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Chimeras and Consciousness: Evolution of the Sensory Self (MIT Press)

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262515832
ISBN-10: 0262515830
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Chimeras and Consciousness is not just another conference book; it is a transformation of world-view. If you believe that the cell is an information-processing machine for reading the genetic code, if you think that evolution is a struggle of discrete units to survive long enough to reproduce, if you think the human world, like Maxwell's Demon, is a difference engine for sorting out creatures in a competitive market place of rational self-interest, if you think the immune system is a military force defending Self against Other, or if you think the nation-state is threatened by the infection of the Other in the form of alien immigrants, then you need this book, for everything you think is wrong. This is a book that, like Darwin's Origin, changes everything.

(William Irwin Thompson, poet, cultural historian, and founder of the Lindisfarne Association)

I consider this to be an extremely important collection of papers that could change the nature of the currently unhealthy and unhelpful arguments about evolution...It is a rich introduction to a vast field of research still little known to the general public and insufficiently appreciated by mainstream scientists.

(John B. Cobb Jr., from the foreword)

In this volume a group of bold and imaginative scholars probe the edges of the paradigm to investigate the 'hard problem' of consciousness by exploring its evolutionary roots from deep in the microbial world to its cultural embodiments. This is a new view of the biosphere, natural philosophy at its most challenging.

(Harold J. Morowitz, Robinson Professor of Biology and Natural Philosophy, George Mason University)

The message from editors Margulis, Asikainen, and Krumbein is an important one for numerous disciplines, biology, environmental science, philosophy, and theology among them. Undoubtedly, this book will also make a significant contribution to the study of our own species. In a palpable sense, it will help re-define what it means to be human in the context of 30 million co-evolved organisms on an ancient Earth system.

(Bruce Rinker, ecologist, science educator, and explorer; co-editor of Gaia in Turmoil)

About the Author

Celeste A. Asikainen, a geologist, is the administrator of the Margulis Laboratory and a doctoral student.



Wolfgang E. Krumbein, formerly at Oldenburg University in Germany, is counted among the founders of geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry, new scientific fields especially relevant to global climate and planetary biology.

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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (April 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262515830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262515832
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,064,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Who would think that consciousness, or awareness of non-self and self could extend all the way into the microbial world? This book shows how it all started. The chimeras part of the title reveal that this conscious life is not about organisms as individual discrete islands, but that throughout the history of life there have been mergers on grand scales to produce the forms we see today, including the human form. The paradigm of Darwin's "tree of life" has been shown to be obsolete, for as organisms merge and hybridize, there is no single last common ancestor but many.
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This collection of two dozen essays in modern scientific thought, even though too many of them written only for their respective specialists, is unequaled for its comprehensive overview of the emerging consensus regarding the imperatives for thinking with and through nature instead of warring against it.

For the war against nature is no longer anything but a war with ourselves; it is a war in which no one loses more than the winners.
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I think that this book should be read by anyone with an interest in science and most definitely by anyone who is a life/Earth scientist. It is full of essays by prominent scientists exploring a wide range of topics. All of them going more in-depth or giving a different light to the topic than you probably knew about.

This book will make you think.
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Important material. The chapter on the likely evolution of brain cells especially caught my imagination. This is my second copy, lent the first out several times, at last never got it back.
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great
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