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Antonio Damasio

Self Comes to Mind

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Catalog No. 29667

A leading neuroscientist explores with authority, with imagination, and with unparalleled mastery how the brain constructs the mind and how the brain makes that mind conscious.

Antonio Damasio has spent the past thirty years researching and and revealing how the brain works. In his most ambitious and stunning work yet he rejects the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, and presents compelling new scientific evidence that posits an evolutionary perspective. His view entails a radical change in the way the history of the conscious mind is viewed and told, suggesting that the brain's development of a human self is a challenge to nature's indifference. This development helps to open the way for the appearance of culture, perhaps one of our most defining characteristics as thinking and self-aware beings.

"As he has done previously, USC neuroscientist Damasio (Descartes' Error) explores the process that leads to consciousness. And as he has also done previously, he alternates between some exquisite passages that represent the best popular science has to offer and some technical verbiage that few will be able to follow. He draws meaningful distinctions among points on the continuum from brain to mind, consciousness to self, constantly attempting to understand the evolutionary reasons why each arose and attempting to tie each to an underlying physical reality. Damasio goes to great lengths to explain that many species, such as social insects, have minds, but humans are distinguished by the 'autobiographical self,' which adds flexibility and creativity, and has led to the development of culture, a 'radical novelty' in natural history. Damasio ends with a speculative chapter on the evolutionary process by which mind developed and then gave rise to self. In the Pleistocene, he suggests, humans developed emotive responses to shapes and sounds that helped lead to the development of the arts. Readers fascinated from both a philosophical and scientific perspective with the question of the relationships among brain, mind, and self will be rewarded for making the effort to follow Damasio's arguments."--Publishers Weekly

Self Comes to Mind is a Big Idea book penned by a luminous thinker.... [A] beautifully sprawling and marvelous work."--The Dallas Morning News

"Readers of [Damasio's] earlier books will encounter again the clarå_ity and the richness of a scienti•c theory nourished by the practice of the neurologist."-- L'Humanité(France) "Damasio makes a grand transition from higher-brain views of emotions to deeply evolutionary, lower-brain contributions to emotional, sensory, and homeostatic experiences. He af•rms that the roots of consciousness are affective and shared by our fellow animals. Damasio's creative vision leads relentlessly toward a natå_ural understanding of the very font of being."--Jaak Panksepp, author of Affective Neuroscience, and Baily Endowed Chair for Animal Well- Being Science, Washington State University

Antonio Damasio, a neurologist and neuroscientist, is at the University of Southern California, where he directs a new brain research institute dedicated to the study of emotion and creativity. He is also an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute. The recipient of numerous awards (several shared with his wife Hanna Damasio, also a neurologist and neuroscientist), he is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

416 pages. 2012


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