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

Paperback | July 20, 1999

byNicholas Humphrey

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

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This book is a tour-de-force on how human consciousness may have evolved. From the "phantom pain" experienced by people who have lost their limbs to the uncanny faculty of "blindsight," Humphrey argues that raw sensations are central to all conscious states and that consciousness must have evolved, just like all other mental faculties,...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:238 pages, 9.25 × 6.1 × 0 inPublished:July 20, 1999Publisher:SpringerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0387987193

ISBN - 13:9780387987194

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From the Author

How does the water of the mind yield the wine of conscious experience? What is the link between bodily activity and our inner feeling of what it's like to be ourselves? The problem of qualia-the so called "hard problem" of consciousness-has intrigued philosophers for generations and remains the greatest challenge to contemporary science. In this path-breaking book, Nicholas Humphrey examines the issues in the light of evolutionary history and proposes a solution very different from any previously offered. He suggests that instead of focusing on second-order mental faculties, or "thoughts about thoughts," we need to look at the raw sensations themselves that are central to all conscious states. He takes the reader on an exhilarating journey through little-known areas of biology, psychology, and philosophy, to discover the origins of all forms of self-awareness in the primitive pain and pleasure responses of our distant ancestors. Packed with psychological information and ingenious speculation, A History of the Mind not only recasts the debate about the nature of conscious experience but provides fascinating insights into many other topics along the way. Already a classic, this book is as informative and entertaining as it is profound.

Table of Contents

Mind and Body - "Puzzling Work" (an Aside about Language) - What Happened in History: the Inside Story - The Double Province of the Senses - "What do we see?" - Colour is the Keyboard - In the Realm of the Senses - Shuttle-vision - "It must look queer!" - New Arrangements - Mind-blindness and Blind-mindness - More about Blindsight - A Fire in the Hand - a Dagger of the Mind - He thought he saw an Elephant - Here it lies - Here what lies? A Chapter about Definition - Five Characteristics in Search of a Theory - The Problem of Ownership (a Tack to Starboard) - The Question of Indexicals (a Tack to Port) - Plus ca Change - A Little Mind Music - Specific Nerve Energies? - Smoke without Fire - Time Present - Hurrah! - Hurrah! - for the Old Ways - The Mind Made Flesh - Water and Wine - Being and Nothingness - Notes.- Index.