Having laid the groundwork in his critically acclaimed books Neural Darwinism (Basic Books, 1987) and Topobiology (Basic Books, 1988), Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman now proposes a comprehensive theory of consciousness in The Remembered ...
The author takes the reader on a tour that covers such topics as computers, evolution, Descartes, Schrodinger, and the nature of perception, language, and invididuality. He argues that biology provides the key to understanding the brain. Underlying his argument is the evolutionary view that the mind arose at a definite time in history. This book ponders connections between psychology and physics, medicine, philosophy, and more. Frequently contentious, Edelman attacks cognitive and behavioral approaches, which leave biology out of the picture, as (...) well as the currently fashionable view of the brain as a computer. (shrink)
The brains of higher mammals are extraordinary integrative devices. Signals from large numbers of functionally specialized groups of neurons distributed over many brain regions are integrated to generate a coherent, multimodal scene. Signals from the environment are integrated with ongoing, patterned neural activity that provides them with a meaningful context. We review recent advances in neurophysiology and neuroimaging that are beginning to reveal the neural mechanisms of integration. In addition, we discuss concepts and measures derived from information theory that lend (...) a theoretical basis to the notion of complexity as integration of information and suggest new experimental tests of these concepts. (shrink)
The distinction between receptive field and conceptual field is appealing and heuristically useful. Conceptually, it is more satisfactory to distinguish between information from the environment and from the brain. We emphasize here a selectionist view that considers information transmission within the brain as modulated by a stimulus, rather than information transmission from a stimulus as modulated by the context.