A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness

A History of the Mind Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness This book is a tour de force on how human consciousness may have evolved From the phantom pain experienced by people who have lost their limbs to the uncanny faculty of blindsight Humphrey argues tha

  • Title: A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness
  • Author: Nicholas Humphrey
  • ISBN: 9780387987194
  • Page: 243
  • Format: Paperback
  • This book is a tour de force on how human consciousness may have evolved From the phantom pain experienced by people who have lost their limbs to the uncanny faculty of blindsight, Humphrey argues that raw sensations are central to all conscious states and that consciousness must have evolved, just like all other mental faculties, over time from our ancestors bodily rThis book is a tour de force on how human consciousness may have evolved From the phantom pain experienced by people who have lost their limbs to the uncanny faculty of blindsight, Humphrey argues that raw sensations are central to all conscious states and that consciousness must have evolved, just like all other mental faculties, over time from our ancestors bodily responses to pain and pleasure Humphrey is one of that growing band of scientists who beat literary folk at their own game RICHARD DAWKINS A wonderful bookbrilliant, unsettling, and beautifully written Humphrey cuts bravely through the currents of contemporary thinking, opening up new vistas on old problems offering a feast of provocative ideas DANIEL DENNETT

    One thought on “A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness”

    1. Humphrey's thesis is, so far as I can recall it, that mind arises from physical sensation, interior and exterior, inclusive of emotion. This thesis is played off against evolutionary theory with speculation about how higher orders of abstraction from primary sensation were selected.

    2. Commenting on a theory of consciousness can be contentious and quite hard to fit in a short note, so let's focus on how the theory is presented in this book. On the positive side, you don't have to be a specialist to follow the arguments. Humphrey manages to guide the reader from one complex matter to another, explaining in ways that clarify what he proposes (including through many interesting analogies). So, you reach the last pages in the book with a clear overview of a persuasive approach. Ho [...]

    3. One problem with this book is the language is not as flowing as one would like, in particular when the argument becomes difficult and where you most need to pay attentiom the author tends to use tricky prose.Another problem is the way the book acknowledges and doesn’t many consciousness research results and thesis. It does not do so exhaustively nor does the book explain how other theories have evolved in the more recent years.The book is otherwise an extremely valuable exercise to reconnect p [...]

    4. This is at times quite breathtakingly shallow. He argues that to be conscious means to have sense data. Interesting the sections on mind blindness and blindsight. Not badly written with some nice examples and quotations.

    5. Es un texto que al principio parece interesante por el uso de psicología evolutiva, pero luego se va por la raíz, con poca demostración de lo afirmado. No es tan interesante para aprender, aunque si es entendible.

    6. In 1992 Nicholas Humphrey followed his ground-breaking book 'The Inner Eye' with an equally brilliant work, 'A History Of The Mind.' The thesis behind this work was that the link between our experience of the mind and its physical place in our bodies can be explained: there is a solution to the mind-body problem. Humphrey in this book tells a tale of evolution, of sensations being related to two distinct experiences – the outside world and the body itself – and of the development of his evol [...]

    7. Nicholas Humphrey presents a very interesting idea about consciousness using sensations vs. perceptions & how they affect us. Each chapter builds on the ones prior, starting w/the most basic definitions & theories, w/the final chapters addressing potential questions on what this theory could mean for artificial intelligence, life on other planets, & the consciousness of animals other than human beings.Towards the end of the book, where Mr. Humphrey has built on this theory for numero [...]

    8. A well-written and enjoyable book presenting Humphrey's theory of consciousness. Unlike many philosophers, he manages to present his ideas clearly, in common language, without resorting to philosophical jargon or obscure thought experiments. Unlike many philosophers who identify consciousness with higher-level perception and reflective thought, Humphrey makes the case that it's low level sensations, the raw feeling of sensory input, that is the origin of consciousness. Like Daniel Dennett, Humph [...]

    9. He's got a lot of good things to say; however, I'm having a tough time buying the argument for the parallel nature of perception and sensation. I'd be curious if anyone else had a similar issue. Even with BH's "experimental" support of this theory, it is difficult for me not to believe that perception is an analysis of sensation.On the other hand, his idea of a feedback loop not only solves the nesting dolls problem, but also goes a long way towards explaing the you-have-it-or-you-don't nature o [...]

    10. The first chapter of this book is kind of exciting. Humphrey has this thesis that everything interesting in nature happens at the borders. His ideas around sensation and how we respond to sensation are really great food for thought. Then, he gets a little - odd. He has an argument with a child that he wrote himself to prove/disprove his thesis. And the science seems to have passed him by a bit since this was written - so all of his theories are a little - um, out of date.

    11. Sometimes I found myself being sucked in by this author's arguments about evolutionary consciousness, and sometimes I think he went way too far out on a limb. Nevertheless it is a readable book and quite entertaining. But I went away unconvinced that a biological link exists between sensation and crative thought, which I think he wanted me to believe.

    12. This is a great example of a book that is so well put together and written that it's quite an interesting and enjoyable read despite not being brought round the author's point of view. Interesting and I'm glad I read it, but a touch disappointed by the conclusion.

    13. The amount of ideas may well worth one paper or a few, but a book with such a title should have had more meat in it, especially as speculation seems a major portion.

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