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A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness
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A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  64 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
This book is a tour-de-force on how human consciousness may have evolved. From the "phantom pain" experienced by people who have lost their limbs to the uncanny faculty of "blindsight," Humphrey argues that raw sensations are central to all conscious states and that consciousness must have evolved, just like all other mental faculties, over time from our ancestors' bodily ...more
Paperback, 238 pages
Published June 18th 1999 by Copernicus Books (first published 1992)
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Erik Graff
Mar 09, 2015 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophers of mind
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: psychology
Humphrey's thesis is, so far as I can recall it, that mind arises from physical sensation, interior and exterior, inclusive of emotion. This thesis is played off against evolutionary theory with speculation about how higher orders of abstraction from primary sensation were selected.
Ariel Lynn
Nicholas Humphrey presents a very interesting idea about consciousness using sensations vs. perceptions & how they affect us. Each chapter builds on the ones prior, starting w/the most basic definitions & theories, w/the final chapters addressing potential questions on what this theory could mean for artificial intelligence, life on other planets, & the consciousness of animals other than human beings.

Towards the end of the book, where Mr. Humphrey has built on this theory for numero
...more
Chris Naylor
This book gets off to a bad start. On page 2, Humphrey tells us that:

The mind-body problem is the problem of explaining how states of consciousness arise in human brains.

No, it's not. That's the hard problem of consciousness, a poor man's substitute for the mind-body problem, the result of making two unfounded assumptions: that the physical world is real, and that dualism is false. Like most scientists, Humphrey clearly has a shaky grasp on philosophy. But at least this remark tells us where Hum
...more
Rick
Aug 18, 2014 Rick rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Sometimes I found myself being sucked in by this author's arguments about evolutionary consciousness, and sometimes I think he went way too far out on a limb. Nevertheless it is a readable book and quite entertaining. But I went away unconvinced that a biological link exists between sensation and crative thought, which I think he wanted me to believe.
Leonardo
Mar 01, 2016 Leonardo marked it as to-keep-reference
Shelves: neurociencia
Discutido en Visión de Paralaje Pág.258
Christopher Staley
Oct 24, 2007 Christopher Staley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in the philosophy of the mind
He's got a lot of good things to say; however, I'm having a tough time buying the argument for the parallel nature of perception and sensation. I'd be curious if anyone else had a similar issue. Even with BH's "experimental" support of this theory, it is difficult for me not to believe that perception is an analysis of sensation.

On the other hand, his idea of a feedback loop not only solves the nesting dolls problem, but also goes a long way towards explaing the you-have-it-or-you-don't nature o
...more
Emily
Oct 21, 2010 Emily rated it it was ok
The first chapter of this book is kind of exciting. Humphrey has this thesis that everything interesting in nature happens at the borders. His ideas around sensation and how we respond to sensation are really great food for thought. Then, he gets a little - odd. He has an argument with a child that he wrote himself to prove/disprove his thesis. And the science seems to have passed him by a bit since this was written - so all of his theories are a little - um, out of date.
Ant
Jun 11, 2014 Ant rated it really liked it
This is a great example of a book that is so well put together and written that it's quite an interesting and enjoyable read despite not being brought round the author's point of view. Interesting and I'm glad I read it, but a touch disappointed by the conclusion.
Alex
May 29, 2011 Alex rated it it was ok
The amount of ideas may well worth one paper or a few, but a book with such a title should have had more meat in it, especially as speculation seems a major portion.
Les Gehman
Mar 13, 2010 Les Gehman rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, nature, wtf
An interesting book that attempts to explain how consciousness evolved.
Azar
Aug 29, 2010 Azar rated it it was amazing
Loved the easy read of what our consciousness works like.
Bill Clevenger
Dec 05, 2007 Bill Clevenger rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those with a neocortex
Shelves: science
Fascinating ponderings of a truly original thinker.
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Sensation and Perception 1 7 Oct 21, 2007 03:04PM  
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