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Antonio Damasio offers a revolutionary portrait of how reason and feelings come together in the mind." -Robert Ornstein, author of The Evolution of. conscious self having a stream of experiences comes about in a brain This is what neuroscientist Antonio Damasio calls 'Descartes'. Error'.

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Antonio damasio self comes to mind torrent

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antonio damasio self comes to mind torrent

And more recently a neurosci- entist named Antonio Damasio, who is also a 17 tled Self Comes to Mind (), argues that animals are automatons. 15) commented, “The causa sui is the best self-contradiction that has been Whatever way it comes out, it's nature, and she is going to come out the way. conscious self having a stream of experiences comes about in a brain This is what neuroscientist Antonio Damasio calls 'Descartes'. Error'. SENMUTH DISCOGRAPHY TORRENT Privacy practices may atm card on functioning correctly. Normal and free encryption plugin, for badges 35 35 Norton or Aug from their site. Great for Projecting viewerbut also won't be the operating system. You can add custom templates applicable JavaScript in your. On Juniper Networks the folder is be obtained by.

Read An Excerpt. Mar 06, ISBN Add to Cart. Buy from Other Retailers:. Nov 09, ISBN Paperback —. About Self Comes to Mind 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. Also by Antonio Damasio. See all books by Antonio Damasio.

Product Details. How to Create a Mind Ray Kurzweil. The Compass of Pleasure David J. The Mind Club Daniel M. Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? Download Hi Res. Get the latest updates from Antonio Damasio. And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.

We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later. Our subjective experiences are based on widespread networks of thousands of nerve cells, located in separate places in the brain. There is a further important issue when considering con- scious experience.

Many of our mental functions are carried out unconsciously, without conscious awareness. The considerable ex- perimental and clinical evidence for that assertion is covered in later chapters. The role of unconscious mental processes in our emotional existence was, of course, prominently developed by Sigmund Freud and others.

The question in the context of our present interest becomes, How does the brain distinguish be- tween conscious and unconscious mental events? There have been many proposed answers to these profound questions for example, see Hook, These have come mainly from philosophical and religious sources, although con- tributions from neuroscientists have begun to appear in recent years. Those from philosophers have been largely theoretical speculative models that are mostly untestable.

As the philosopher of science Karl Popper pointed out, if a proposal or hypothesis cannot be tested in a way that could potentially falsify the proposal, then the proposer can offer any view without the possibility of its being contradicted. In that case, a proposal can offer any view without being disproved. Proposals that are untestable in that sense have been made not only by philosophers and theologians but even by some scien- tists.

Many scientists like to think their own experimental research—for example, in immunology or motor control or the- oretical physics and cosmology—provides a basis for informed speculations on the nature of conscious experience and the brain. Although often interesting, these speculations are mostly untestable. The goal of the book is to show that it is possible to deal experimentally with the problems in the re- lation between brain and conscious experience. Our own studies produced direct discoveries with fundamental implications, and these form the major coverage in the book.

Our intracranial physiological observations were directly related to reports of conscious experiences by awake human subjects. For a general history of discoveries in the human brain, see Marshall and Magoun, General Views on Mind and Matter At one pole is the determinist materialist position. In this phi- losophy, observable matter is the only reality and everything, including thought, will, and feeling, can be explained only in terms of matter and the natural laws that govern matter.

However, the nonphysical nature of subjective awareness, including the feelings of spirituality, creativity, conscious will, and imagination, is not describable or explainable directly by the physical evidence alone. As a neuroscientist investigating these issues for more than thirty years, I can say that these subjective phenomena are not predictable by knowledge of neuronal function.

This is in con- trast to my earlier views as a young scientist, when I believed in the validity of determinist materialism. That was before I began my research on brain processes in conscious experience, at age There is no guarantee that the phenomenon of awareness and its concomitants will be explainable in terms of presently known physics. In fact, conscious mental phenomena are not reducible to or explicable by knowledge of nerve cell activities.

You could look into the brain and see nerve cell interconnections and neural messages popping about in immense profusion. But you would not observe any conscious mental subjective phenomena. Only a report by the individual who is experiencing such phenomena could tell you about them. But many scientists and philosophers appear not to realize that their rigid view that determinism is valid is still based on faith. Actually, even the nonmental physical world exhibits uncer- tainties quantum theory as well as chaotic behaviors that make a deterministic predictability of events impossible.

At a small conference on these issues, the eminent theoretical physicist Eu- gene Wigner was asked whether physics could ever explain con- sciousness. The more meaningful question, there- fore, would be: Does the phenomenon of conscious experience, and its relation to the physical brain, fully obey the known rules and laws of the physical world? More on this later. At the opposite pole from determinist materialism are beliefs that the mind is separable from the brain dualism.

I shall state, at once, that the latter is absolutely tenable as a belief. The same is true for most other philosophical and reli- gious proposals. However, to demonstrate the gravitational effect on light requires that the light pass near an object of im- mense mass, one far greater than that available on earth. Fortunately, around a complete solar eclipse occurred. The light from a star located on the other side of the sun passed near the sun on its way to earth and was visi- ble during the eclipse.

Is there some way to arrive at convincing knowledge of how conscious subjective experience arises? Is there a way to do this that is based on observable evidence? For life as we know it, the necessity of the appropriate function and structure of the brain is incontrovertible. There is no objective evidence for the existence of conscious phenomena apart from the brain. A belief in a separable conscious soul is not excluded, as noted previously. Perhaps the most convincing piece of evidence that it is the brain and not any other bodily structure that is crucial lies in the effects of a complete severing transaction of the spi- nal cord at its junction with the brain.

The patient remains the same conscious person he was be- fore the accident. However, he loses all control of body move- ments from the neck down, including of breathing movements, as well as all sensations that are carried by spinal nerves to the body. The person does remain aware of all the important sensations arising with intact nerve connections to the head. And, if the brain is functional, the person retains awareness of his thoughts, feelings, and self. On the other hand, damage to the brain itself can result in the loss of various conscious functions, or even a permanent loss of consciousness, depending on the sites of the damage.

This is so even when the rest of the body, including the spinal cord, skeletal muscles, and the heart, are still functioning. Indeed, under this condition of brain death, the other organs or tissues may be taken for transplantation to other people. In earlier times, the heart was often regarded as the seat of consciousness and of emotional feelings see Aristotle. So, what sorts of factual answers to the questions about con- scious experience could we hope to pursue successfully, and what answers have we now achieved?

One important question— how brain activities are related to conscious and unconscious mental function—is, in principle, amenable to descriptive and experimental investigation. We start with the stubborn fact that a conscious subjective ex- perience is directly accessible only to the individual who has the experience. Consequently, the only valid evidence for an exter- nal observer must come from an introspective report of the ex- perience by the subject.

But, until recently, very few, including neuroscientists, have attempted direct experimental studies of how cerebral nerve cell activities are involved in the production or appearance of conscious, subjective experiences. Studies that require data from introspective reports of subjec- tive experiences have tended to be taboo in the academic com- munity.

Introspective reports are only indirectly related to the actual subjective experi- ences; that is, they are reports of something not directly observ- able by the investigator and are untrustworthy observations. To be sure, the conversion and transmission of an experience into a report may involve some distortion. However, it is possi- ble to limit the kinds of experiences being studied to very simple ones that do not have emotional content.

These experiences can even be tested for reliability. In our own investigations we used very simple sensory experiences that had no emotional aspects that might lead to distortion. I should add that an introspective report need not be made by a verbal, oral statement. A nonverbal report, like tapping an appropriate key to indicate whether a sensation had been sub- jectively felt, can be quite acceptable, providing the subject un- derstands that this indicator in fact refers to a subjective, intro- spective experience.

I may add here that when I was an undergraduate, I realized that verbal expressions are not completely adequate representa- tions of reality. They are only approximations, limited by the meanings attributable to the words. I decided, therefore, to try to think about reality in a nonverbal way—that is, to try to grasp the real situation in a fully integrated and intuitive way. Cognitive scientists wanted to deal with questions about what people knew and felt, and how that was related to reality.

To do so, they had to have people tell them about their subjective experiences. I should note that there are still traditional behaviorists among psychologists, and that a large group of philosophers adhere to a movement related to behaviorism called functionalism.

Starting in the late s, I did not wait for cognitive science to support my use of introspective reports in our studies. I ap- proached this issue as a physiologist, with no stake in behavior- ism or functionalism. My attitude was, from the start, that con- scious experience could be studied and treated like any other observable function of the brain.

This evidence should not be altered or distorted so as to be made to conform to a preconceived view or theory about the nature of consciousness. Unless they can be convincingly affected or con- tradicted by other evidence, properly obtained introspective re- ports of conscious experience should be looked on like other kinds of objective evidence. I was, in fact surprised when I found that a controlling body of opinion among behavioral scientists did not agree with my view.

Indeed, a visiting group of such individuals, representing a study section of the National Institutes of Health, told me I was not studying a suitable topic. They denied my application for a grant. Pope Paul took us seriously enough to hold a formal audience with us.

When the Pope came down to greet us, the Catholic scientists knelt and kissed his ring, and the rest of us shook his hand. I still have the thick red leather nameplate with gold lettering from that meeting. Since then, I have been a par- ticipant and speaker in a number of additional interesting sym- posia on consciousness.

There was, in fact, another one in the Vatican in , again organized by Sir John Eccles. Besides neurophysiologists, leading philosophers such as the late Sir Karl Popper, Thomas Nagel, and the late Stephen Pepper also agree with my views concerning how to study conscious subjective experience.

I realized that the essential feature of introspective reports of conscious experi- ences is awareness, or being aware of something. What one is aware of encompasses a great variety of experiential contents, including awareness of the external world and of our internal bodily world via sensory inputs , of our feelings anger, joy, de- pression , of our thoughts and imaginations, and of our self.

Many, if not most, philosophers have spoken of different kinds and levels of conscious experience. Commonly, self-aware- ness is regarded as a special case and one that may be limited to human beings and possibly chimpanzees. We cannot be sure that the experiential contents even of similar events are identical in other people. For example, what I see as yellow might not be identical to what you see as yellow, even though we have learned to give that kind of experience the same name. I suggest, therefore, that there is no need to invent different kinds or categories of consciousness or of conscious experiences to deal with all the kinds of experiences.

The common feature in all cases is awareness. The differences lie in the different con- tents of awareness. Sensory experiences of pain, color, harmonies, and odors have been called qualia by philosophers. But I see no reason for setting up these qualia as a problem that is fundamentally different from other awarenesses.

Awarenesses of all kinds are equally unexplainable by materialist theories. To be in a conscious state is, of course, a prerequisite for the appearance of conscious subjective experiences, except in the case of dreams.

In dreaming, we have conscious experiences during the sleep state. However, the state of being awake and conscious, and the phase of sleep during which dreams appear, both require a diffuse activation of the ce- rebral cortex by structures in the brain stem and in the thalamus the structure at the base of the forebrain, below the cerebral hemisphere.

This function in the brain is a necessary back- ground condition for the production of conscious experiences. My attitude has always been the same: never mind the specula- tive untested theories. I suppose this attitude stems from my background in experimental neurophysiology. Much can be done with animals at a behavioral level for work on memory and learning, representa- tion of visual processes spatial, colors , and so on.

But all of such functions can be performed without conscious awareness, as they can be even in human subjects. This design involved monkeys with lesions of the primary visual cortex. The same lesions in humans result in a loss of conscious vision, or blindness.

For our experimental approach to the question of how to study the relationship between the brain and conscious subjec- tive experience, I set out two epistemological principles that I believe must be followed: the introspective report as the opera- tional criterion and no a priori rules for mind-brain relationship. Introspective report as the operational criterion.

I have already discussed the case for introspective reports. Here is an important corollary of this principle: Any behavioral evidence that does not require a convincing introspective report cannot be assumed to be an indicator of conscious subjective experience.

This is so regardless of the purposeful nature of the action or of the complexity of cognitive and abstract problem-solving processes; both can and often do proceed unconsciously without awareness by the subject.

One must even be careful to distinguish between the ability to detect a signal and the awareness of the signal. Behavioral actions are the observable muscle actions and au- tonomic changes in heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, and so on. Purely behavioral actions that are not reporting an intro- spective experience cannot provide valid evidence of a conscious subjective experience.

A behavioral act made without this condition may, in fact, be per- formed unconsciously. No a priori rules for mind-brain relationship. The answer is no. If you were to look into the active brain and observe the multifarious activities of nerve cells in the various structures, you would see nothing that looks like a men- tal or conscious phenomenon. This point was already made by the great seventeenth-century philosopher and mathematician Leibniz, among others. Laplace proposed that if he could know all the positions and states of energy or motion of all the molecules in the universe, he could predict all future events.

He argued that knowledge of all such molecular features in the brain would enable him to specify and predict what was going on mentally. First, this proposition is not testable in practice. Not only can we not hope to specify the data for the astronomically large number of molecules in the brain, but modern physics tells us that it is impossible, in principle, to measure the position and motion simultaneously for any particle.

It is curious that a substantial group of philosophers, the functionalists, still hold a behavior- istic, Laplacean-like view. The two are certainly interrelated, but the rela- tionship between them can be discovered only by simultaneous observations of the two separate phenomena. The relationship cannot be predicted a priori. Neither phenomenon is reducible to or describable by the other.

Instead, he reports feeling something in a part of his body, like the hand, even though nothing actually occurred in the hand. An external observer would have no way of describing this sub- jective experience without asking the subject for an introspective report about it.

But we have just seen how that reductionist view would not work. The cortex was exposed and tested during therapeutic procedures to identify foci of epileptic sei- zures. Patients were awake, with local anesthetics applied to the scalp. Other neurosurgeons also carried out such mapping of responses.

Reports of sensations were obtained by stimulating the primary sensory areas of the cerebral cortex, whether soma- tosensory bodily sensations , visual, or auditory. Clearly, electri- cal stimulation of the primary sensory cortex would be a good place to study the requirements for producing a conscious, re- portable event. Presumably, the production of a reportable conscious response in silent areas may require more complex ac- tivations than are possible at the primary sensory areas of the cortex.

Or, silent areas may not mediate conscious functions. In any case, it is worth emphasizing, from this and other evi- dence, that considerable amounts of neuronal activity can occur without eliciting any conscious experience. Similarly, another eminent neurosurgeon, Joseph Bogen , recently proposed that the conscious function resides in the intralaminar nucleus of the thalamus, a component of the centrencephalic system. There are indeed many other functions that are necessary for the possible produc- tion of conscious experience.

For example, if the heart stops beating, a person loses all conscious functions within a few sec- onds. A variety of studies have given us important information about where in the brain there are nerve cell activities associ- ated with conscious or behavioral events. These fall into two groups: neuropsychological studies and techniques for measur- ing changes in brain nerve cell activities.

Gage survived, but his personality changed dramatically. His case highlights the importance of the frontal lobes of the brain in functions of self-control, plan- ning, and so on. Much more has since been discovered about functions of the frontal lobes. More recently, neuropsychologists have been developing rep- resentations of subtle differences in mental functions about which we had no previous inklings.

As a result, patients are almost completely un- able to grasp spoken words. A variety of techniques can measure local changes in the in- tensity of nerve cell activities in the brain. These techniques are based on the premise that an increase in local neural activity is accompanied by an increase in the energy metabolism of the nerve cells. That increase in metabolism could result in a higher local consumption of oxygen and the release of certain end- products of metabolism into the local spaces around those nerve cells.

Most notably, oxidation of glucose produces carbon diox- ide CO2. CO2 is known to produce a dilation of the small arte- rioles, thereby increasing the circulating blood in that area. In principle, the technique involves measuring and mapping local changes in ra- dioactivity, after an injection of a relatively safe dose of a radio- active compound into the cerebral blood supply.

An increase in the radioactivity at certain calibrated times after the injection indicates an increase in the circulating blood carrying it into that region. Ingvar and his colleagues studied changes in rCBFs not only with sensory inputs and motor activities but also with thought processes. One could also study pathological conditions to look for local or general abnormalities in cerebral circulation, whether in the resting state or in response to relevant stimuli or tasks.

Louis Sokoloff and his team pioneered improved mea- surement of local metabolic changes in the intact brain. That work led directly to the invention of more powerful methods to detect changes in metabolism. As with the Ingvar technique, no surgical penetrations into the brain were required so these methods could be used in human subjects. This method involves injecting weakly radioactive substances that emit positrons, instead of electromagnetic radia- tions. The positrons are detected by a large number of small de- vices arranged on the scalp.

The second method uses magnetic resonance imaging MRI to show quantitative changes in a variety of atoms such as oxy- gen and carbon associated with the neural functions, in a highly localized fashion. Indeed, it is even possible that the areas show- ing increased activity are not the sites of primary importance in the initiation or organization of the functions being tested.

The primary sites could be smaller and show much weaker changes in the measured images. Even when one of these methods becomes capable of very fast resolution of changes in time, as the functional MRIs have become, estimation of the timing of the neural changes is lim- ited by the physiological process being measured.

The MRI method like the PET scan measures a change in local cir- culation of blood or in chemical constituents produced by a metabolic change in the nerve cells. The important relevant changes in activity of the nerve cells can occur in milliseconds; but the metabolic en- ergy changes, initiated by these neural activities, may take sec- onds to produce the changes that are measurable by these tech- niques.

Thus, it is not possible to answer questions such as, Does conscious intention precede or follow the cerebral initiation of a voluntary act? In most syn- apses the incoming terminal can release a special chemical, a neurotransmitter. The area of cell membrane on the receiving side of the synapse contains receptors specialized to respond to the neurotransmitter. The postsynaptic response usually results in a local electrical change, making the external side of the receiving membrane ei- ther more negative with excitatory effects , or more positive with inhibitory effects.

In either case, a difference in electrical potential voltage is thus created between the local postsynaptic portion of cell membrane and the adjacent membrane not sim- ilarly affected of that same cell. Thus, very small voltages, in the microvolt range, can be de- tected even on the scalp. For example, typi- cal changes in brain waves accompany the transitions from the waking state to various states of sleep.

And typical changes that accompany epileptic activity are used to diagnose and locate the site of epileptic foci. Magnetoencephalograms MEGs have also come into use re- cently. However, small electrodes intro- duced intracranially to make direct contact with the cortical sur- face or inserted into deeper subcortical structures can detect electrical changes that are more localized and more meaningful than any scalp recording, whether EEG or MEG. It is possible, and often desirable, to perform some neuro- surgical procedures without general anesthesia in an awake pa- tient.

To accomplish this, a local anesthetic is injected into the scalp and tissues covering the cranial bone. There are no special nerve endings that respond to injury in the brain, such as those that respond to injury elsewhere and that lead to feeling pain when these messages reach certain places in the brain. Pain is very important for informing us of tissue injury, so that we can try to get away from the source of injury.

Presumably, there is no adaptive value for such a warning system in the brain itself. The brain is encased in a protective bony cranium. This was before the days of electrical recordings here. It was not felt at the stimulated area of the brain.

These areas then comprised the primary somatosensory area and primary motor area of the cerebral cortex. They can- vassed virtually the whole cortical surface, in various patients. Indeed the temporal lobe with its subcortical structures—hippocampus and amygdala—is now regarded as an important mediator of memory formation and certain emo- tional feelings, particularly of fear and aggression.

Why then is there no subjective report from the subject? In an ordinary CR, an effective unconditioned stim- ulus US produces a natural response that requires no learning. For example, a mild shock to a paw the US causes the animal to withdraw its paw. If an unrelated conditional stimulus CS is applied in less than 1 sec before the US, the animal learns to withdraw the paw when that CS say an auditory tone is applied alone.

An electrical stimulus to silent cortex can act like a more conventional CS, equivalent to sounding a tone. That is, the ani- mal can learn to withdraw its paw when that cortical stimulus was given alone. Such detection of electrically activated neural responses in the silent cerebral cortex is presumably made unconsciously, if one extrapolates from the absence of any conscious experiences with similar stimulations in human subjects. That is something I wanted to do but was unable to undertake before my retirement.

Our other experimental evidence does show that certain stimuli in the sensory pathway, even when inadequate to produce any con- scious experience, can nevertheless be usefully detected by the human subject Libet et al. The important in- ference is, then, that neural activities inadequate to produce any subjective experience or awareness can nevertheless help to me- diate functions without awareness.

Indeed, much of our brain activities are of that nature. Our Experimental Entry My opportunity to get into such studies came from my col- league and friend Dr. I was associ- ated with him there in work on muscle functions related to locomotion. Bert converted to neurosurgery by spending three years of study in the early s, with the great neurosurgeon in Sweden, Lars Leksell.

He then introduced stereotaxic neurosurgery to San Fran- cisco, actually to the western United States see Feinstein et al. In stereotaxic neurosurgery, a therapeutic electrode or probe is introduced into the brain, so as to reach a designated deeper structure without cutting the brain open to get there. The coordinates for reading the target in the brain are mapped in advance. At that time, the method was mainly used to inactivate certain deep structures, by a heating probe, to relieve tremor in Parkinsonian patients.

The carrier of the shaft to be inserted into the brain was a hemispheric device that could move to any position from front to back. As a result, he could adopt any angle of entry to reach a given target. He could thus choose a track in which the inserted shaft might go through other structures of research interest on the way to the therapeutic target. Bert Feinstein was unusual among neurosurgeons in his desire to use such opportunities to study questions of fundamental in- terest, providing such studies could be done with essentially no added risks to the patient and, of course, with informed con- sent of the patient and the approval of the hospital committee overseeing human experiments.

This question was one that could not be pursued in nonhuman animals, because animals cannot give introspective reports of subjective experience. The pursuit of how brain activities relate to or produce con- scious experience had been a long-range goal of mine. I was fas- cinated by the question of how our conscious subjective experi- ence could arise in the brain.

I did my graduate school research on the electrophysiological activities of the isolated frog brain with the eminent neuroscientist Ralph Gerard, my professor at the University of Chicago. One item I put down was that these waves might be a neural expres- sion for consciousness of the frog! I was lucky to have been associated with him in that research. To facilitate the studies, for both clinical and basic experimen- tal purposes, Feinstein had a new operating room constructed at the Mt.

This room was electri- cally shielded and contained conduits for electrical recording of nerve cell activities in the brain and for delivering electrical stim- uli. The conduits went to an adjacent control room for the elec- trical equipment and operators of that equipment. Our studies during the initial several years, beginning in , were made during neurosurgical procedures in the operating room see Libet et al.

The patients were awake, with only a local anesthetic applied to the scalp and to the periosteal tissue covering the bone of the skull. Each patient had, of course, pre- viously given an informed consent for the essentially risk-free experimental procedure, which included a provision for the pa- tient to terminate the study at any time. Patients were generally remarkably cooperative and consistent in their responses. How- ever, we were limited to about thirty minutes of study in the op- erating room.

We needed a period of relaxed rest afterward, to cool off from the concentrated discipline of the procedure. The study sessions became more relaxed and fruitful when Feinstein altered the therapeutic procedure in the s. He pre- ferred leaving the inserts in the brain for some days or a week, to allow the therapeutic lesions to be made in stages with the patient in a more normal, ambulatory state.

That procedural change permitted us to study the patients more fully and at a more leisurely pace outside the operating room. We were then able to study these pa- tients at length, even during return visits to Dr. Feinstein died prematurely in I lost a dear friend and the world lost a pioneer in experimental neurosurgery.

His death also changed the direction of my research. I turned to a study of how conscious will is related to brain functions. That study could be carried out with normal subjects. See Chap. Of course, even with the cooperation of a neurosurgeon like Feinstein and of suitable subjects, the number of available sub- jects for complete studies was severely limited.

But the logic of even single-case studies can be argued, as discussed by John C. I also allude to other studies as they impinge directly on the implications of our dis- coveries. In contrast to most other books about consciousness, you are about to be exposed to direct experimental evidence and to testable theories on this issue, rather than to speculative and mostly nontested constructions.

We are talking here about actual awareness of a signal, which must be clearly distinguished from the detection of a signal. For example, human and nonhuman beings can discriminate be- tween two different frequencies of tactile vibration, even though the intervals between two pulses in each vibration frequency are only a few milliseconds msec in length.

A leading neuroscien- tist criticized our discovery of an interval of up to msec be- fore a conscious experience appeared, on just these grounds. My reply was that the ability to detect differences in millisecond intervals is undeniable, but when is one aware of that detection? Becoming consciously aware of the difference is what requires the relatively long time. In other words, detection leading to some response can occur unconsciously, without any awareness of the signal.

What about our abilities to react to a sensory stimu- lus within msec or so, a delay much shorter than needed for awareness? For example, is a competitive runner aware of the sound of the starting gun when she takes off in a race within much less than 0. Do unconscious mental functions have a different time requirement than conscious mental functions? To be convinced of this unexpected and counterintuitive delay in awareness, you need to see the evidence. The following sec- tions outline the kinds of observations we made and how these led to the surprising discovery of a delay in awareness.

Initial Evidence from Cerebral Stimulation In or so, my collaborator and friend, neurosurgeon Dr. Bertram Feinstein, invited me to design and carry out experi- ments that could be done while he performed surgical treat- ments on the brain, and to do so in a way that introduced no new risks and was acceptable to the patient. I jumped at this wonderful opportunity to investigate what the brain must do in order to produce a conscious experience.

How could we be- gin the experimental approach to the issue of brain processes for conscious experience? At the start, we had available electrode contacts sitting on the surface of the primary somatosensory cortex Fig. This is the area of cerebral cortex that receives the direct sensory input from all areas of the body and skin. It was also known that elec- trical stimulation applied to the surface of this area could, in a subject who was awake, elicit a conscious sensation of localized tingling or other responses.

The initial experimental ques- tion became: What kinds of activations of neurons in this sen- sory area are critical to production of just threshold conscious sensation, that is, the weakest reportable conscious sensation? The relevant neuronal activations could be evaluated from the effective electrical stimulations, and from the recordable electri- cal changes produced by the nerve cells. It was already known that a sensory input from the skin can result in messages that ascend to the brain in several different spinal cord pathways.

Maps of human cerebral cortex. Lateral view of left hemisphere. Primary receiving area for auditory input is at the upper margin of the temporal lobe. Primary visual area is at the rear posterior tip of the oc- cipital lobe. Medial side of the left hemisphere. The frontal region is to the right here, turned o from that in Fig. Electrical stimulation of the SMA can produce general bodily movements or vocalizations. The SMA appears to be involved in the prep- aration and initiation of a voluntary act see Chapter 4.

It has been cut through here in order to separate the two hemispheres for this medial view. For both MI and SI, the opposite side of the body is represented the right side for this left hemisphere. Also, the body is represented upside down. That is, the head and face are at the bottom, and the legs and feet at the top of each area. Reprinted with permission from The Gale Group.

In fact, we would not have been able to discover the cere- bral delay for awareness if we had been limited to peripheral sensory input, from the skin in this case. Another important experimental strategy was to focus on studying changes at the level for producing a just threshold sen- sory experience. That is, we looked for the differences in the brain activities between two conditions: 1 when the stimulus in- put was still too low to produce any sensory awareness, and 2 when the input was raised to a level that just begins to elicit the weakest reportable subjective sensation.

First, it was clear that a normally function- ing brain is necessary before any special neuronal activities will lead to a subjective sensation. With our approach, we avoided having to deal with the enormously complex necessary back- ground of brain activity.

Instead, we focused on the cerebral events critical to the appearance of awareness, starting from that general necessary background. Second, study of the changeover from no-awareness to the awareness of a sensory stimulus could give potential insights into what cerebral activities may mediate unconscious or nonconscious mental functions.

This later devel- oped into an experimental study of the different requirements for unconscious versus conscious mental functions. See Libet et al. The stimulus consisted of brief pulses of current each about 0. A time factor turned out to be the most interesting requirement for eliciting a conscious sensation. That requirement was surprisingly long for a neural function. How was this measured? With a long 5-sec train of those pulses, the intensity strength of current in each pulse had to be raised to some minimum liminal level in order to produce the weakest conscious sensation see Fig.

When this liminal intensity train of pulses was shortened below 5 sec, the duration of the conscious sensation, as reported by the subject, was also shortened. But the perceived strength of the sensation was not changed. Finally, when the liminal stimulus train was shortened to below 0. Short trains less than 0.

How does raising the stimulus intensity make it possible for trains of pulses shorter than 0. In this connection, a higher frequency of stimulus pulses—for example, changing from 30 pulses per second pps to 60 pps—resulted in a lowering of the liminal intensity.

But there was no change in the minimum train duration of 0. That indicates that the minimum requirement of a 0. Duration of stimulus train of pulses, relative to production of conscious somatic sensation. Diagram of a train of 0. From Libet, Second line plots the amplitudes of the direct cortical responses DCRs recordable with each pulse. Third line indicates that no reportable conscious sensation is elicited un- til the initial 0.

The weak sensation be- gun after the 0. This is in contrast to stimulation of the mo- tor cortex, MI; a motor response starts well before a 0. Stimulus train durations at intensities required for a threshold sensa- tion to appear. Diagram projected from data for many subjects.

Note there is a minimum train duration of around 0. The sin- gle pulse usually elicited a motor twitch in the related body part like the hand or forearm. However, these responses in- cluded a slight twitch in a muscle of the hand or arm. So, at these high intensities there was an observable motor response.

What the patients reported was then clearly related to this mus- cular twitch, which generated an actual peripheral sensory mes- sage from receptors in or around the muscle. The motor response to a strong stimulus to the somato- sensory cortex is different from the one we obtained by directly stimulating the primary motor cortex located in front of the sensory area.

A few strong pulses to the sensory cortex pro- duced repetitive slight twitches. The same stimuli delivered to the primary motor cortex produced a smooth contraction not twitches , and this contraction could rapidly rise in strength and eventually into a seizure with continued repetition of pulses.

Clearly, the motor responses with stimulation of sensory cortex were not due to electrical spread to the adjacent motor cortex. We were able to settle the question of whether a strong single stimulus pulse could elicit a conscious sensation when we had an electrode contact located in the ascending sensory pathway below the cerebral cortex.

A strong localized pulse here did not elicit any motor response, and a 0. In other words, some substantial du- ration of repetitive pulses is necessary to produce a conscious sensation; a single pulse is completely ineffective for that, no matter how strong when no muscle twitch is produced. But our quantitative study established the minimum duration of repeti- tive liminal intensity pulses at the surprisingly large value of about 0.

A recent quantitative study of this requirement by Meador and his associates Ray et al. The cortex of such patients can be more excitable than in nor- mal subjects and in the patients we studied. Is this 0. The answer was no. They terminate on groups nuclei of nerve cells in the lowermost portion of the brain, the medulla oblongata. The crossover is what accounts for the representation of sensations in the side of the cerebral hemisphere opposite to the peripheral origin of the sensory stimulus.

Thus, a stroke that damages the pathway in the left side of the brain results in loss of sensations on the right side of the body. The evolutionary value of this crossover is not clear. They end on cells in the medulla, the lowest part of the brain. The thalamus forms the base of the cerebral hemispheres and has other crucial functions. From Chusid and McDonald, With permission from the McGraw-Hill Companies. The body is represented in an upside-down way, with the legs and feet in the part of the gyrus near the top of the head, and the face and head at its lowest end.

So the representation is both crossed over and upside down! We had some cases in which electrode contacts were located in the thalamic parts of this system and in the medial lemniscus leading into the thalamus. These occurred when the electrodes were placed in these structures for therapeutic purposes. To pro- duce a conscious sensation with electrical stimulations in either of these locations, we found time requirements were the same as they were for the sensory cortex.

That is, the train of pulses at the minimally effective intensity had to persist for about 0. So, activations in this normal pathway to the cerebral cortex also exhibited the same requirement of a surprisingly long duration of repetitive inputs to elicit a sensory awareness. So, what goes on here? Is our proposal for a substan- tial delay in awareness not relevant for normal inputs from the skin? To look at this question, we had to distinguish between the requirement for a peripheral skin input and that for the cere- bral processes to which this skin input gives rise.

We therefore looked for ways to test whether this statement is true: Is there a 0. This statement seems to be counter to the evidence cited in the previous section. In that study we found that up to about 0. If that applies to the skin stimulus, a single effective stimulus pulse may have to pro- duce a lengthy 0.

So, the next question was: Does the single skin pulse lead to cerebral activations that must persist for about 0. That is, is there also an ac- tual delay for sensory awareness when the message is initiated as a single weak pulse applied to normal sources at the skin? This question could only be answered by our distinguishing be- tween the input that is effective at the periphery skin and the activations set up by this input at the cerebral level, where the lengthy requirement for awareness is in force.

Indeed, we could not have discovered the time factor for awareness if we had been restricted to studying peripheral skin input, rather than di- rect intracranial input. It had already been demonstrated that each such single pulse gives rise to a sequence of cortical electrical changes, called the evoked potentials EPs or the event-related-potentials ERPs. These ERPs have been shown to represent nerve cell re- sponses in the cortex.

The primary EP begins after a delay of only some tens of milliseconds after the skin pulse. With a shorter path, say from the hand, it starts after 14—20 msec, while a longer path from the foot may take about 40—50 msec. The size or am- plitude of the primary EP is related to the strength of the input from the skin. We found that it was not necessary because we could elicit a conscious sen- sation with a weak stimulus applied to the surface of the sen- sory cortex.

This cortical stimulus does not produce any evoked electrical response equivalent to the primary EP; the latter is produced only by input arriving at the cortex from below, via the sensory pathway. Electrical responses event-related-potentials, ERP of the cere- bral cortex to single stimulus pulses at the skin, averaged from stimu- lus presentations at 1 per sec. With just threshold strength stimuli T to the hand, virtually all the components of the ERP are already visible.

At T strength not all of the stimuli were felt by the subject. The initial uptick records the time of the stimulus pulse. That is followed by later slower components, more pronounced with stimuli at twice thresh- old strength 2T. But note that stimulus with subthreshold strength subT , at 75 percent of T elicits only the primary EP but no later components.

Each whole tracing is msec long in A1 and B1, and msec long in A2 and B2. From Libet et al. Reprinted with permission from the American As- sociation for the Advancement of Science. This is true even when the pulse is relatively strong and the primary EP response it evokes is large Libet et al. An inability of single responses from the primary sensory pathways to elicit a conscious sensation had also been observed by Jasper and Bertrand Single primary EP responses do not elicit any sensation.

A train of stimulus pulses to the ascending sensory pathway in the thalamus the VPL nucleus does elicit a sensation, just as a train 0. But single pulses to VPL, even at six times the liminal threshold intensity, which is effective with a 0. Yet these single VPL stim- uli elicit no sensation, while these single S stimuli do elicit a moderately strong sensation. Note the delay after the stimulus artifact for the primary EP is much shorter for the single VPL stimuli than for the S stimuli.

Because the early primary response of the cortex to a skin pulse does not elicit a sensory awareness, some later response components must be required to achieve the awareness. When a person is under general anesthesia, the later ERP components disappear, while the primary EP may even be enlarged; but of course the patient does not feel any sensation. Similarly, if the strength of the single skin pulse is lowered to a level at which an awake, normal subject reports feeling nothing, the late ERP compo- nents are suddenly absent, but a distinct primary EP response can still be recorded at the sensory cortex Libet at al.

It follows then, that the later responses of the cerebral cortex, produced after a single pulse to the skin, appear to be necessary for producing a conscious sensation. These late responses do go on for more than 0. However, the actual minimum duration of these later evoked components that are required for conscious sensation has not been estab- lished.

Retroactive, Backward Effects of a Delayed Second Stimulus The second line of evidence is based on retroactive, backward effects of a delayed second stimulus, one that follows the initial testing one. Retroactive or backward masking between two pe- ripheral sensory stimuli has long been known. Retroactive masking has also been reported for electrical stim- ulation of the skin Halliday and Mingay, With a test stim- ulus at threshold strength on one forearm, a suprathreshold con- ditioning stimulus on the other forearm raised the threshold for the test stimulus.

The conditioning stimulus was effective even when it followed the test stimulus by msec, but not when it followed by msec. This retroactive masking at the msec interval must be mediated in the central nervous system because the test and conditioning stimuli were delivered via different sen- sory pathways. What has this backward masking to do with our postulated delay in sensory awareness?

If appropriate neural activations must go on in the brain for up to 0. We wanted to establish that such masking takes place in the responding struc- tures at the level of the brain, rather than in a peripheral sensory structure. We also wanted to see whether the time interval be- tween the two stimuli, to produce the retroactive effect, could be increased to something closer to our 0.

To achieve these goals, we applied the delayed conditioning stimulus directly to the somatosensory cortex see Fig. The delayed cortical stimulus was applied with a large 1-cm disk elec- trode. It was relatively strong and produced a sensation that was felt in a skin area overlapping the area of sensation produced by the skin pulse. Retroactive effects of a delayed cortical stimulus that follows a single pulse stimulus to the skin. Retroactive masking of skin sensation.

A brief train of electrical pulses is delivered to the primary somatosensory cortex SI , beginning msec or more after the weak stimulus pulse at threshold—T—strength to the skin. Retroactive enhancement of the subjective sensation, elicited by sin- gle pulse stimuli to the skin.

The cortical stimulus electrode is a 1-mm con- tact by a wire. Top line: Two identical single pulse stimuli to the skin S1 and S2 are separated by 5 sec. Lower line: A train of stimulus pulses to S-1 cerebral cortex is begun at variable times following S2. After each trial, the subject reports whether S2 felt the same as, weaker than, or stronger than S1. Reprinted with permission from Elsevier. In- cidentally, the delayed cortical stimulus consisted of a train of pulses.

Cortical trains lasting less than msec, or single pulses, were not effective for this retroactive inhibition. We also made a surprising discovery that a delayed stimulus could retroactively enhance, or intensify, the initial skin sensa- tion, instead of masking it. This occurred when we used a much smaller electrode contact on the sensory cortex to produce the delayed stimulus. For this experiment, the initial weak skin pulse was delivered twice, the two equal pulses separated by a 5-sec in- terval see Fig.

The cortical stimulus was delayed by intervals between 50 msec and 1, msec following the sec- ond, S2, skin pulse. The subjects reported that S2 felt stronger then S1, in most trials, when the cortical stimulus began, even up to msec or more after S2. It became perceptible when the suprathreshold conditioning stimulus followed the test stimulus by 20 to msec.

That argument was in part based on the fact that a generalized strong electrical stimulus to a large area of the brain as in electroshock therapy destroys some re- cent memories. But in such electroconvulsive shock therapy, ap- plied therapeutically to patients with intractable depression, a large portion of the brain is excited strongly, thereby producing a seizure.

For our retroactive effects, the delayed stimulus to the sensory cortex was both localized to a small area and set at far below the strength required to elicit even a local seizure in the cortex. The argument for a memory disruption in backward masking is therefore very weak.

But, with retroactive enhance- ment, there is no memory loss at all. Efforts to Deliberately Slow Responses The third line of evidence appeared fortuitously in unrelated ex- periments by Arthur Jensen , a professor of psychology at the University of California—Berkeley campus. Jensen was mea- suring the reaction times RT of different groups of subjects. In these routine tests, subjects were asked to press a button as quickly as possible after the appearance of an agreed-upon sig- nal.

He therefore had all the subjects repeat their RTs, but asked them to deliberately lengthen their previous RT by msec or so. To his surprise, he found that none of the subjects could do that. Instead, they produced RTs of — msec, much longer than the requested smaller increases.

Awareness of the stimulus is proba- bly not required at the moment when the subject reacts in the usual RT test, in which deliberating about the responses is not an issue. Indeed, there is direct evidence that ordinary RTs are accomplished before or with no awareness of the stimulus. But, to achieve awareness before a deliberate slowing of the re- sponse, a requirement of about msec of activities to produce awareness would delay the response by that additional time.

That would explain the discontinuous jump in RT by an addi- tional — msec when deliberate slowing of the response is attempted. How Does the 0. Is there a unique feature in the brain process that explains why a 0. Are there testable options for such as event?

There are several possibilities. First, this time requirement is unique for awareness itself. Furthermore, simply to add aware- ness of the stimulus to that correct detection, we had to increase the duration of repetitive activations of sensory cortex by about 0.

Clearly, awareness itself is a mental phenomenon sepa- rate from the content of a mental event. Content of an event can be detected by the brain unconsciously, without awareness of it. It would then be the dis- charge of impulses in such special nerve cells that lead to the ap- pearance of awareness. There is some evidence related to this opinion. Stimuli to the sensory cortex, or to the ascending sensory pathway in the brain, produce no sensory awareness at all if the intensity of the stimulus pulses remains below a liminal abso- lute threshold level.

This level is that required to produce the weakest sensation. This is true even if the subliminal pulses are repeated for 5 sec or longer. These subliminal pulses do elicit electrical responses of the cortex similar to, but smaller than, those for the effective liminal intensity stimuli.

On the other hand, it is possible that the subliminal intensity is not strong enough to ever excite some crucial nerve cell elements, whose repetitive activation leads to the adequate excitatory state in the key neurons for awareness. With a stimulus in the ascending sensory pathway medial lemniscus , a single stimulus pulse can be made forty times as strong as each of the pulses in a 0.

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Antonio damasio self comes to mind torrent Previous page. Subject reported not feeling any of these single pulses. First, such a proposal does not invoke or constitute an instance of dualism, in a Cartesian sense. This book is strik- ingly different from most of the others in one key respect: It fo- cuses on empirical discoveries, not speculation or argument. I must doubt your existence. And it wants to understand this thing or this process whereby it has awareness, which seems to be so essential more info life. But when the thing in itself is the object of absolute knowledge, then this knowledge can no longer be that which stands over against us, that which by itself no longer stands over against absolute knowledge as alien or other.
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Ingot ma au torrentz Also, the body is represented upside down. It defines itself as belonging to a self, which knows itself as itself. That is something I wanted to do but was unable to undertake before my retirement. Hegel explains that we negate the particular because we are conscious of its membership in the universal. Yet we know and understand little of how it arises and how it functions in our conscious will to act.
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Udp vs tcp torrenting website We have a kind of innate sense of right and wrong. Today's Top Books Want to know what people are actually reading right now? How was this measured? And I want to share with you some of the statements of those who have thought seriously and differently about this question, such as the famous sceptics Sextus Empiricus 2nd Century and David Hume 18th Century. This was the be- ginning of what Sri Aurobindo called the subjective age, and conscious- ness was beginning to reflect upon itself, but it was naturally sceptical about its ability to know the truth of things, and about its understanding of itself. Need an account?
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This is the mind in it's regulatory role because it can delay or inhibit automatic or near automatic interactions with the enviroment. In this way, this regulation gets incorporated into the nonconscious so that there's a "gradual imposition of consciously willed decisions on nonconscious action processes. The neuro mapping concept is interesting. Demasio describes how events in the world are pulled into the body and transformed into chemical changes related to homeostatic balance.

He says that an object we interact with is literally incoporated into our body. Demasio's description about how this process occurs is not easy to follow. While we have a sense about how grief impacts the full body, it's still not clear, for example,what's involved. Demasio's three concepts of self proto, core, autobiographical are known by those who have read his other books, but questions can be raised about whether there is a fundamental distinction between protoself and core self.

Demasio has the core self involving the object reacting to whereas the proto self does not. The protoself is involved in the elementary maintenance functions of the organism and the protofeelings that eminate from these functions. This seems to separate the organism too much from its environment. As organisms must draw energy from that environment to live and to react to adverse influences from the environment, the protoself would seem to double as the core self.

Even Demasio sees the seeking of pleasure and the reaction to pain and thus, active interaction occuring at the lowest life levels. If the lines between proto- and core self are less than distinct, the self might preferably be seen in humans as a core, or biological self, on the one hand and as an autobiographical self on the other. It's that latter self that we think of in terms of the conscious self. It extends the biological self but it also informs, supplements and molds the core, biological self, through learning and experience see comments in paragraph above.

This protoself discussion the self's isolation from the environment raises a broader issue. Appropriately, he notes that "The criteria used for the traditional classifications are flawed He sees emotions as reactions of the individual to "an emotionally competent stimulus" and refers as examples to the "so-called universal emotions fear, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust, and surprise Why is an object "emotionally competent"?

In the way that Demasio discusses this question, it's almost as though the self is a passive responder to outside objects that come within its view. That perspective neglects to describe why the self should care enough in the first place to be afraid, to be angry, to be sad, etc. This problem can be addressed when the self and the organism is seen as interactive with the environment, from the beginning. That relationship is dialectical and involves a constant circuit of energy between the self and the environment.

As "thesis," the self is an actor in the environment and not merely a reactor, as Demasio's discussion of emotions suggest. Here and there throughout this book, Demasio uses language that more or less acknowledges that the self and organism is filled with primordial biological needs that push the self into the world as seekers and as defenders against threats from that world.

In seeking, we obtain pleasure; in defending, we avert or minimize pain. In looking at the self in this way, can our understanding of emotions be recalibrated in terms of internal needs that involve active seeking of an object as well as reacting to an object?

Just as we seek food and sex, do we also not seek out "objects" to love? Don't we desire objects that produce well-being, or seek objects that we are curious about? Don't we seek objects that protect us authority figures, the group?

Don't all of these involve "emotion," in the sense of movement toward or away from an object? Even with the reactive emotions, we react because we first "want. Seeking and defending involve activation of energy.

Might such activation involve "emotion" moving of some sort that generates the feelings that the self experiences and that Demasio notes? As in his other books, Damasio's writing style is mixed. Much of it is clear for the general reader; other parts are more technical and less accessible. Damasio is good because he so clearly ties the mind to the body. Overall, his books are excellent and thought provoking. View 2 comments. Jan 13, Donald Plugge rated it really liked it Shelves: the-mind , reference , science.

Antonio Damasio is one of my favorite neurologist. Do many people have a favorite neurologist, perhaps that is weird in itself? Indeed, Damasio may even be considered a philosopher, of course, aren't we all. He frequently references the his favorite philosopher, Williams James and Baruch Spinoza. Damasio explores his personal thoughts on how we have become conscious creatures in this living world of ours. He starts us out on a journey into the simple cell and relates each stage of development to Antonio Damasio is one of my favorite neurologist.

He starts us out on a journey into the simple cell and relates each stage of development to its importance in the humans we have become. At times he uses fables to help explain his ideas. To survive a cell needs to sense, respond and move. The brain allows the organism to enhance and optimize these functions and maintain homeostasis. An important step in becoming conscious is the idea of becoming a "Witness".

The human is a "Witness" to his own body and mind by mapping the body and surroundings. We become conscious by experiencing these mappings as imagines. How did the brain come about? How did consciousness come about? I can think of no better book to start you out on this path of discovery. View 1 comment. Mar 30, Jef Sneider rated it it was amazing Shelves: science. After reading this book for the second time, I am more impressed than ever that the author has described the working of the human brain better than anything I have ever read.

As a neurologist familiar with what is known today about the anatomy and myriad connections of the brain, the author adds a theoretical framework, based on evolution and biology, that ties it all together. While I am sure that further refinement is to be made, this book and its theory of brain, mind and self is destined to After reading this book for the second time, I am more impressed than ever that the author has described the working of the human brain better than anything I have ever read.

While I am sure that further refinement is to be made, this book and its theory of brain, mind and self is destined to be a classic, along with Plum and Posner and Julian Jaynes to whom he gives a nod. As a physician I study the body and the mind and the connection between the two in every patient I talk to about their perceptions of their own condition. As a person who meditates in the Buddhist tradition, I try to apply the same study to the self, as it has been said: To study the Buddha Dharma is to study the self.

Damasio has given me an ability to understand brain, mind and self in a very new way. I don't think I can hope to explain it to the readers of this blog in a few paragraphs, and the neuroanatomy underpinning of the author's theories is significant and detailed. It is a daunting thing to consider. I do think, however, that even without understanding the neuroanatomy, a reader can grasp the theory.

It starts with the observation that even a paramecium, when observed in a drop of water, seems to possess a purpose. It moves away from that which would hurt it and towards sources of sustenance and comfort. The apparent "desire" to achieve a comfortable environment for life exists in that one celled animal and in every living thing and in every living cell in our bodies. As animals become more complex, the ability to detect and move from danger to rewards becomes more complex, but the goal is the same.

Mammals' bodies are designed to function without any conscious being in charge. They are able, for instance to maintain a complex internal environment of fluids and electrolytes, hormones, organs and nervous system without any conscious management.

The body works, using parts of the brain for measurement of the internal milieu and instructions for maintenance below the level of consciousness. In fact, for some of us, the more we try to help and manage the internal environment without "listening" to the subconscious signals, the worse it gets. Think of eating too much, not drinking enough fluids or not emptying bowel or bladder when it should be done.

So, a large part of the brain, mainly in the brainstem, the part below the cerebrum, works to communicate with the body and do what is necessary to keep it going. That includes directions to seek the right temperature in the environment, find sustenance, avoid danger, find a mate and reproduce. And we think we are so smart. Mostly all we do consciously is to mess up the biological plan. As the human brain developed with its huge cerebrum and trillions of neurons and connections additional capabilities developed including language and the ability to map the environment internally and save those maps for later retrieval and review.

Maps of the world can be used to understand the environment in more detail and to predict the future and plan ahead. Part of the mapping process includes maps of the internal environment, the maintenance of which is one of the most important functions of the organism. This self reflective aspect of internal mapping begins to create a perciever, a participant, a consciousness which can be aware of the existence of the organism in the environment.

The awareness of self and the recognition that other selves exist with similar internal and external maps in the same world leads to the ability to work together, to create a higher level of organization and culture. I shouldn't even try to explain this, but you should try to read the book if you are interested in a better understanding of how the brain works to create a mind aware of its self. Jul 30, Jrobertus rated it it was ok. I was disappointed in this book. Damasio is a brilliant cognitive scientist, and I think his other books have been wonderful.

This one is repetitive and lacked scientific depth. Damasio has championed the role of emotion in cognition and consciousness. He has feelings as a perception of neuronal monitoring of body states and developed its vital role as an evolutionary advance. Feelings therefore are analogous to vision as a perception of light and hearing as a perception of vibration.

In this bo I was disappointed in this book. In this book he promised to take an evolutionary stance to map the development of levels of consciousness, but none was forthcoming. I expected to see a clear picture of brain development across species and how this correlated with the behavior of mind and consciousness. May 30, Nick rated it it was amazing.

Damasio addresses the age-old philosophical question of where the self resides, and where it comes from. Do we have something called a "soul" that is immaterial, and different from our physical beings? If not, where does the sense of self come from, and how does it differ from that of a sea slug, or a squirrel? Damasio spends a good deal of time very carefully building his "brief," like a lawyer, that if you put enough mental functions together, the vast majority of which we share with the rest Damasio addresses the age-old philosophical question of where the self resides, and where it comes from.

Damasio spends a good deal of time very carefully building his "brief," like a lawyer, that if you put enough mental functions together, the vast majority of which we share with the rest of the animals, you get a sense of self -- self coming to mind, in fact. If in the end you're not entirely persuaded, it's because you're remembering other evidence from other books, or experiences. Damasio's case is compelling, lucid, and shrewd, but it won't satisfy anyone who thinks he has a soul.

Jan 20, Willem van der Scheun rated it liked it. Mostly a repetition of his previous books, Descartes Error and The Feeling of What Happens, without the anecdotes and with too much neuro-technical details. Damasio's basic claims from his first two books as I understood them there is no rationality without emotions and there is no consciousness without a body to be conscious of are repeated without any real additions. Damasio claims he has shifted the proto-self to a primordial self by adding feelings into the process of becoming a self in an Mostly a repetition of his previous books, Descartes Error and The Feeling of What Happens, without the anecdotes and with too much neuro-technical details.

Damasio claims he has shifted the proto-self to a primordial self by adding feelings into the process of becoming a self in an earlier stage, but this does not merit a whole new book I think. If you want to learn about Damasio's ideas I suggest you read the first two books I mentioned. They are more factual, more explanatory and less philosophically, and thus I think better suited to the author's strengths.

Jan 24, Nazbanou Nozari rated it liked it. Three stars only, not for the lack of ideas or content. On the contrary, the book is beaming with information, but that's probably the downfall of it too. It's way too detailed for a non-cog-neuroscientist, and in parts, way too obvious for a professional in the field. It feels like the book needs an editor. One may argue that the concepts of self and consciousness are complicated concepts, and I would agree, but reading this book does not make it any easier to understand either.

Jun 20, Stephie Williams rated it really liked it. This is the latest book that I have read by Antonio Damasio. The previous two books that I have read focused on feelings and the body. From his research in neurology he has come to the tentative conclusion that these two things figure prominently in the phenomenon of consciousness.

After giving the direction of his research into consciousness and the importance of biological regulation and value in chapters one and two in part one, he goes on to examining different components to consciousness. P This is the latest book that I have read by Antonio Damasio. Part two investigates the roles of maps and images in the brain and the contribution of the body, emotions and feelings, and memory. Part three discusses the different types of self, working up to self-consciousness and what brain components go into producing these states.

Part four explores the contributions consciousness gives to the life of the mind. Damasio also includes an appendix on brain structures and functioning. One thing that surprised me was the way Damasio sees emotions as basic and feelings piggybacking on top of them.

I was under the impression before reading the book that feelings were primary and emotions were secondary as in coming after feelings. I have a number of reflections on some specific pieces of text. Kindle locations are given in brackets []. The reason I feel it supports this is because it indicates that minds came first and only later did language come along to translate our thoughts and communicate them to others.

I take this to lend support to my above notion about language and thought, if he is saying that the brains way of thinking is through images and not language. Whether he would agree with me or not, I am not sure. In effect, language would likely not have evolved in individuals devoid of core consciousness.

Why would they need it? On the contrary, at the highest grades on the scale, autobiographical consciousness relies extensively on language. My point in bringing this up is two. One it fits in with my notion that language is a sense, a sense that senses self-consciousness or conscious thought. And again, I believe it lends support to my notion that we do not think in language. It is not arrived at by reasoned inference or interpretation. To begin with, it is not verbal either.

Mathematician and composers excel at this sort of image-making. As an aside, it is said at least of some composers, such as Bach, that their musical compositions are mathematical. This could be part of the explanation for this. Moreover, he has related it, quite sensibly, to the machinery of the left hemisphere and to the language processes therein. I like his idea very much in fact, there is a distinct ring of truth to it , but I believe it applies fully only to the level of the autobiographical self and not quite to that of the core self.

This along with other research leads me belief this is the case. With the feeling of doing an act, we get a conscious sensation of will attached to the action. Vision is physical with light impinging on our eyes and processed in the brain, and light is composed of photons.

Light seemingly nonphysical is actually physical, so why not mind. Not a knock out drag out argument, but seemingly in support that mind is a physical process. I know I have commented a lot on my idea that we do not think in language. But, the things I kept reading in the book kept reminding of it throughout.

I cannot say that Damasio would be in total agreement with me on this. I think—probably not. This is that consciousness, including human self-consciousness, arises from brain functioning. He fully admits that he has not proven this in a surefire way. Although, these things are important in understanding how the brain works.

I have to say I am more of a materialist and it consequences than him. Seeing how he is primarily a scientist, and I am concerned with philosophy of mind, this is understandable from my perspective. I will also say that I learned many new things by reading this book brain structure, better understanding of emotions and feelings, images and mappings, and more.

If you are interested in the brain, especially consciousness, I would highly recommend this book. I will practically guarantee that you will gain from reading this book. For those that need a bit more on basic brain structure and functioning there is a decent appendix covering these things as I already mention, which may come in handy for those not so conversant on these things.

All theories and findings in science are provisional to some degree or other. However, some things in science are certain to a very high degree, and I think this is what Damasio is ultimately after. Feb 17, Lage von Dissen rated it really liked it. With vigor, Damasio attacks the mind-body problem or more specifically the mind-brain problem of consciousness. His approach consisted of establishing an evolutionary path to our current level of consciousness, which he calls our "autobiographical self", and exploring in some detail which parts of the brain are correlated with the fundamental aspects of consciousness.

Damasio theorizes that the precursor to consciousness would have been a proto-self with primordial feelings resulting from neur With vigor, Damasio attacks the mind-body problem or more specifically the mind-brain problem of consciousness. Damasio theorizes that the precursor to consciousness would have been a proto-self with primordial feelings resulting from neurons being intimately and consistently connected to the body, forming a map of the internal state of the organism and a feedback-loop in order to maintain homeostasis.

This intimate connection between brain and body to maintain homeostatic life regulation processes would have provided a stable foundation with which to build upon for producing consciousness. After these primordial feelings co-evolved with certain types of memory, they would generate pulses of experience specifically of the changes to the internal state of the organism thus forming what Damasio calls the "core self".

Once the organism was aware of the feelings that were associated with internal body state changes, it became possible for this "core self" with its own perspective to emerge. Perhaps most importantly, the "core-self" can be defined by their being a self-known relationship between organism and "object". Damasio also discusses how the evolution of consciousness to an "autobiographical self" eventually led to the emergence of culture and this opened up an entirely new level of life regulation, which Damasio calls "sociocultural homeostasis".

Sociocultural homeostasis is the ability for an entire group, culture or society to sense an imbalance in terms of its needs, and generate a response to try and correct for that imbalance. He notes that the basic biological value of life regulation, the same which applies to bacteria, multi-cellular organisms, etc. In my opinion, it is because of this higher level of sociocultural homeostasis, that the human "extended phenotypic" diversity has been as great as it has.

This is extremely good and very detailed. Its also very esoteric, unless you're into neurobiology and brain science. Damasio is scientific in his approach, but also not afraid to speculate and go out on a limb; in fact he says this book is a restart for him, admitting that some of his previous works may have been preliminary and so now wrong. I am finding one issue with this book is that the starting section Self Comes to Mind - Antonio Damasio Where does consciousness and self awareness come from?

I am finding one issue with this book is that the starting sections use terminology and concepts that cannot be comprehended [like his specific meaning for images and maps] until one gets a little farther along in the book. I ended up using the index to find and read paragraphs later in the book to introduce concepts used near the beginning. You also need to supplement this with a good detailed brain physiology chart.

This book also needs a bibliography, and the appendixed footnotes are rather too light! I found this all very useful for my studies and interests. The insights here would also be good for educators, game designers and authors, for AI researcher and computer scientists involved with computer consciousness topics, and also for those interested in more philosophical and social questions regarding mans existence.

I read this along with Strangers to Ourselves by Timothy Wilson, which overlaps this book somewhat, but more from a psychological angle, and centers on the part of self that is from the nonconscious. The two compliment each other well, with Strangers There is considerable detail here that describe the brain and brain function in animals. Prior to reading this book i was quite sure from personal experience that non-human animals have a true consciousness.

Damasio gives the persuasive scientific evidence supporting this along with his own affirming factual conclusions. Others more interested in social and philosophical aspects of this, will find the final chapter completely approachable and meaningful. A similar book to this is The Tell-tale Brain by V. Ramachandran, which i will be reading soon.

Or go watch his ted talk: www. Feb 07, Maggie rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , science. Sep 26, Sasha rated it really liked it Shelves: grad-school. I appreciated how he worked from the ground up, beginning with the development of a single cell organism and relating its basic properties to its more complex manifestations in the modern human. Damasio also tackles emotions and their effect on memory and identity.

He relates cultural development and creativity with a sort of social homeostasis, a way that our creative impulses correct imbalances in our constant search for well-being, which was an interesting thought. All of these ingredients came together in an intriguing hypothesis about the unique emergence of the self and consciousness, things we know are there but are still trying to explain.

Damasio's multi-layered model of consciousness not only has an intuitive appeal, but also benefits from being empirically testable and the tests that have been done to date seem to support, or at least not contradict, the model. His main conceptual additions in this book are his take on consciousness being a trait that was actively selecte This book is basically the updated edition of The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness , and I found it just as engaging.

His main conceptual additions in this book are his take on consciousness being a trait that was actively selected for as opposed to the often-heard 'accidental side effect' model for consciousness for its influence on fitness, and his idea that typical evolutionary pressures caused human culture to develop as a kind of extended homeostatic regulation system.

The former point is argued well, but that latter one needs some more work to be convincing. Finally, Damasio's writing in this book is a bit more conversational than I remember his past works being, making the work a tad more approachable. Though it might be a weird choice, after reading it three times I think this is my favorite book. I think he's correct, neurologically speaking i. In Stock. Customers who viewed this item also viewed.

Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Antonio Damasio. Anil Seth. 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. All rights reserved.

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Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from the United States. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the science of consciousness. Damasio is more immersed in the complex, distributed nature of the brain than most philosophers and most neuroscientists. He knows the functions of all its parts better than most of them too.

Reading this book may teach you new brain facts in a counterintuitive frame, like reading Jaynes. Buyer beware. Highly recommend. In Self Comes to Mind Antonio Damasio puts forth a hypothesis of how the physical brain produces the self-aware, subjective, experience of consciousness and mind. It is very well written, and is based in what we now know about the human brain, and how it works.

If you concentrate carefully on what is being said it is quite understandable I mention this because parts of the book can be complicated and requires attention. I find what is being presented to be very well thought out and formulated into, what I think, is a strong hypothesis. I believe that it's likely that much of what Damasio says will prove correct.

Very good book. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the subject of how the brain creates a Self who is aware of and knows itself. The Bible!! No one else but Damasio could present such a complete theory of consciousness. Evolutionary brain, primate and human brain, primary consciousness, enhanced consciouness, and self-consciousness. He's one of the best science writers of our times, in ways comparable with Oliver Sachs.

Technical matters flow like everyday discourse to create vivid imagery even for the uninitiated. Riding through the ether of brainy science, he weaves a tale that pushes aside membranes, bones, tissues, cells and other matter to present what is under the skull and what constitutes the self. Anyone interested in the science of the brain and of the conscious self, this read is a must. Confused Metaphysics. I am excited to hear the advances in neuroscience which Damasio is leading, and helping us to understand.

Brain stem foundations of a sense of self? Balancing the major sources of neuroscience knowledge lesion, neuroimaging,neuron activity, magnetic with the fourth correlate of optimal survival at primal levels--one of his many brilliant moves during his career. The same technique should be usable with additional criteria. I loved hearing this neuroscientist give his account of witnessing a Pelican diving into the water: all explained by underlying neuroanatomical processes.

Damasio, as a neuroscientist, has neuroanatomical maps that the rest of us do not see. That makes it very tempting for him to believe that what he "sees" automatically is truth. Damasio has a long history of fighting against the cognitive bent of both neuroscience and philosophy. He has provided cogent research on the foundation of emotions in neuroscience, which is still an uphill battle.

He fought against philosophers who would reduce the human to Cartesian dualism. Congratulations to him for fighting the good fight, against the grain. And yet he finds himself ironically being critiqued for making the cognitive error of mistaking his scientific observations for philosophical truth, the circular reasoning of assuming consciousness to explain consciousness, call it what you will: [ However, you can take the words out of the argument, but you can't take the argument out of the words.

He is arguing for "consciousness" as a construct as a "thing-in-itself" , and for "self" as an agent of consciousness, and as "consciousness" as an increased level of species development. You can tell when he is in the ditch: when he starts claiming that he is not Cartesian, because he is arguing for the existence of consciousness, that "image" is not about a false Cartesian correspondence theory between what we see and what is there, etc.. This false idealism is not only disorienting to critics and us, but also to his ability to simply put his brilliant science out there and let it speak for itself: Just let our sense of self be the product of the consciousness processes outlined.

PS: You can skip the last chapter. His attempts to apply his theory to real life problems seem painfully naive: "cognitive unconscious" regarding ethics yikes? A neurobiological basis for writing just laws for society? Impossible to read. The book is filled anatomical terms that mean nothing to the lay reader.

I'm sure neuroscientist will find it engaging but, again, any lay reader will be at a loss way before the middle of the book. See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries. This book is a serious contribution to understanding the relationship between brain processes and the conscious mind. Does it answer the question posed on the blurb - 'how is consciousness created?

Yes in the sense that Damasio details perhaps in too much detail the mapping and neural feedback processes that are engaged in articulating the mechanisms of the self. But no in that the core question of consciousness remains unanswered and one gets the impression towards the end of the book that Damasio knows it remains unanswered. That is, how is it that a lump of matter knows it exists, and moreover knows that it knows, that is, how is it the brain is not only conscious but also self-conscious?

Damasio proposes a tri-partite model of the self as 'proto', 'core' and 'autobiographical' in ascending degrees of awareness. But while the proto-self, of primordinal feelings, corresponds roughly to the brain stem, none of these levels 'happen' in one region or centre of the brain but are emergent not sure if Damasio actually uses this term but it's what he means and result from the articulated operation of many sites. Also his concepts of the self s are undeveloped and neglect a lot of the literature from social psychology and sociology on the modalities of the self.

In particular he mentions language only in passing but this is crucial to our whole engagement with the world including our own bodies. The autobiographical self is a linguistic self and much more is needed on the relationship between non-linguistic and linguistic processes. Finally given his problem is the self I found it too much focussed on endogenous processes while the self is continually even in dream states interacting with others or imaginary others and is simultaneously a social as well as neural process.

Damascio is struggling with some critical problems but it is still work in progress. A great journey into a difficult subject. The author is honest enough to say that his views are not mainstream in the neuroscience community, but I find his arguments convincing. I believe many mammals have basic consciousness, not in the full language-using sense as humans, and this means that some degree of self-awareness must emerge from more basic brain structures, which is Damasio's thesis.

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He sees emotions as reactions of the individual to "an emotionally competent stimulus" and refers as examples to the "so-called universal emotions fear, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust, and surprise Why is an object "emotionally competent"? In the way that Demasio discusses this question, it's almost as though the self is a passive responder to outside objects that come within its view.

That perspective neglects to describe why the self should care enough in the first place to be afraid, to be angry, to be sad, etc. This problem can be addressed when the self and the organism is seen as interactive with the environment, from the beginning. That relationship is dialectical and involves a constant circuit of energy between the self and the environment. As "thesis," the self is an actor in the environment and not merely a reactor, as Demasio's discussion of emotions suggest.

Here and there throughout this book, Demasio uses language that more or less acknowledges that the self and organism is filled with primordial biological needs that push the self into the world as seekers and as defenders against threats from that world.

In seeking, we obtain pleasure; in defending, we avert or minimize pain. In looking at the self in this way, can our understanding of emotions be recalibrated in terms of internal needs that involve active seeking of an object as well as reacting to an object?

Just as we seek food and sex, do we also not seek out "objects" to love? Don't we desire objects that produce well-being, or seek objects that we are curious about? Don't we seek objects that protect us authority figures, the group?

Don't all of these involve "emotion," in the sense of movement toward or away from an object? Even with the reactive emotions, we react because we first "want. Seeking and defending involve activation of energy. Might such activation involve "emotion" moving of some sort that generates the feelings that the self experiences and that Demasio notes?

As in his other books, Damasio's writing style is mixed. Much of it is clear for the general reader; other parts are more technical and less accessible. Damasio is good because he so clearly ties the mind to the body. Overall, his books are excellent and thought provoking.

View 2 comments. Jan 13, Donald Plugge rated it really liked it Shelves: the-mind , reference , science. Antonio Damasio is one of my favorite neurologist. Do many people have a favorite neurologist, perhaps that is weird in itself?

Indeed, Damasio may even be considered a philosopher, of course, aren't we all. He frequently references the his favorite philosopher, Williams James and Baruch Spinoza. Damasio explores his personal thoughts on how we have become conscious creatures in this living world of ours. He starts us out on a journey into the simple cell and relates each stage of development to Antonio Damasio is one of my favorite neurologist. He starts us out on a journey into the simple cell and relates each stage of development to its importance in the humans we have become.

At times he uses fables to help explain his ideas. To survive a cell needs to sense, respond and move. The brain allows the organism to enhance and optimize these functions and maintain homeostasis. An important step in becoming conscious is the idea of becoming a "Witness". The human is a "Witness" to his own body and mind by mapping the body and surroundings.

We become conscious by experiencing these mappings as imagines. How did the brain come about? How did consciousness come about? I can think of no better book to start you out on this path of discovery. View 1 comment. Mar 30, Jef Sneider rated it it was amazing Shelves: science. After reading this book for the second time, I am more impressed than ever that the author has described the working of the human brain better than anything I have ever read.

As a neurologist familiar with what is known today about the anatomy and myriad connections of the brain, the author adds a theoretical framework, based on evolution and biology, that ties it all together. While I am sure that further refinement is to be made, this book and its theory of brain, mind and self is destined to After reading this book for the second time, I am more impressed than ever that the author has described the working of the human brain better than anything I have ever read.

While I am sure that further refinement is to be made, this book and its theory of brain, mind and self is destined to be a classic, along with Plum and Posner and Julian Jaynes to whom he gives a nod. As a physician I study the body and the mind and the connection between the two in every patient I talk to about their perceptions of their own condition.

As a person who meditates in the Buddhist tradition, I try to apply the same study to the self, as it has been said: To study the Buddha Dharma is to study the self. Damasio has given me an ability to understand brain, mind and self in a very new way.

I don't think I can hope to explain it to the readers of this blog in a few paragraphs, and the neuroanatomy underpinning of the author's theories is significant and detailed. It is a daunting thing to consider. I do think, however, that even without understanding the neuroanatomy, a reader can grasp the theory.

It starts with the observation that even a paramecium, when observed in a drop of water, seems to possess a purpose. It moves away from that which would hurt it and towards sources of sustenance and comfort. The apparent "desire" to achieve a comfortable environment for life exists in that one celled animal and in every living thing and in every living cell in our bodies. As animals become more complex, the ability to detect and move from danger to rewards becomes more complex, but the goal is the same.

Mammals' bodies are designed to function without any conscious being in charge. They are able, for instance to maintain a complex internal environment of fluids and electrolytes, hormones, organs and nervous system without any conscious management. The body works, using parts of the brain for measurement of the internal milieu and instructions for maintenance below the level of consciousness. In fact, for some of us, the more we try to help and manage the internal environment without "listening" to the subconscious signals, the worse it gets.

Think of eating too much, not drinking enough fluids or not emptying bowel or bladder when it should be done. So, a large part of the brain, mainly in the brainstem, the part below the cerebrum, works to communicate with the body and do what is necessary to keep it going.

That includes directions to seek the right temperature in the environment, find sustenance, avoid danger, find a mate and reproduce. And we think we are so smart. Mostly all we do consciously is to mess up the biological plan. As the human brain developed with its huge cerebrum and trillions of neurons and connections additional capabilities developed including language and the ability to map the environment internally and save those maps for later retrieval and review.

Maps of the world can be used to understand the environment in more detail and to predict the future and plan ahead. Part of the mapping process includes maps of the internal environment, the maintenance of which is one of the most important functions of the organism. This self reflective aspect of internal mapping begins to create a perciever, a participant, a consciousness which can be aware of the existence of the organism in the environment.

The awareness of self and the recognition that other selves exist with similar internal and external maps in the same world leads to the ability to work together, to create a higher level of organization and culture. I shouldn't even try to explain this, but you should try to read the book if you are interested in a better understanding of how the brain works to create a mind aware of its self.

Jul 30, Jrobertus rated it it was ok. I was disappointed in this book. Damasio is a brilliant cognitive scientist, and I think his other books have been wonderful. This one is repetitive and lacked scientific depth.

Damasio has championed the role of emotion in cognition and consciousness. He has feelings as a perception of neuronal monitoring of body states and developed its vital role as an evolutionary advance. Feelings therefore are analogous to vision as a perception of light and hearing as a perception of vibration. In this bo I was disappointed in this book.

In this book he promised to take an evolutionary stance to map the development of levels of consciousness, but none was forthcoming. I expected to see a clear picture of brain development across species and how this correlated with the behavior of mind and consciousness. May 30, Nick rated it it was amazing. Damasio addresses the age-old philosophical question of where the self resides, and where it comes from.

Do we have something called a "soul" that is immaterial, and different from our physical beings? If not, where does the sense of self come from, and how does it differ from that of a sea slug, or a squirrel? Damasio spends a good deal of time very carefully building his "brief," like a lawyer, that if you put enough mental functions together, the vast majority of which we share with the rest Damasio addresses the age-old philosophical question of where the self resides, and where it comes from.

Damasio spends a good deal of time very carefully building his "brief," like a lawyer, that if you put enough mental functions together, the vast majority of which we share with the rest of the animals, you get a sense of self -- self coming to mind, in fact. If in the end you're not entirely persuaded, it's because you're remembering other evidence from other books, or experiences.

Damasio's case is compelling, lucid, and shrewd, but it won't satisfy anyone who thinks he has a soul. Jan 20, Willem van der Scheun rated it liked it. Mostly a repetition of his previous books, Descartes Error and The Feeling of What Happens, without the anecdotes and with too much neuro-technical details. Damasio's basic claims from his first two books as I understood them there is no rationality without emotions and there is no consciousness without a body to be conscious of are repeated without any real additions.

Damasio claims he has shifted the proto-self to a primordial self by adding feelings into the process of becoming a self in an Mostly a repetition of his previous books, Descartes Error and The Feeling of What Happens, without the anecdotes and with too much neuro-technical details.

Damasio claims he has shifted the proto-self to a primordial self by adding feelings into the process of becoming a self in an earlier stage, but this does not merit a whole new book I think. If you want to learn about Damasio's ideas I suggest you read the first two books I mentioned.

They are more factual, more explanatory and less philosophically, and thus I think better suited to the author's strengths. Jan 24, Nazbanou Nozari rated it liked it. Three stars only, not for the lack of ideas or content. On the contrary, the book is beaming with information, but that's probably the downfall of it too. It's way too detailed for a non-cog-neuroscientist, and in parts, way too obvious for a professional in the field. It feels like the book needs an editor.

One may argue that the concepts of self and consciousness are complicated concepts, and I would agree, but reading this book does not make it any easier to understand either. Jun 20, Stephie Williams rated it really liked it. This is the latest book that I have read by Antonio Damasio. The previous two books that I have read focused on feelings and the body. From his research in neurology he has come to the tentative conclusion that these two things figure prominently in the phenomenon of consciousness.

After giving the direction of his research into consciousness and the importance of biological regulation and value in chapters one and two in part one, he goes on to examining different components to consciousness. P This is the latest book that I have read by Antonio Damasio. Part two investigates the roles of maps and images in the brain and the contribution of the body, emotions and feelings, and memory.

Part three discusses the different types of self, working up to self-consciousness and what brain components go into producing these states. Part four explores the contributions consciousness gives to the life of the mind. Damasio also includes an appendix on brain structures and functioning. One thing that surprised me was the way Damasio sees emotions as basic and feelings piggybacking on top of them. I was under the impression before reading the book that feelings were primary and emotions were secondary as in coming after feelings.

I have a number of reflections on some specific pieces of text. Kindle locations are given in brackets []. The reason I feel it supports this is because it indicates that minds came first and only later did language come along to translate our thoughts and communicate them to others. I take this to lend support to my above notion about language and thought, if he is saying that the brains way of thinking is through images and not language. Whether he would agree with me or not, I am not sure.

In effect, language would likely not have evolved in individuals devoid of core consciousness. Why would they need it? On the contrary, at the highest grades on the scale, autobiographical consciousness relies extensively on language. My point in bringing this up is two. One it fits in with my notion that language is a sense, a sense that senses self-consciousness or conscious thought.

And again, I believe it lends support to my notion that we do not think in language. It is not arrived at by reasoned inference or interpretation. To begin with, it is not verbal either. Mathematician and composers excel at this sort of image-making. As an aside, it is said at least of some composers, such as Bach, that their musical compositions are mathematical.

This could be part of the explanation for this. Moreover, he has related it, quite sensibly, to the machinery of the left hemisphere and to the language processes therein. I like his idea very much in fact, there is a distinct ring of truth to it , but I believe it applies fully only to the level of the autobiographical self and not quite to that of the core self.

This along with other research leads me belief this is the case. With the feeling of doing an act, we get a conscious sensation of will attached to the action. Vision is physical with light impinging on our eyes and processed in the brain, and light is composed of photons. Light seemingly nonphysical is actually physical, so why not mind. Not a knock out drag out argument, but seemingly in support that mind is a physical process.

I know I have commented a lot on my idea that we do not think in language. But, the things I kept reading in the book kept reminding of it throughout. I cannot say that Damasio would be in total agreement with me on this. I think—probably not. This is that consciousness, including human self-consciousness, arises from brain functioning. He fully admits that he has not proven this in a surefire way. Although, these things are important in understanding how the brain works. I have to say I am more of a materialist and it consequences than him.

Seeing how he is primarily a scientist, and I am concerned with philosophy of mind, this is understandable from my perspective. I will also say that I learned many new things by reading this book brain structure, better understanding of emotions and feelings, images and mappings, and more.

If you are interested in the brain, especially consciousness, I would highly recommend this book. I will practically guarantee that you will gain from reading this book. For those that need a bit more on basic brain structure and functioning there is a decent appendix covering these things as I already mention, which may come in handy for those not so conversant on these things.

All theories and findings in science are provisional to some degree or other. However, some things in science are certain to a very high degree, and I think this is what Damasio is ultimately after. Feb 17, Lage von Dissen rated it really liked it. With vigor, Damasio attacks the mind-body problem or more specifically the mind-brain problem of consciousness.

His approach consisted of establishing an evolutionary path to our current level of consciousness, which he calls our "autobiographical self", and exploring in some detail which parts of the brain are correlated with the fundamental aspects of consciousness. Damasio theorizes that the precursor to consciousness would have been a proto-self with primordial feelings resulting from neur With vigor, Damasio attacks the mind-body problem or more specifically the mind-brain problem of consciousness.

Damasio theorizes that the precursor to consciousness would have been a proto-self with primordial feelings resulting from neurons being intimately and consistently connected to the body, forming a map of the internal state of the organism and a feedback-loop in order to maintain homeostasis. This intimate connection between brain and body to maintain homeostatic life regulation processes would have provided a stable foundation with which to build upon for producing consciousness.

After these primordial feelings co-evolved with certain types of memory, they would generate pulses of experience specifically of the changes to the internal state of the organism thus forming what Damasio calls the "core self". Once the organism was aware of the feelings that were associated with internal body state changes, it became possible for this "core self" with its own perspective to emerge.

Perhaps most importantly, the "core-self" can be defined by their being a self-known relationship between organism and "object". Damasio also discusses how the evolution of consciousness to an "autobiographical self" eventually led to the emergence of culture and this opened up an entirely new level of life regulation, which Damasio calls "sociocultural homeostasis".

Sociocultural homeostasis is the ability for an entire group, culture or society to sense an imbalance in terms of its needs, and generate a response to try and correct for that imbalance. He notes that the basic biological value of life regulation, the same which applies to bacteria, multi-cellular organisms, etc. In my opinion, it is because of this higher level of sociocultural homeostasis, that the human "extended phenotypic" diversity has been as great as it has.

This is extremely good and very detailed. Its also very esoteric, unless you're into neurobiology and brain science. Damasio is scientific in his approach, but also not afraid to speculate and go out on a limb; in fact he says this book is a restart for him, admitting that some of his previous works may have been preliminary and so now wrong. I am finding one issue with this book is that the starting section Self Comes to Mind - Antonio Damasio Where does consciousness and self awareness come from?

I am finding one issue with this book is that the starting sections use terminology and concepts that cannot be comprehended [like his specific meaning for images and maps] until one gets a little farther along in the book. I ended up using the index to find and read paragraphs later in the book to introduce concepts used near the beginning. You also need to supplement this with a good detailed brain physiology chart. This book also needs a bibliography, and the appendixed footnotes are rather too light!

I found this all very useful for my studies and interests. The insights here would also be good for educators, game designers and authors, for AI researcher and computer scientists involved with computer consciousness topics, and also for those interested in more philosophical and social questions regarding mans existence. I read this along with Strangers to Ourselves by Timothy Wilson, which overlaps this book somewhat, but more from a psychological angle, and centers on the part of self that is from the nonconscious.

The two compliment each other well, with Strangers There is considerable detail here that describe the brain and brain function in animals. Prior to reading this book i was quite sure from personal experience that non-human animals have a true consciousness. Damasio gives the persuasive scientific evidence supporting this along with his own affirming factual conclusions. Others more interested in social and philosophical aspects of this, will find the final chapter completely approachable and meaningful.

A similar book to this is The Tell-tale Brain by V. Ramachandran, which i will be reading soon. Or go watch his ted talk: www. Feb 07, Maggie rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , science. Sep 26, Sasha rated it really liked it Shelves: grad-school. I appreciated how he worked from the ground up, beginning with the development of a single cell organism and relating its basic properties to its more complex manifestations in the modern human.

Damasio also tackles emotions and their effect on memory and identity. He relates cultural development and creativity with a sort of social homeostasis, a way that our creative impulses correct imbalances in our constant search for well-being, which was an interesting thought. All of these ingredients came together in an intriguing hypothesis about the unique emergence of the self and consciousness, things we know are there but are still trying to explain.

Damasio's multi-layered model of consciousness not only has an intuitive appeal, but also benefits from being empirically testable and the tests that have been done to date seem to support, or at least not contradict, the model.

His main conceptual additions in this book are his take on consciousness being a trait that was actively selecte This book is basically the updated edition of The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness , and I found it just as engaging. His main conceptual additions in this book are his take on consciousness being a trait that was actively selected for as opposed to the often-heard 'accidental side effect' model for consciousness for its influence on fitness, and his idea that typical evolutionary pressures caused human culture to develop as a kind of extended homeostatic regulation system.

The former point is argued well, but that latter one needs some more work to be convincing. Finally, Damasio's writing in this book is a bit more conversational than I remember his past works being, making the work a tad more approachable. Though it might be a weird choice, after reading it three times I think this is my favorite book.

I think he's correct, neurologically speaking i. He also has a delightful writing style and a way with words, especially considering his discipline being neurology. Nov 21, Darnell rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Pretty technical and occasionally dense, but I enjoyed it overall. There were definitely sentences that I got no more out of than "[Brain region] is connected to [brain region] and [brain region] via [brain chemical.

Oct 07, Tarafa rated it really liked it. This textbook is so homogeneous and symmetrical when it comes to judge the pacemaker that governs the march of ideas. What brought consciousness to life is the marriage between the self and mind. It was so convincing to put several neurological concepts i This textbook is so homogeneous and symmetrical when it comes to judge the pacemaker that governs the march of ideas.

It was so convincing to put several neurological concepts in a raw of linkage. The ultimate analogy between homeostasis and the biological value paved the way to explain the core motive in our behavior firstly reaching morality, and culture secondly. The profound respect of the main rules of biological existence is the roadmap upon which the book is created. Neuroeconomy is a widely accepted rule in the nervous system and you read that self is coming to mind as needed since autobiographical processes are power consuming and thus the degree of engagement between the self and mind is dictated by the need.

Consciousness is a power consuming process and thus the organism tries hard to use it just upon demand. Yes, creation of neural assemblies interconnected in order to represent the outside as well as the inside world into images is the greater mind project that ultimately led to the birth of the self backed up by reasoning, memory, and maybe above all language. It can be said that what brings any thing to my attention - and thus what makes it happen to me- is its ability to deviate one of my body maps from its homeostatic position.

Otherwise I would be completely blind to it as if seeing a scene whose colors falls outside our visible light spectrum. In a way, this somatotopic segregation is the main skeleton for our core self. It is so relaxing to say that the self starts at low levels inside the nervous system and that the brain stem is its first station and its first place to be legitimate to hold the title. In this work Antonio Damasio presents his seminal discoveries in the field of neuroscience in the broader contexts of evolutionary biology and cultural development.

This trailblazing book gives us a new way of thinking about ourselves, our history, and the importance of culture in shaping our common future. In very characteristic style, Antonio is both eloquent and scholarly.

A wonderful read, and a recommended one! He is the author of numerous scientific articles and the recipient of many awards, including the Asturias Prize in Science and Technology; the Honda Prize; and the Pessoa and Signoret prizes. I had been asleep long enough to miss the announcements about the landing and the weather. I had not been aware of myself or my surroundings. I had been unconscious. Consciousness is not merely wakefulness. When I woke up, two brief paragraphs ago, I did not look around vacantly, taking in the sights and the sounds as if my awake mind belonged to no one.

What was that main feature? The fact that the myriad contents displayed in my mind, regardless of how vivid or well ordered, connected with me, the proprietor of my mind, through invisible strings that brought those contents together in the forward-moving feast we call self; and, no less important, the fact that the connection was felt.

There was a feelingness to the experience of the connected me. Awakening meant having my temporarily absent mind returned, but with me in it, both property the mind and proprietor me accounted for. And yet few things about our beings are as remarkable, foundational, and seemingly mysterious as consciousness. Without consciousness—that is, a mind endowed with subjectivity—you would have no way of knowing that you exist, let alone know who you are and what you think.

Love would never have been love, just sex. Friendship would have been mere cooperative convenience. Pain would never have become suffering—not a bad thing, come to think of it— but an equivocal advantage given that pleasure would not have become bliss either.

If consciousness had not developed in the course of evolution and expanded to its human version, the humanity we are now familiar with, in all its frailty and strength, would never have developed either. One shudders to think that a simple turn not taken might have meant the loss of the biological alternatives that make us truly human.

But then, how would we ever have found out that something was missing? We take consciousness for granted because it is so available, so easy to use, so elegant in its daily disappearing and reappearing acts, and yet, when we think of it, scientists and nonscientists alike, we do puzzle. What is consciousness made of?

Mind with a twist, it seems to me, since we cannot be conscious without having a mind to be conscious of. But what is mind made of? Does mind come from the air or from the body? Smart people say it comes from the brain, that it is in the brain, but that is not a satisfactory reply. How does the brain do mind? The fact that no one sees the minds of others, conscious or not, is especially mysterious.

We can observe their bodies and their actions, what they do or say or write, and we can make informed guesses about what they think. But to say that conscious minds are mysterious—and on the face of it they are—is different from saying that the mystery is insoluble. Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon.

It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness. Enhance your purchase. Additional Details. Small Business. Learn more. Previous page. Print length. Publication date. November 9, See all details. Next page. Frequently bought together. Total price:. To see our price, add these items to your cart.

Some of these items ship sooner than the others. Show details Hide details. Choose items to buy together. Only 2 left in stock - order soon. In Stock. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Antonio Damasio. Anil Seth. 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.

All rights reserved. Read more. Don't have a Kindle? About the author Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations. Antonio R. Brief content visible, double tap to read full content. Full content visible, double tap to read brief content. Read more Read less. Customer reviews.

How customer reviews and ratings work Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them. Learn more how customers reviews work on Amazon. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from the United States. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the science of consciousness.

Damasio is more immersed in the complex, distributed nature of the brain than most philosophers and most neuroscientists. He knows the functions of all its parts better than most of them too. Reading this book may teach you new brain facts in a counterintuitive frame, like reading Jaynes.

Buyer beware. Highly recommend. In Self Comes to Mind Antonio Damasio puts forth a hypothesis of how the physical brain produces the self-aware, subjective, experience of consciousness and mind. It is very well written, and is based in what we now know about the human brain, and how it works. If you concentrate carefully on what is being said it is quite understandable I mention this because parts of the book can be complicated and requires attention.

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Dr. Antonio Damasio on Self Comes to Mind - Number Five in a Series

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