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Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
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Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  109 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Burgeoning advancements in brain science are opening up new perspectives on how we acquire knowledge. Indeed, it is now possible to explore consciousness—the very center of human concern—by scientific means. In this illuminating book, Dr. Gerald M. Edelman offers a new theory of knowledge based on striking scientific findings about how the brain works. And he addresses the ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 24th 2006 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Mar 22, 2010 Corey rated it it was ok
I started reading this with the hopes that it would be something like fellow Nobel laureate, Eric Kandell's excellent book, In Search of Memory. It's not. Of course it's much shorter, being more of a philosophical essay than a treatise on brain research. That's not the problem though. The problem is that Edelman's argument itself simply isn't very compelling. I'm not convinced that consciousness can be localized so easily among the axons of the thalamocortical system. And more importantly, even ...more
Sina Homayooni
Jan 21, 2016 Sina Homayooni rated it it was ok
I got bored!

This book may (if ever) impress only those who have chosen to read this book as their first try to know about Consciousness.

While Edelman's idea of Neural Darwinism is interesting, he could summarize all he had to say in 20 pages (tops). Instead, he keeps on writing a philosophical essay on how dualism and traditional epistemology are inferior to brain-based science and makes sure to repeat his own very sentences at least three times throughout the book. I think, regarding the title,
Emily Millay
Jul 29, 2009 Emily Millay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: neuroscience
A charming, deeply lucid overview of the cutting edge of neuroscience today. Edelman writes with gem-like clarity and grace, inspiring me to go out and read all of his books (even the more heavy-science ones). Edleman's thinking also has some interesting parallels to classical Buddhist philosophy about perception and consciousness. Highly, highly recommended.

brain-based epistemology {=thought & knowledge}

brain : consciousness : [naturalized:] epistemology

brain : body : environment

Neural Darwinism:
variation introduced thru developmental | experiential selection

intentionality - conscious states are oft about things or events

The combination of value system activity, along w/ the selectional synaptic changes in specific networs of neuronal groups, governs behavior

rationalist -- innate mental operations
Oct 04, 2009 Paul rated it liked it
There has been an incredible advancement in the clarity of our understanding of the brain this decade. It seems that the mountains of data that have been gathered over the last 40 years or so are finally painting the picture of the remarkable functions of our brain as neuroscientists and psychologists put together the pieces into plausible theories. Second Nature is one of those attempts to put these pieces together along with the author's brilliant insights.

I felt like the author's concept of N
Jan 22, 2012 Miles rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, stirring book. Contains excellent summaries of basic brain functions as well as sweeping insights about the nature of epistemology and the possibility of building a conscious machine. Also claims that ultimately, the distinction between the sciences and the humanities is illusory and unnecessary.

Edelman is critical of certain other disciplines, especially evolutionary psychology. He claims there is no inherited language of thought, no brain-based language acquisition device. Instead h
Aug 06, 2012 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The progress of brain science is examined within the fabric of Ancients and Moderns struggling with 'how we know what we know'. Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist, Edelman writes with a poetic clarity and respect as he follows the long history of the development of human knowledge as well as the shorter history of the individual's personal developing self. He calls it Neuro Darwinism - but don't think politics here - think of this as the long documented hunger to join Science and the Humanities. ...more
Alyssa Patulski
Feb 24, 2016 Alyssa Patulski rated it liked it
I can now say books about biology really doesn’t interest me. Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge by Gerald M. Edelman is a nonfiction book that tells you all about different kinds of science related topics. It goes through all sorts of things like explaining scientific understandings, brain functions, consciousness, and evolution. This book didn’t really interest me very much and was pretty hard to get through.
Gerald M. Edelman chose to write this book in a particular way. First,
Dec 30, 2015 Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Challenging but worthwhile foray into the nature of human consciousness through the lens of Edelman's theories. Edelman intelligently integrates philosophy and physiology to make a case for his "Neural Darwinism" and the need for brain based epistemology. I came to Edelman from Dr. Sacks' glowing praise in his "On the Move", and was not disappointed. His writing can be dense, but this book does an excellent job of laying out an overview early and then building slowly, chapter by chapter. If you' ...more
Mar 23, 2014 GONZA rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edelman, che senza il suo fido Tononi perde nella scorrevolezza e nella chiarezza dell'esposizione, ma per chi ama i suoi argomenti rispetto alla localizzazione della coscienza tra i neuroni rimane in assoluto un punto fermo insindacabile. Preferisco ancora "Un universo di coscienza", ma anche questo non è stato male, servirebbe qualche nuovo passo avanti comunque, è un po' di tempo che si parlano addosso sempre delle stesse cose...
Dana Ream
I find the basic premise of Neural Darwinism intriguing, and I wish he would go into more detail about it. But this book seems to be primarily about how the author believes his theory can reconcile a rift between the sciences and humanities.
Jun 10, 2009 samm rated it really liked it
Edelman builds upon his previous two books and talks about ANN (Artificial Neural Networks). It can be dense but it is uber intriguing.
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Gerald Maurice Edelman (born July 1, 1929) is an American biologist who shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work with Rodney Robert Porter on the immune system.[1] Edelman's Nobel Prize-winning research concerned discovery of the structure of antibody molecules.[2] In interviews, he has said that the way the components of the immune system evolve over the life of the individu ...more
More about Gerald M. Edelman...

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