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The Cerebral Symphony: Seashore Reflections on the Structure of Consciousness

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  33 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Set amidst the Woods Hole research colony on Cape Cod. Daniel C. Dennett said, “Thinking along with Calvin is sheer delight. This book has the most vivid and lucid explanations of brain function I have see, and his discussions of evolution place him in the same league with Stephen Gould and Richard Dawkins as elegant expositors in the life sciences.”
Paperback, 420 pages
Published December 1st 2000 by Backinprint.com (first published December 1st 1989)
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Ben
Oct 18, 2009 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: very-not-crap
Dude hangs out by the beach in New England and looks at animals and thinks about brains all day -- where do I sign up? Turns out there's a metaphorical "symphony" of activity going on all the time; consciousness is merely the emphasis of one tune over another. It reminded me of Charles Ives' Symphony No. 4 to mind, with its cacophonous back-and-forth phasing between separate themes.
Clarence
Mar 23, 2008 Clarence rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those curious about consciousness
Starting each chapter with observations from real life (most or all dealing with the behavior of a cormorant living near WHOI), Calvin describes possible mechanical explanations for how the operation of the human brain results in the consciousness that we all know and love.

He starts with the problem an early hominid had: how to combine the rock in his hand with that rabbit scampering by to produce a prehistoric version of hasenpfeffer. Having learned that he could kill an animal with a rock to t
...more
Jason Meinig
Oct 20, 2013 Jason Meinig rated it really liked it
This was a fairly straightforward, easy to read book on a materialist theory of mind and its relationship to consciousness. The author makes several good cases that consciousness functions like a "Darwin Machine" choosing from among a number of various processing modules, ultimately choosing the most fit word/action/schema/etc for the task at hand. While I'm not really sold on this idea or the others he defends in the book, he does make the ideas as simple and easy to understand as possible, I t ...more
Jolie
Mar 16, 2009 Jolie added it
Want to get really deep about the workings of the maind/brain? This one is great. An amazing writer.
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William H. Calvin, Ph.D., is a theoretical neurobiologist, Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of a dozen books, mostly for general readers, about brains and evolution.

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