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The Origin of Minds: Evolution, Uniqueness, and the New Science of the Self [Anglais] [Relié]

Roger Bingham

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5  5 commentaires
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This book explains things so well. 15 mars 2003
Par "jnetalt2" - Publié sur
This book is a great read for anyone who is intrigued with the workings of the human mind and nervous system, the capabilities of the mind, the tiny neurochemical happenings that make possible all the automatic and deliberately chosen activities of our mind and body, and language/neurolinguistics.
The Origins of Minds sort of has the intriguing, poetic sensuality of Diane Ackerman's writing, but Minds feels by far more scientific. The sophisticated academic/medical/scientific language was worth the slight challenge it presented; the clarity with which the book's concepts and premises are laid out is awe-inspiring. Everyday metaphors are employed to make the most complicated concepts accessible, yet the authors let you know when they are oversimplifying, and why. The book is written with respect for the reader who perhaps studied biology a long time ago, or wants to nurture a recently born interest the incredibly interwoven workings and capabilities of body and mind.
The book describes some of the less complex formations and abilities of "mind" as it operates in E. coli bacteria with memories just 4 seconds long, and in bees who know to return to successful nectar-gathering sites yet know to adapt to a better segment of flowers when the previously rich source tapers off. You learn about instinct, reflex, and neocortical activity-- a person's uniquely personal history that archives the environment, inner state(s)-- the idiosyncratic `adaptive representational network' which provides you at every moment with access to memories of past situations similar to the present one, and a menu of past and present choices accompanied by how each past choice has worked out and how each choice you might make now is most likely to affect your hierarchically organized motivations and desires.
Living things are programmed to repeat behavior that assists in their survival and reproduction. The Origin of Minds explores and challenges this premise again and again, and it's quite elucidating and satisfying. What are our instincts and what ultimate purpose do they serve? How are instincts different from reflexes and why should it matter? How (and even why) does our DNA pass along certain physiological adaptations down through the generations? How is the hierarchy and intensity of our various and often competing goals organized in our psyches? What motivation underlies the development of a unique, individual personality and how does this conflict with or relate to our need for social cooperation for survival? You'll find it here.
Also, the book describes the workings of dopamine, seratonin, noradrenaline, depression and even antidepressant medication with tremendous clarity and detail. Having often seen those subjects treated by authors in a cursory, oversimplified way (to the point of being unhelpful) for the non-medical professional, I deeply appreciate this book's responsibly fleshed-out information. Very accessible. An extremely enjoyable read.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An extraordinarily clear account of the "world knot." 26 décembre 2006
Par John E. Nelson MD - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
As a practicing psychiatrist, the relationship between mind and brain is ultimately fascinating, although it is unlikely ever to be solved to everyone's satisfaction. Yet we feel compelled to try, and LaCerra's and Bingham's skillfully presented book is a giant leap toward correlating brain events with human experience and behavior. The lucid writing and excellent examples make it both intellectually stimulating and a joy to read. Although I agree with previous reviewers that this book skirts the many spiritual, religious, and philosophical issues involved in this ancient "world knot," the authors' intention was clearly to remain within their paradigm, and they elegantly achieved their goal of describing the physical concomitants of human subjectivity. In no way does such scientific research negate transpersonal efforts to explore the mystery of consciousness as a thing-in-itself, but instead lays a firm foundation for philosophers to build on. Highly recommended! John Nelson, author of The Remembering and Healing the Split.
9 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Mother Lode of metaphor 15 avril 2003
Par Stephen A. Haines - Publié sur
La Cerra and Bingham provide a starting point for those wishing to gain some knowledge of the roots of human behaviour. They stress the individual - individuals ranging from the mundane to those breaking "patterns," exhibiting "abnormal" behaviour or showing creativity. They open with an explanation of how difficult it is to explain individuality in Darwinian terms, but acknowledge that evolution is basis of how our brains operate. With rich use of metaphor, and many examples from fiction, the text is free-flowing, if not "flowery." Devoid of footnotes and including what can only be described as a [sad] bibliography, the book is of mixed value.
The authors are exceptional at relative comparisons. In order to place humans in a frame of reference with other creatures, they describe the environmental sensitivity of a bacterium, E. coli. They explain that its information retention capacity lasts a duration of but four seconds. In that brief span it must decide whether to pursue possible "food" or rest and wait for a change in condition. They show that such decisions must be made by every living creature - how much energy to expend on survival strategies? This pattern, with added ramifications as you progress through more complex life forms, particularly ourselves, requires increasingly intricate reasoning powers. In humans, many of these powers have been shown to be dependent on various neurochemical processes. To the authors, this rules out any
genetic "absolutes" driving behaviour at the molecular level. This "strawperson" has been built and scattered before. La Cerra and Bingham raise their stook, then destroy it gently - but a straw man remains a straw man.
A number of scholars and their findings in cognitive studies are addressed, but only someone with a rich knowledge of the field is likely to perceive this. Many ideas are presented, but you remain unclear of their origins. Antonio Damasio and Steven Pinker are listed in the Bibliography, but the text makes no references to their views. Careful reading suggests neither scholars had much impact on the development of the authors' ideas. Daniel C. Dennett is given thanks "after publication" [??]. One yearns to read that "correspondence." To a degree this book insults the reader they wish to reach - those wanting to understand human reasoning and behaviour. It is difficult to accept that an inquiring reader is going to be diverted by a few pointers to further information. The reader is left with the impression that the authors have a new, innovative concept of thinking and behaviour. Sadly, that's false.
The rich use of metaphor guides the reader over what might be otherwise difficult concepts. The issues in cognitive studies are not simple, however, and require more explanation than the authors' seem able to give. The metaphors, instead of aiding in the explanation, become roadblocks to legitimate understanding. The authors leave the impression that all the issues in cognitive science have now been resolved by their book. Confidence in your own work is admirable, but should rest on a firmer foundation than La Cerra and Bingham provide. If the topic is new to you, this book may open a few doors. However, don't stop here, but move on to those who explain the background to the metaphors with sound research instead of simply breezy writing styles. Other scholars can write well. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
5 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Educational. 12 mars 2003
Par Natalie Zilverberg - Publié sur
If you enjoy learning intense subjects, keeping your dictionary handy, learning of the brain, and sorting out neuro-jargen you should check this one out. If you are a person of high intellect and enjoy learning of the brain and how it has evolved ( and evolving ) then this would be a good read. However, if you enjoy rudimentary leveled books, this isn't the one for you. I gave this book four stars because it was enjoyable, but not 5 star worthy.
2 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 High-tech head bump measurement 15 avril 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur
While this book is an excellent, but intensive, book discussing the neurological function of the brain, it thumps an anti-religion undertone proclaiming we are nothing but a collection of electrochemicals that dictate behavior from primordial oceans over a billion years ago.
Modern brain research is on a direct collision course with thousands of years of religious philosophy. One field denies that we may very well be an immortal spirit using the brain like one drives a car. The other screams "See this, you ARE the brain and nothing else because we cannot measure it." When you read this, keep your critical eye in high gear.
Maybe fifty years from now, we may look at this book with the Freudian era practice of measuring intelligence by associating it with physical brain size and the number of head bumps. Only this time they are using MRIs and electron microscopes instead of just a caliper to measure the brain.
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