Stairway to the Mind: The Controversial New Science of Consciousness

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9780387943817: Stairway to the Mind: The Controversial New Science of Consciousness

Human consciousness has perplexed philosophers, artists and scientists for centuries. Some hold it to be purely physical, while others believe it transcends the material world. Now comes a book that offers a new perspective - based entirely on evidence from the natural sciences - whereby materialism and dualism co-exist. The author - a distinguished pioneer of nonlinear dynamics - bases his argument on a hierarchical view of mental organization; a stairway. Atoms give rise to molecules, neurons form the brain and individual consciousness leads to shared culture. All steps are needed to complete the picture and each level derives from the previous one. The book shows specialists how each of their fields adds to the overall picture, while providing general readers with an introduction to this investigation.

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About the Author:

Alwyn Scott is a professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Universiy of Arizona and in the Institute of Mathematical Modelling at the Technical University of Denmark.

Review:

...a work of enormous scope and ambition, yet written in a lucid style, with great modesty. -- Journal of Consciousness Studies

...presented intelligently, poetically, and even humorously, on a serious subject that has confounded famous thinkers for centuries. -- Choice

...the critical survey of 20th-century thought is fascinating and highly relevant. -- The Times Higher Education Supplement

A very elegant, thorough and informative defense ... concerning the mind as an "emergent phenomenon". I recommend it very warmly indeed. -- Sir Roger Penrose, University of Oxford [author of Shadows of the Mind]

An enormously ambitious undertaking, which Scott accomplishes deftly and with considerable charm...a refreshing excursion through difficult territory. -- Erich Harth, Syracuse University [author of The Creative Loop]

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