The Race for Consciousness (A Bradford Book)

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9780262201155: The Race for Consciousness (A Bradford Book)
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Scientists may be approaching the finish-line in the race to understand consciousness. John Taylor introduces the contending theories, including his own.

There is a sense among scientists that the time is finally ripe for the problem of consciousness to be solved once and for all. The development of new experimental and theoretical tools for probing the brain has produced an atmosphere of unparalleled optimism that the job can now be done properly: The race for consciousness is on!

In this book, John Taylor describes the complete scene of entries, riders, gamblers, and racecourses. He presents his own entry into the race, which he has been working on for the past twenty-five years―the relational theory of consciousness, according to which consciousness is created through the relations between brain states, especially those involving memories of personal experiences. Because it is an ongoing and adaptive process, consciousness emerges from past brain activity. It is this highly subtle and delicate process of emergence that leads to the complexity of consciousness. Taylor does not just present another theory of consciousness, but makes comprehensible the nuts-and-bolts methodology behind the myriad attempts to win the race.

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Incorporating centuries of thought and decades of research into one model of consciousness is no easy feat, but neural network guru John Taylor puts it all together in The Race for Consciousness. Suggesting early on that no scientific endeavor has ever succeeded without a clear goal in sight, he takes care to specify the aims he thinks consciousness researchers should have in mind when pursuing their work; his definitions and boundaries, while not uncontroversial, are thought-provoking. From there he outlines previous stabs at theories and is unrelenting in exposing their strengths and weaknesses.

Taylor builds a theory of his own on this sturdy foundation--he proposes a relational model in which interactions between different brain states inevitably create the subjective feeling that we call consciousness. His command of the field of research is impressive, drawing on physics, computer science, philosophy, biology, and medicine, but he is always scrupulous when acknowledging gaps in the data or potential challenges to his ideas. The reader must be prepared to be flexible and patient; Taylor's ideas take time to build and his model is much stronger for it. The rewards of persistence are rich, though--this just might be the groundbreaking work from which our next scientific Renaissance grows. Taylor admits he has only taken the first step toward his goal, but expects there to be many more runners in the race for consciousness. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:

John G. Taylor is Emeritus Professor and Director, Centre for Neural Networks, Kings College, University of London, and Guest Scientist, Institute of Medicine, Research Centre, Juelich, Germany. He has published more than four hundred papers in quantum field theory, elementary particle physics, string theory, neural networks, time series, pattern recognition, and cognitive neuroscience. He is also a prominent debunker of pseudoscience.

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9780262700863: The Race for Consciousness

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ISBN 10:  0262700867 ISBN 13:  9780262700863
Publisher: A Bradford Book, 2001
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Book Description MIT Press Ltd, United States, 1999. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Scientists may be approaching the finish-line in the race to understand consciousness. John Taylor introduces the contending theories, including his own.There is a sense among scientists that the time is finally ripe for the problem of consciousness to be solved once and for all. The development of new experimental and theoretical tools for probing the brain has produced an atmosphere of unparalleled optimism that the job can now be done properly: The race for consciousness is on!In this book, John Taylor describes the complete scene of entries, riders, gamblers, and racecourses. He presents his own entry into the race, which he has been working on for the past twenty-five years-the relational theory of consciousness, according to which consciousness is created through the relations between brain states, especially those involving memories of personal experiences. Because it is an ongoing and adaptive process, consciousness emerges from past brain activity. It is this highly subtle and delicate process of emergence that leads to the complexity of consciousness. Taylor does not just present another theory of consciousness, but makes comprehensible the nuts-and-bolts methodology behind the myriad attempts to win the race. Seller Inventory # BZV9780262201155

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Book Description MIT Press Ltd, United States, 1999. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Scientists may be approaching the finish-line in the race to understand consciousness. John Taylor introduces the contending theories, including his own.There is a sense among scientists that the time is finally ripe for the problem of consciousness to be solved once and for all. The development of new experimental and theoretical tools for probing the brain has produced an atmosphere of unparalleled optimism that the job can now be done properly: The race for consciousness is on!In this book, John Taylor describes the complete scene of entries, riders, gamblers, and racecourses. He presents his own entry into the race, which he has been working on for the past twenty-five years-the relational theory of consciousness, according to which consciousness is created through the relations between brain states, especially those involving memories of personal experiences. Because it is an ongoing and adaptive process, consciousness emerges from past brain activity. It is this highly subtle and delicate process of emergence that leads to the complexity of consciousness. Taylor does not just present another theory of consciousness, but makes comprehensible the nuts-and-bolts methodology behind the myriad attempts to win the race. Seller Inventory # BTE9780262201155

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