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The Emerging Mind: The BBC Reith Lectures 2003 Paperback – September 20, 2003
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Also, if you're interested in Ramachandran's research, I would recommend instead his 1999 book "Phantoms in the Brain." It contains a lot more material, much of which is duplicated in the Reith lectures.
1. by studying neurological syndromes, we acquire novel insights into the functions of the normal brain;
2. the functions of the brain are best understood from an evolutionary vantage point.
V. Ramachandran's examples illustrate profusely that there is no separate 'mind stuff' and 'physical stuff' in the universe. The two are one and the same. Mind is a matter of matter.
There is also an indisputable link between neurology and psychology: psychic illnesses have organic causes.
The author sees the brain as a model-making machine: virtual reality simulations, models of other people's mind.
The Darwinian aspect is always present. As T. Dobzhansky said (quoted in this book): 'Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.'
Natural selection has ensured that the subjective sensation of willing is delayed deliberately to coincide not with the onset of the brain command, but with the actual execution of the command.
The hierarchical 'tree' structure of syntax in language may be evolved from tool use. Language itself is not a specific adaptation which evolved for the sole purpose of communication.
The 'booba/kiki' effect shows that there is a pre-existing non-arbitrary translation between the visual appearance of an object and the auditory representation. Lips are physically mimicking the visual appearance of what one is saying and together with tongue movements produce 'proto-words'.
This short book with an excellent glossary is very rich.Read more ›
With some different topics, it does overlap significantly with Dr. Ramachandran's other book "Phantoms in the brain". Meanwhile, I have and am happy with both books - they each have something the other one doesn't.
If you are just curious and plan to spent 2-3 hours (at weekend at the beach) on a neology book, this lecture collection is a great choice. If you are intrigued and would like to spend 20 hours for a more systemic introduction, "Phantoms in the brain" is a better option. If you just can't have enough, get both.