Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On The Matter Of The Mind by Gerald M. Edelman

By Gerald M. Edelman

We are at the verge of a revolution in neuroscience as major because the Galilean revolution in physics or the Darwinian revolution in biology. Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman takes factor with the various present cognitive and behavioral techniques to the mind that go away biology out of the image, and argues that the workings of the mind extra heavily resemble the dwelling ecology of a jungle than they do the actions of a working laptop or computer. a few startling conclusions emerge from those rules: individuality is inevitably on the very middle of what it skill to have a brain, no creature is born value-free, and no actual conception of the universe can declare to be a ”theory of every thing” with out together with an account of ways the mind supplies upward push to the brain. there's no larger clinical problem than knowing the mind. Bright Air, remarkable Fire is a ebook that offers a window on that understanding.

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Extra info for Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On The Matter Of The Mind

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The messageboils down to this: The fundamental basis for all behavior and for the emergenceof mind is animal and speciesmorphology (anatomy) and how it functions. From studying the paleontological record it follows that what we call mind emerged only at particular times during evolution (and rather late at that). These terse commentscan be used as the basis for a researchProgram to connect psychology with biology-a program to account for embodiment. Errors continue to arise when psychology is pursued without strong connections to biology; I discuss some of them in the Postscript.

Most strikingly, the variability of maps in adult animals dependson the availablesignal input (figure 3-5). This might not seemto pose a dilemma 27 P no g rrl"t s on the alteration at first; after all, computerschangetheir "maps" or tables are based on system of software. One standardexplanationis to say that there hardin the brain that handle changing input, each altemative fixed and wired but switched in or out by changing input. Thus, the number of altematives would have to be very large. Another set of observationsbrings us to psychologicaldilemmasof the most profound kind.

The fiercest latter-day advocate of this position was B. F. Skinner, who extensively urplor"d- the phenomunonoi operant conditioning. This behavior is then reinforcedby repeatedreward') Many tefined chains of behavior were analyzedusing behavioral techniques. Clearly, however, at least part of the baby went out with the balhwater. For example,these approachesdid not encomPassthe Gestalt phenomena (figure 4-2) discovered by Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang kohler, and Kurt Koffka. Gestalt pattems were discemed by thinking subjectsin a way that behaviorismwas hard put to explain.

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