Wittgensteinian arguments through to intriguing recent work in neuropsychology and in dynamic systems approaches to the mind, providing a bridge from mainstream philosophy to work in other disciplines. Consciousness in Action is unique in the range of philosophical and scientific work it draws on, and in the deep criticism it offers of centuries-old habits of thought.

CONSCIOUSNESS REVISITED: MATERIALISM WITHOUT PHENOMENAL CONCEPTS

CONSCIOUSNESS REVISITED: MATERIALISM WITHOUT PHENOMENAL CONCEPTS

By: Tye, Michael
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Four major puzzles of consciousness philosophical materialism must confront after rejecting the phenomenal concept strategy.

We are material beings in a material world, but we are also beings who have experiences and feelings. How can these subjective states be just a matter of matter? To defend materialism, philosophical materialists have formulated what is sometimes called "the phenomenal-concept strategy," which holds that we possess a range of special concepts for classifying the subjective aspects of our experiences. In Consciousness Revisited, the philosopher Michael Tye, until now a proponent of the the phenomenal-concept strategy, argues that the strategy is mistaken.

A rejection of phenomenal concepts leaves the materialist with the task of finding some other strategy for defending materialism. Tye points to four major puzzles of consciousness that arise: How is it possible for Mary, in the famous thought experiment, to make a discovery when she leaves her black-and-white room? In what does the explanatory gap consist and how can it be bridged? How can the hard problem of consciousness be solved? How are zombies possible? Tye presents solutions to these puzzles--solutions that relieve the pressure on the materialist created by the failure of the phenomenal-concept strategy. In doing so, he discusses and makes new proposals on a wide range of issues, including the nature of perceptual content, the conditions necessary for consciousness of a given object, the proper understanding of change blindness, the nature of phenomenal character and our awareness of it, whether we have privileged access to our own experiences, and, if we do, in what such access consists.

CONSCIOUSNESS: CONFESSIONS OF A ROMANTIC REDUCTIONIST

CONSCIOUSNESS: CONFESSIONS OF A ROMANTIC REDUCTIONIST

By: Koch, Christof
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A fascinating exploration of the human brain that combines "the leading edge of consciousness science with surprisingly personal and philosophical reflection . . . shedding light on how scientists really think"--this is "science writing at its best" (Times Higher Education).

In which a scientist searches for an empirical explanation for phenomenal experience, spurred by his instinctual belief that life is meaningful.

What links conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bioelectrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience. This engaging book--part scientific overview, part memoir, part futurist speculation--describes Koch's search for an empirical explanation for consciousness. Koch recounts not only the birth of the modern science of consciousness but also the subterranean motivation for his quest--his instinctual (if "romantic") belief that life is meaningful.

Koch describes his own groundbreaking work with Francis Crick in the 1990s and 2000s and the gradual emergence of consciousness (once considered a "fringy" subject) as a legitimate topic for scientific investigation. Present at this paradigm shift were Koch and a handful of colleagues, including Ned Block, David Chalmers, Stanislas Dehaene, Giulio Tononi, Wolf Singer, and others. Aiding and abetting it were new techniques to listen in on the activity of individual nerve cells, clinical studies, and brain-imaging technologies that allowed safe and noninvasive study of the human brain in action.

Koch gives us stories from the front lines of modern research into the neurobiology of consciousness as well as his own reflections on a variety of topics, including the distinction between attention and awareness, the unconscious, how neurons respond to Homer Simpson, the physics and biology of free will, dogs, Der Ring des Nibelungen, sentient machines, the loss of his belief in a personal God, and sadness. All of them are signposts in the pursuit of his life's work--to uncover the roots of consciousness.

DAMASIO'S ERROR & DESCARTES' TRUTH

DAMASIO'S ERROR & DESCARTES' TRUTH

By: Gluck, Andrew L
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The question of the relationship between mind and body as posed by Descartes, Spinoza, and others remains a fundamental debate for philosophers. In Damasio's Error and Descartes' Truth, Andrew Gluck constructs a pluralistic response to the work of neurologist Antonio Damasio. Gluck critiques the neutral monistic assertions found in Descartes' Error and Looking for Spinoza from a philosophical perspective, advocating an adaptive theory--physical monism in the natural sciences, dualism in the social sciences, and neutral monism in aesthetics. Gluck's work is a significant and refreshing take on a historical debate.
DELUSIONS OF GENDER: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

DELUSIONS OF GENDER: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

By: Fine, Cordelia
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It's the twenty-first century, and although we tried to rear unisex children--boys who play with dolls and girls who like trucks--we failed. Even though the glass ceiling is cracked, most women stay comfortably beneath it. And everywhere we hear about vitally important "hardwired" differences between male and female brains. The neuroscience that we read about in magazines, newspaper articles, books, and sometimes even scientific journals increasingly tells a tale of two brains, and the result is more often than not a validation of the status quo. Women, it seems, are just too intuitive for math; men too focused for housework.

Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology, Cordelia Fine debunks the myth of hardwired differences between men's and women's brains, unraveling the evidence behind such claims as men's brains aren't wired for empathy and women's brains aren't made to fix cars. She then goes one step further, offering a very different explanation of the dissimilarities between men's and women's behavior. Instead of a "male brain" and a "female brain," Fine gives us a glimpse of plastic, mutable minds that are continuously influenced by cultural assumptions about gender.

Passionately argued and unfailingly astute, Delusions of Gender provides us with a much-needed corrective to the belief that men's and women's brains are intrinsically different--a belief that, as Fine shows with insight and humor, all too often works to the detriment of ourselves and our society.
DISTRACTED MIND: ANCIENT BRAINS IN A HIGH-TECH WORLD

DISTRACTED MIND: ANCIENT BRAINS IN A HIGH-TECH WORLD

By: Rosen, Larry D
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A "brilliant and practical" study of why our brains aren't built for media multitasking--and how we can learn to live with technology in a more balanced way (Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart)

Most of us will freely admit that we are obsessed with our devices. We pride ourselves on our ability to multitask--read work email, reply to a text, check Facebook, watch a video clip. Talk on the phone, send a text, drive a car. Enjoy family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7! Never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, and the unheard conversation at the table. In The Distracted Mind, Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen--a neuroscientist and a psychologist--explain why our brains aren't built for multitasking, and suggest better ways to live in a high-tech world without giving up our modern technology.

The authors explain that our brains are limited in their ability to pay attention. We don't really multitask but rather switch rapidly between tasks. Distractions and interruptions, often technology-related--referred to by the authors as "interference"--collide with our goal-setting abilities. We want to finish this paper/spreadsheet/sentence, but our phone signals an incoming message and we drop everything. Even without an alert, we decide that we "must" check in on social media immediately.

Gazzaley and Rosen offer practical strategies, backed by science, to fight distraction. We can change our brains with meditation, video games, and physical exercise; we can change our behavior by planning our accessibility and recognizing our anxiety about being out of touch even briefly. They don't suggest that we give up our devices, but that we use them in a more balanced way.

DREAMING SOULS: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind

DREAMING SOULS: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind

By: Flanagan, Owen J
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What, if anything, do dreams tell us about ourselves? What is the relationship between types of sleep and types of dreams? Does dreaming serve any purpose? Or are dreams simply meaningless mental noise--"unmusical fingers wandering over the piano keys"?
With expertise in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, Owen Flanagan is uniquely qualified to answer these questions. And in Dreaming Souls he provides both an accessible survey of the latest research on sleep and dreams and a compelling new theory about the nature and function of dreaming. Flanagan argues that while sleep has a clear biological function and adaptive value, dreams are merely side effects, "free riders," irrelevant from an evolutionary point of view. But dreams are hardly unimportant. Indeed, Flanagan argues that dreams are self-expressive, the result of our need to find or to create meaning, even when we're sleeping. Rejecting Freud's theory of manifest and latent content--of repressed wishes appearing in disguised form--Flanagan shows how brainstem activity during sleep generates a jumbled profusion of memories, images, thoughts, emotions, and desires, which the cerebral cortex then attempts to shape into a more or less coherent story. Such dream-narratives range from the relatively mundane worries of non REM sleep to the fantastic confabulations of deep REM that resemble psychotic episodes in their strangeness. But however bizarre these narratives may be, they can shed light on our mental life, our well being, and our sense of self.
Written with clarity, lively wit, and remarkable insight, Dreaming Souls offers a fascinating new way of apprehending one of the oldest mysteries of mental life.

EDUCATING EVE: The Language Instinct Debate

By: Sampson, Geoffrey
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Are we creatures who learn new things? Or does human mental development consist of awakening structures of thought? A view has gained ground - advocated, for example, by Steven Pinker's book The Language Instinct - that language in much of its detail is hard-wired in our genes. Others add that this holds too for much of the specific knowledge and understanding expressed in language. When the first human evolved from apes (it is claimed), her biological inheritance comprised not just a distinctive anatomy but a rich structure of cognition. This book examines the various arguments for instinctive knowledge, with the author arguing that each one rests on false premises or embodies a logical fallacy. A different picture of learning is suggested by Karl Popper's account of knowledge growing through conjectures and refutations. The facts of human language are best explained, Sampson contends, by taking language acquisition to be a case of Popperian learning. In this way, we are not born know-alls; we are born knowing nothing but able to learn anything and this is why we can find ways to think and talk about a world that goes on changing.
EMBODIMENT & COGNITIVE SCIENCE

EMBODIMENT & COGNITIVE SCIENCE

By: Gibbs Jr, Raymond W
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This book describes the many ways that the mind and body are closely interrelated, and how human thought and language are fundamentally linked to bodily action. The embodied nature of mind is explored through many topics, such as perception, thinking, language use, development, emotions, and consciousness. People's embodied experiences are critical to the ways they think and speak and, most generally, understand themselves, other people, and the world around them. This work provides a strong defense of the idea that embodied action is critical to the study of human cognition.
EMBRACING MIND: COMMON GROUND OF SCIENCE & SPRITUALITY

EMBRACING MIND: COMMON GROUND OF SCIENCE & SPRITUALITY

By: Hodel, Brian
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What is Mind? For this ancient question we are still seeking answers. B. Alan Wallace and Brian Hodel propose a science of the mind based on the contemplative wisdom of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christianity, and Islam.

The authors begin by exploring the history of science, showing how science tends to ignore the mind, even while it is understood to be the very instrument through which we comprehend the world of nature. They then propose a contemplative science of mind based on the sophisticated techniques of meditation that have been practiced for thousands of years in the great spiritual traditions. The final section presents meditations that are of universal relevance--to scientists and people of all faiths--for revealing new dimensions of consciousness and human flourishing.

Embracing Mind moves us beyond the dogmatic debates between theists and atheists over Intelligent Design and Neo-Darwinism, and it returns us to the vital core of science and spirituality: deepening our experience of reality as a whole.


EXPLAINING CONSCIOUSNESS

EXPLAINING CONSCIOUSNESS

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At the 1994 landmark conference "Toward a Scientific Basis for Consciousness," philosopher David Chalmers distinguished between the "easy" problems and the "hard" problem of consciousness research. According to Chalmers, the easy problems are to explain cognitive functions such as discrimination, integration, and the control of behavior; the hard problem is to explain why these functions should be associated with phenomenal experience. Why doesnt all this cognitive processing go on "in the dark," without any consciousness at all? In this book, philosophers, physicists, psychologists, neurophysiologists, computer scientists, and others address this central topic in the growing discipline of consciousness studies. Some take issue with Chalmers' distinction, arguing that the hard problem is a non-problem, or that the explanatory gap is too wide to be bridged. Others offer alternative suggestions as to how the problem might be solved, whether through cognitive science, fundamental physics, empirical phenomenology, or with theories that take consciousness as irreducible.

Contributors: Bernard J. Baars, Douglas J. Bilodeau, David Chalmers, Patricia S. Churchland, Thomas Clark, C. J. S. Clarke, Francis Crick, Daniel C. Dennett, Stuart Hameroff, Valerie Hardcastle, David Hodgson, Piet Hut, Christof Koch, Benjamin Libet, E. J. Lowe, Bruce MacLennan, Colin McGinn, Eugene Mills, Kieron OHara, Roger Penrose, Mark C. Price, William S. Robinson, Gregg Rosenberg, Tom Scott, William Seager, Jonathan Shear, Roger N. Shepard, Henry Stapp, Francisco J. Varela, Max Velmans, Richard Warner

EXTENDED MIND

EXTENDED MIND

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Leading scholars respond to the famous proposition by Andy Clark and David Chalmers that cognition and mind are not located exclusively in the head.

Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? In their famous 1998 paper "The Extended Mind," philosophers Andy Clark and David J. Chalmers posed this question and answered it provocatively: cognitive processes "ain't all in the head." The environment has an active role in driving cognition; cognition is sometimes made up of neural, bodily, and environmental processes. Their argument excited a vigorous debate among philosophers, both supporters and detractors. This volume brings together for the first time the best responses to Clark and Chalmers's bold proposal. These responses, together with the original paper by Clark and Chalmers, offer a valuable overview of the latest research on the extended mind thesis.

The contributors first discuss (and answer) objections raised to Clark and Chalmers's thesis. Clark himself responds to critics in an essay that uses the movie Memento's amnesia-aiding notes and tattoos to illustrate the workings of the extended mind. Contributors then consider the different directions in which the extended mind project might be taken, including the need for an approach that focuses on cognitive activity and practice.

FEELING OF WHAT HAPPENS: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness

FEELING OF WHAT HAPPENS: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness

By: Damasio, Antonio
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In The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, director of UCLA's Brain and Creativity Institute, presents "the first truly compelling neurobiological account of the self...a remarkable work of intellectual daring" (Nature).

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

Widley praised for his innovative scientific thinking and elegant writing, Antonio Damasio, the international bestselling author of Descartes' Error achieves an understanding of consciousness by asking and answering profound questions: How is it we know what we know? How is it that our conscious and private minds have a sense of self?

In this groundbreaking book, Damasio -- a renowned and revered scientist and clinician who spent decades following amnesiacs down hospital corridors, waiting for comatose patients to awaken, and devising ingenious research using PET scans to piece together the great puzzle of consciousness -- explores the biological roots of sentient awareness and its role in survival.

Consciousness is the feeling of what happens-our mind noticing the body's reaction to the world and responding to that experience. Without our bodies there can be no consciousness, which is at heart a mechanism for survival that engages body, emotion, and mind in the glorious spiral of human life. Linking body and emotion in an arresting and original study of what it is to be human, The Feeling of What Happens "will change your experience of yourself" (The New York Times).

"Both Descartes Error and The Feeling of What Happens are essential reading. They are ground-breaking classics of psychology and neuroscience."--Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine









FLIP: EPIPHANIES OF MIND AND THE FUTURE OF KNOWLEDGE

FLIP: EPIPHANIES OF MIND AND THE FUTURE OF KNOWLEDGE

By: Kripal, Jeffrey J
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"One of the most provocative new books of the year, and, for me, mindblowing." --Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and How to Change Your Mind

"Kripal makes many sympathetic points about the present spiritual state of America. . . . [He] continues to believe that spirituality and science should not contradict each other." --New York Times Book Review

"Kripal prompts us to reflect on our personal assumptions, as well as the shared assumptions that create and maintain our institutions. . . . [His] work will likely become more and more relevant to more and more areas of inquiry as the century unfolds. It may even open up a new space for Americans to reevaluate the personal and cultural narratives they have inherited, and to imagine alternative futures." --Los Angeles Review of Books

A "flip," writes Jeffrey J. Kripal, is "a reversal of perspective," "a new real," often born of an extreme, life-changing experience. The Flip is Kripal's ambitious, visionary program for unifying the sciences and the humanities to expand our minds, open our hearts, and negotiate a peaceful resolution to the culture wars. Combining accounts of rationalists' spiritual awakenings and consciousness explorations by philosophers, neuroscientists, and mystics within a framework of the history of science and religion, Kripal compellingly signals a path to mending our fractured world.

Jeffrey J. Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University and is the associate director of the Center for Theory and Research at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. He has previously taught at Harvard Divinity School and Westminster College and is the author of eight books, including The Flip. He lives in Houston, Texas.

FURNISHING THE MIND

FURNISHING THE MIND

By: Prinz, Jesse J
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Western philosophy has long been divided between empiricists, who argue that human understanding has its basis in experience, and rationalists, who argue that reason is the source of knowledge. A central issue in the debate is the nature of concepts, the internal representations we use to think about the world. The traditional empiricist thesis that concepts are built up from sensory input has fallen out of favor. Mainstream cognitive science tends to echo the rationalist tradition, with its emphasis on innateness. In Furnishing the Mind, Jesse Prinz attempts to swing the pendulum back toward empiricism.

Prinz provides a critical survey of leading theories of concepts, including imagism, definitionism, prototype theory, exemplar theory, the theory theory, and informational atomism. He sets forth a new defense of concept empiricism that draws on philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology and introduces a new version of concept empiricism called proxytype theory. He also provides accounts of abstract concepts, intentionality, narrow content, and concept combination. In an extended discussion of innateness, he covers Noam Chomsky's arguments for the innateness of grammar, developmental psychologists' arguments for innate cognitive domains, and Jerry Fodor's argument for radical concept nativism.

FUTURE OF THE BRAIN

FUTURE OF THE BRAIN

By: Rose, Steven
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Brain repair, smart pills, mind-reading machines--modern neuroscience promises to soon deliver a remarkable array of wonders as well as profound insight into the nature of the brain. But these exciting new breakthroughs, warns Steven Rose, will also raise troubling questions about what it means to be human.
In The Future of the Brain, Rose explores just how far neuroscience may help us understand the human brain--including consciousness--and to what extent cutting edge technologies should have the power to mend or manipulate the mind. Rose first offers a panoramic look at what we now know about the brain, from its three-billion-year evolution, to its astonishingly rapid development in the embryo, to the miraculous process of infant development. More important, he shows what all this science can--and cannot--tell us about the human condition. He examines questions that still baffle scientists and he explores the potential threats and promises of new technologies and their ethical, legal, and social implications, wondering how far we should go in eliminating unwanted behavior or enhancing desired characteristics, focusing on the new "brain steroids" and on the use of Ritalin to control young children.
The Future of the Brain is a remarkable look at what the brain sciences are telling us about who we are and where we came from--and where we may be headed in years to come.
FUTURE OF THE BRAIN: ESSAYS BY THE WORLD'S LEADING NEUROSCIENTISTS

FUTURE OF THE BRAIN: ESSAYS BY THE WORLD'S LEADING NEUROSCIENTISTS

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The world's top experts take readers to the very frontiers of brain science
Includes a chapter by 2014 Nobel laureates May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser

An unprecedented look at the quest to unravel the mysteries of the human brain, The Future of the Brain takes readers to the absolute frontiers of science. Original essays by leading researchers such as Christof Koch, George Church, Olaf Sporns, and May-Britt and Edvard Moser describe the spectacular technological advances that will enable us to map the more than eighty-five billion neurons in the brain, as well as the challenges that lie ahead in understanding the anticipated deluge of data and the prospects for building working simulations of the human brain. A must-read for anyone trying to understand ambitious new research programs such as the Obama administration's BRAIN Initiative and the European Union's Human Brain Project, The Future of the Brain sheds light on the breathtaking implications of brain science for medicine, psychiatry, and even human consciousness itself.

Contributors include: Misha Ahrens, Ned Block, Matteo Carandini, George Church, John Donoghue, Chris Eliasmith, Simon Fisher, Mike Hawrylycz, Sean Hill, Christof Koch, Leah Krubitzer, Michel Maharbiz, Kevin Mitchell, Edvard Moser, May-Britt Moser, David Poeppel, Krishna Shenoy, Olaf Sporns, Anthony Zador.

GREAT BRAIN DEBATE: NATURE OR NURTURE?

GREAT BRAIN DEBATE: NATURE OR NURTURE?

By: Dowling, John E
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Whether our personality, intelligence, and behavior are more likely to be shaped by our environment or our genetic coding is not simply an idle question for today's researchers. There are tremendous consequences to understanding the crucial role that environment and genes each play. How we raise and educate our children, how we treat various mental diseases or conditions, how we care for our elderly--these are just some of the issues that can be informed by a better understanding of brain development.

In The Great Brain Debate, the eminent neuroscience researcher John Dowling looks at these and other important issues. The work that is being done on the connection between the brain and vision, as well as the ways in which our brains help us learn new languages, are particularly revealing. From this groundbreaking new research, Dowling explains startling new insights into how the brain functions and how it can (or cannot) be molded and changed. By studying the brain across the spectrum of our lives, from infancy through adulthood and into old age, Dowling shows the ways in which both nature and nurture play key roles over the course of a human lifetime.

HACKING OF THE AMERICAN MIND: THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR BODIES AND BRAINS

HACKING OF THE AMERICAN MIND: THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR BODIES AND BRAINS

By: Lustig, Robert H
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"Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts."--David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain and Brain Maker

The New York Times-bestselling author of Fat Chance reveals the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression, and chronic disease.

While researching the toxic and addictive properties of sugar for his New York Times bestseller Fat Chance, Robert Lustig made an alarming discovery--our pursuit of happiness is being subverted by a culture of addiction and depression from which we may never recover.

Dopamine is the "reward" neurotransmitter that tells our brains we want more; yet every substance or behavior that releases dopamine in the extreme leads to addiction. Serotonin is the "contentment" neurotransmitter that tells our brains we don't need any more; yet its deficiency leads to depression. Ideally, both are in optimal supply. Yet dopamine evolved to overwhelm serotonin--because our ancestors were more likely to survive if they were constantly motivated--with the result that constant desire can chemically destroy our ability to feel happiness, while sending us down the slippery slope to addiction. In the last forty years, government legislation and subsidies have promoted ever-available temptation (sugar, drugs, social media, porn) combined with constant stress (work, home, money, Internet), with the end result of an unprecedented epidemic of addiction, anxiety, depression, and chronic disease. And with the advent of neuromarketing, corporate America has successfully imprisoned us in an endless loop of desire and consumption from which there is no obvious escape.

With his customary wit and incisiveness, Lustig not only reveals the science that drives these states of mind, he points his finger directly at the corporations that helped create this mess, and the government actors who facilitated it, and he offers solutions we can all use in the pursuit of happiness, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Always fearless and provocative, Lustig marshals a call to action, with seminal implications for our health, our well-being, and our culture.

HEAD CASE: How I Almost Lost My Mind Trying to Understand My Brain

HEAD CASE: How I Almost Lost My Mind Trying to Understand My Brain

By: Cass, Dennis
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"Dennis Cass ventures into the terra infirma that is neuroscience, and returns with a fascinating, funny and touching tale. I recommend it for anyone who owns a brain." -- AJ Jacobs, New York Times Bestselling author of The Know it All

In the tradition of Supersize Me, Dennis Cass becomes a human guinea pig in a darkly comic journey to understand the human brain and find out what makes us who we are

Infiltrating the world of neuroscience, Cass offers his own brain up to science, subjecting his mind and body to electric shocks, mind-numbing attention tests, stress tests of his own devising and cigarettes. In the spirit of George Plimpton and early Tom Wolfe, his exploits reveal the intricacies of fear, attention, stress, reward and consciousness from the inside out. Along the way, he weaves in the story of stepfather's manic depression and drug addiction, as well as his own troubles with stress and depression, giving neuroscience a personal touch along with the clinical facts.

Cass attacks the subject of the human brain with wit and candor, turning popular science into something distinctly human. Head Case is an imperative read for anyone who's ever asked themselves why they are who they are.

HISTORY OF THE MIND

HISTORY OF THE MIND

By: Humphrey, Nicholas
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The relation of mind -- consciousness especially -- and body has puzzled scientists and philosophers for centuries. Nicholas Humphrey here tells the evolutionary story of how sensory consciousness has come into the world and what it does here. Written in the form of a journey of discovery, A HISTORY OF THE MIND, which Daniel Dennett has called "a wonderful book -- brilliant, unsettling and beautifully written" -- gives us a bold, influential interpretation of the nature of consciousness by one of the world's leading theoretical psychologists.
HOLE IN THE HEAD; More Tales in the History of Neuroscience

HOLE IN THE HEAD; More Tales in the History of Neuroscience

By: Gross, Charles G
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Essays on great figures and important issues, advances and blind alleys--from trepanation to the discovery of grandmother cells--in the history of brain sciences.

Neuroscientist Charles Gross has been interested in the history of his field since his days as an undergraduate. A Hole in the Head is the second collection of essays in which he illuminates the study of the brain with fascinating episodes from the past. This volume's tales range from the history of trepanation (drilling a hole in the skull) to neurosurgery as painted by Hieronymus Bosch to the discovery that bats navigate using echolocation.

The emphasis is on blind alleys and errors as well as triumphs and discoveries, with ancient practices connected to recent developments and controversies. Gross first reaches back into the beginnings of neuroscience, then takes up the interaction of art and neuroscience, exploring, among other things, Rembrandt's "Anatomy Lesson" paintings, and finally, examines discoveries by scientists whose work was scorned in their own time but proven correct in later eras.

HOW TO BUILD A MIND

HOW TO BUILD A MIND

By: Aleksander, Igor
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Igor Aleksander heads a major British team that has applied engineering principles to the understanding of the human brain and has built several pioneering machines, culminating in MAGNUS, which he calls a machine with imagination. When he asks it (in words) to produce an image of a banana that is blue with red spots, the image appears on the screen in seconds.

The idea of such an apparently imaginative, even conscious machine seems heretical and its advocates are often accused of sensationalism, arrogance, or philosophical ignorance. Part of the problem, according to Aleksander, is that consciousness remains ill-defined.

Interweaving anecdotes from his own life and research with imagined dialogues between historical figures--including Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein, Francis Crick, and Steven Pinker--Aleksander leads readers toward an understanding of consciousness. He shows not only how the latest work with artificial neural systems suggests that an artificial form of consciousness is possible but also that its design would clarify many of the puzzles surrounding the murky concept of consciousness itself. The book also looks at the presentation of "self" in robots, the learning of language, and the nature of emotion, will, instinct, and feelings.

HOW TO CREATE A MIND: THE SECRET OF HUMAN THOUGHT REVEALED

HOW TO CREATE A MIND: THE SECRET OF HUMAN THOUGHT REVEALED

By: Kurzweil, Ray
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The bold futurist and bestselling author of The Singularity is Nearer explores the limitless potential of reverse-engineering the human brain

Ray Kurzweil is arguably today's most influential--and often controversial--futurist. In How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization--reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines.

Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world's problems. He thoughtfully examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating.

Certain to be one of the most widely discussed and debated science books of the year, How to Create a Mind is sure to take its place alongside Kurzweil's previous classics which include Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever and The Age of Spiritual Machines.

HUMAN'S GUIDE TO MACHINE INTELLIGENCE: HOW ALGORITHMS ARE SHAPING OUR LIVES AND HOW WE CAN STAY IN CONTROL

HUMAN'S GUIDE TO MACHINE INTELLIGENCE: HOW ALGORITHMS ARE SHAPING OUR LIVES AND HOW WE CAN STAY IN CONTROL

By: Hosanagar, Kartik
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A Wharton professor and tech entrepreneur examines how algorithms and artificial intelligence are starting to run every aspect of our lives, and how we can shape the way they impact us

Through the technology embedded in almost every major tech platform and every web-enabled device, algorithms and the artificial intelligence that underlies them make a staggering number of everyday decisions for us, from what products we buy, to where we decide to eat, to how we consume our news, to whom we date, and how we find a job. We've even delegated life-and-death decisions to algorithms--decisions once made by doctors, pilots, and judges. In his new book, Kartik Hosanagar surveys the brave new world of algorithmic decision-making and reveals the potentially dangerous biases they can give rise to as they increasingly run our lives. He makes the compelling case that we need to arm ourselves with a better, deeper, more nuanced understanding of the phenomenon of algorithmic thinking. And he gives us a route in, pointing out that algorithms often think a lot like their creators--that is, like you and me.

Hosanagar draws on his experiences designing algorithms professionally--as well as on history, computer science, and psychology--to explore how algorithms work and why they occasionally go rogue, what drives our trust in them, and the many ramifications of algorithmic decision-making. He examines episodes like Microsoft's chatbot Tay, which was designed to converse on social media like a teenage girl, but instead turned sexist and racist; the fatal accidents of self-driving cars; and even our own common, and often frustrating, experiences on services like Netflix and Amazon. A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence is an entertaining and provocative look at one of the most important developments of our time and a practical user's guide to this first wave of practical artificial intelligence.

HUMAN: Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique

HUMAN: Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique

By: Gazzaniga, Michael S
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What happened along the evolutionary trail that made humans so unique? In his accessible style, Michael Gazzaniga pinpoints the change that made us thinking, sentient humans different from our predecessors. He explores what makes human brains special, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.

ILLUSION OF CONSCIOUS WILL

ILLUSION OF CONSCIOUS WILL

By: Wegner, Daniel M
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A novel contribution to the age-old debate about free will versus determinism.

Do we consciously cause our actions, or do they happen to us? Philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, theologians, and lawyers have long debated the existence of free will versus determinism. In this book Daniel Wegner offers a novel understanding of the issue. Like actions, he argues, the feeling of conscious will is created by the mind and brain. Yet if psychological and neural mechanisms are responsible for all human behavior, how could we have conscious will? The feeling of conscious will, Wegner shows, helps us to appreciate and remember our authorship of the things our minds and bodies do. Yes, we feel that we consciously will our actions, Wegner says, but at the same time, our actions happen to us. Although conscious will is an illusion, it serves as a guide to understanding ourselves and to developing a sense of responsibility and morality.

Approaching conscious will as a topic of psychological study, Wegner examines the issue from a variety of angles. He looks at illusions of the will--those cases where people feel that they are willing an act that they are not doing or, conversely, are not willing an act that they in fact are doing. He explores conscious will in hypnosis, Ouija board spelling, automatic writing, and facilitated communication, as well as in such phenomena as spirit possession, dissociative identity disorder, and trance channeling. The result is a book that sidesteps endless debates to focus, more fruitfully, on the impact on our lives of the illusion of conscious will.

INCOMPLETE NATURE: HOW MIND EMERGED FROM MATTER

INCOMPLETE NATURE: HOW MIND EMERGED FROM MATTER

By: Deacon, Terrence W
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As scientists study the minutiae of subatomic particles, neural connections, and molecular compounds, their attempts at a "theory of everything" harbor a glaring omission: they still cannot explain us, the thoughts and perceptions that truly make us what we are. A masterwork that brings together science and philosophy, Incomplete Nature offers a revolutionary, captivating account of how life and consciousness emerged, revealing how our desires, feelings, and intentions can be understood in terms of the physical world.