The Primordial Emotions: The Dawning Of Consciousness

Hardcover | June 8, 2006

byDerek Denton

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To understand what is happening in the brain in the moment you decide, at will, to summon to consciousness a passage of Mozart's music, or decide to take a deep breath, is like trying to "catch a phantom by the tail". Consciousness remains that most elusive of all human phenomena - one somysterious, one that even our highly developed knowledge of brain function can only partly explain. This book is unique in tracing the origins of consciousness. It takes the investigation back many years in an attempt to uncover just how consciousness might have first emerged.Consciousness did not develop suddenly in humans - it evolved gradually. In 'The Primordial Emotions', Derek Denton, a world renowned expert on animal instinct and a leader in integrative physiology, investigates the evolution of consciousness. Central to the book is the idea that the primalemotions - elements of instinctive behaviour - were the first dawning of consciousness. Throughout he examines instinctive behaviours, such as hunger for air, hunger for minerals, thirst, and pain, arguing that the emotions elicited from these behaviours and desire for gratification culminated inthe first conscious states. To develop the theory he looks at behaviour at different levels of the evolutionary tree, for example of octopuses, fish, snakes, birds, and elephants. Coupled with findings from neuroimaging studies, and the viewpoints on consciousness from some of the key figures inphilosophy and neuroscience, the book presents an accessible and groundbreaking new look at the problem of consciousness.

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To understand what is happening in the brain in the moment you decide, at will, to summon to consciousness a passage of Mozart's music, or decide to take a deep breath, is like trying to "catch a phantom by the tail". Consciousness remains that most elusive of all human phenomena - one somysterious, one that even our highly developed k...

Derek Denton is the world authority on instinctive behaviour regulating apt intake of water and minerals - particularly salt. He was Founding Director of the Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and Medicine at Melbourne University. His discoveries have been recognized by election to the National Academies of Science o...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.87 inPublished:June 8, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199203148

ISBN - 13:9780199203147

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Table of Contents

Part I - The Hypothesis1. Introduction: the idea and context2. The definition of consciousness and self-awareness3. What some distinguished scientists have proposed on the nature of consciousness: John Searle, HOmer Smith, Vernon Mountcastle and Roger Sperry4. Consciousness in animals5. The appetite for salt and the mind - intention in salt mining elephantsPart II - Experimental Analysis6. The phylogenetic tree7. An interoceptor driven theory of origin of primary consciousness8. The physiology of the primordial emotion of thirst9. The neuroimaging of thirst by PET (Positron Emission Tomography)10. Neuroimaging of other primordial emotions and also the second level distance receptor evoked emotionsPart III - Higher Cognition and Emotion11. Anatomical structure and physiological functions subserving higher order consciousness12. The biology of emotion

Editorial Reviews

`The Primordial Emotions takes the reader on a wide-ranging tour of the animal kingdom to argue that consciousness for the primordial sensations - pain, hunger for air, thirst, and so on - evolved before consciousness for the long-distance sensing modalities - vision, audition, olfaction. Thisjourney culminates in the author's own experiments to identify the regions of the brain underlying these subjective states by neuroimaging thirsty volunteers. Written in a very accessible and lucid style, the book offers a refreshingly distinct voice in the ongoing scientific exploration of theancient mind-body problem.'Christof Koch, Caltech, USA