- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (April 22, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393343901
- ISBN-13: 978-0393343908
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.7 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Contains many rewarding thoughts about life and mind and their place in nature. (Nature)
Unprecedentedly comprehensive. . . . Imagine the consequences for science and society of having a physical explanation for functional, meaningful and conscious behavior no less scientific and accessible than our explanation for lightning. I believe Deacon provides just that. (Psychology Today)
In his approach to the question of how sentience emerged from ‘dumb’ and ‘numb’ matter, Mr. Deacon mobilizes some radically new ideas. (Wall Street Journal)
A profound shift in thinking that in magnitude can only be compared with those that followed upon the works of Darwin and Einstein. (Robert E. Ulanowicz, author of A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin)
This is a work of science and philosophy at the cutting edge of both that seeks to develop a complete theory of the world that includes humans, our minds and culture, embodied and emerging in nature. (Bruce H. Weber, coauthor of Darwinism Evolving)
A stunningly original, stunningly synoptic book. With Autogenesis, Significance, Sentience, seventeen insightful and integrated chapters turn our world upside down and finally, as in the Chinese proverb, lead us home again to a place we see anew. Few ask the important questions. Deacon is one of these. (Stuart Kauffman, author of Investigations)
[Deacon] demonstrates how systems that are intrinsically incomplete happen to be alive and meaning-making. The crux of life―and meaning―is solved. It was worthwhile to wait for this book. The twenty-first century can now really start. (Kalevi Kull, professor, Department of Semiotics, Tartu University)
About the Author
Terrence W. Deacon is a professor of biological anthropology and neuroscience and the chair of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. The author of The Symbolic Species and Incomplete Nature, he lives near Berkeley, California.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
It was definitely one of the most difficult reads I've ever completed. His writing is so incredibly abstract, obtuse, and repetitive, I sometimes left he was making it purposefully difficult to understand. As a rule, sentences are long and convoluted, making the argument difficult to follow. His goal, to explain multiple of the most difficult questions in science, is so vast that he inevitably falls short. Terms like teleodynamical and morphodynamical are insufficiently explained, and then used in the rest of the book as stand-ins for mysterious mechanisms in seemingly every other sentence.
But I wouldn't have continued to the end if there weren't nuggets to be gleaned. There are some powerful comparisons and explanations of natural selection, thermodynamics, intentionality, and what he calls "ententional" concepts like value, function, and representation.
If this book relates strongly to your interests or work, and you are able to take away isolated fragments and apply them outside the context of this particular theory, I would recommend this book. If not, there are much more engaging books on each of the topics mentioned above. While not as comprehensive, they will undoubtedly provide a much more pleasurable experience.
Much of the content is speculation which the author readily acknowledges. That said, Deacon is on the leading edge of a wave of complexity based approaches to the hard problems of life and consciousness. Much of the author's take is built on the shoulders of others such as the great Stuart Kauffman.
Much like Kauffman's work which is summarized in his equally profound book "At Home in the Universe", Deacon challenges us to reunite the seemingly mystical with the nuts and bolts of thermodynamics.
Where Deacon differs from Kauffman most strongly is in his approach to the subjective experience of consciousness.
Kauffman seems to believe that quantum physics is needed to essentially open a causal chasm that would presumably allow the collapse of super imposed quantum states to register as intentional mental states.
In contrast, Deacon sees no need to invoke the quantum realm to explain subjective experience and agency. What is refreshing about Deacon's take is how its grounded in classical thermodynamics but also provides for the emergence of novel properties as constraints are propagated upwards in the hierarchy.
This is a challenging book, even for those like myself who have read many books on complex systems.
Daniel Dennett said this book caused him to question some of his most deeply held views.
I couldn't agree more.
The book Incomplete Nature, translates enormously complex issues into easy to follow text. This volume is for people taking the ideas they reflect upon with considered seriousness.