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Journal of Clinical Investigation (pdf)
Metapsychology
Internet Time Blog
Guardian Unlimited
Thymos

Gerald Edelman

Wider than the sky

Gerald Edelman is a well known neuroscientist, and has developed a theory of mind known as the Theory of Neuronal Group Selection, also known as Neural Darwinism. In this theory the brain structures itself as it goes along, based on external inputs and internal feedback loops. In Wider than the sky he gives a concise introuction to this theory, explaining how it leads to the emergence of consciousness.

I have several criticisms of this book. Firstly, Edelman's philosophy of mind looks to me suspiciously like parallelism/epiphenomenalism (which I think is nonsensical). However, he does put considerable effort into arguing why it isn't so maybe this is an unfair criticism. My second problem is that he is too dismissive of computer models of the mind. At one point he tells us how pigeons have been trained to recognise pictures of different species of fish. Just like neural networks, I thought, but Edelman's point was that this was unlike a computer. My major criticism however is that Edelman seems to be unable to break the habit of using excessively long words. It's not too hard to read once you get used to it, but I felt it does mean that the book is mostly for those who have read similar works and want a concise summary of Edelman's ideas, rather than for novices in the subject.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 224 pages  
ISBN: 0141015101
Salesrank: 1737541
Published: 2005 Gardners Books
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 224 pages  
ISBN: 0141015101
Salesrank: 1405435
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 2005 Penguin
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback
ISBN: 0141015101
Salesrank: 3057144
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 1886 Non Basic Stock Line
Marketplace::Used from CDN$ 20.26
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