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Neural Darwinism: The Theory Of Neuronal Group Selection Hardcover – December 6, 1987

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0465049349 ISBN-10: 0465049346 Edition: New edition

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About the Author

Gerald M. Edelman is director of the Neurosciences Institute and chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at the Scripps Research Institute. He received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1972. He is also the author of Bright Air, Brilliant Fire; Tobiology; and The Remembered Present.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; New edition edition (December 6, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465049346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465049349
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 1996
Format: Hardcover
The distinguished Nobel Laureate proposes a global brain theory that demonstrates that the brain does not work like a computer but rather operates under principles of selection that assure individuality, autonomy, imagination, etc. Since this book was published in 1986, the essentials of its proposals have been confirmed and absorbed at almost all levels of neurobiological and psychological inquiry. More accessible are two subsequent books, "The Remembered Present" and "Bright Air, Brilliant Fire"
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By John Schmidt schmidt@wsuhub.uc.twsu.edu on October 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Mike Vanier's experience with Edelman's prose gave the typical bioassay result: its hard to read Edelman's books. I often try to imagine the state of mind of people in 1875 who tried to wade through Darwin's "Origin of Species" or someone who came across the work of Gregor Mendel in the 1890's. Unfortunately for the Science of Mind, Mike is just the kind of person Edelman might have hoped to be able to reach. Well, Mike, did you read right through the Bible (or substitute "Your First Calculus Textbook" for "Bible") the first time you picked it up? There really is a forest in "Neural Darwinism" once you get past the trees.
The claim "his ideas are neither new, nor original, nor correct" is one of the standard put-downs of the academic world. Anyone who works on non-trivial scientific issues and is intelectually honest will admit that his work in based on ideas taken from others and that his work is incomplete and contains errors. Edelman makes these admissions. Edelman's ideas about how brains can learn and function to produce what we experience as minds are positive contributions to science and worth getting to know.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Samuel T. Goldberg on November 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Nobelist Gerald Edelman "theory of neuronal group selection" can be taken to provide a neurological understanding for psychoanalytic theory and experience. Because of the dense overlapping of dendrites and
axons in gray matter, a given area of cortex is capable of a varying
array of responses to a given input. Of the many possible responses,
one inevitably leads to the strongest, most adaptive, or rewarding
output. Suppose that this "fittest" response were "selected" for
synaptic changes enhancing the likelihood of future firing of just
that pattern of response when the same or similar input next arrives.
That pattern of function would have "won" in a Darwinian competition
to dominate the activity of that group of neurons when those same or
similar experiential conditions occur again. (I hope the reader can
hear in this a basis for transference experience: the neuronal response previously selected, perhaps by childhood experience, will be reactivated again in the future under specifically evocative conditions.)
We can thus anticipate a direct neurophysiologic account for how
"object relations" may in part derive from internalized__introjected__ experiences with objects and with their functions. Each experience in present real time consists of, is generated by, and resides in the activation of neural groups, interconnected in an ad-hoc network, distributed throughout the brain anatomically, and thus involving many functions of sensation, perception, motor function, emotion and cognition.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chrisantha Fernando on August 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read this book about 15 years ago and whilst it was exciting and inspiring I was frustrated by not being able to understand how on Earth this was Darwinism. What a relief when I found that Francis Crick had said of Gerald Edelman's theory of Neural Darwinism that because it didn't propose any true replicators in the brain it was more appropriately called Neural Edelmanism. 150 years after Darwin, why do two Nobel Prize winners disagree as to what is and is not a Darwinian natural selection algorithm? Recently we've developed a new theory of Darwinian Neurodynamics which attempts to correct the conceptual errors that underlie Edelman's Neural Darwinism by proposing how true units of evolution could exist in the brain. See [..] for some papers that critically review this book and Edelman's theory. I hope these serve to clarify some confusions.
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