The Cerebral Symphony: Seashore Reflections on the Structure of Consciousness
From Publishers Weekly
Neurobiologist Calvin's wispy, New Age-flavored travelogue--abuzz with cormorants and skunks, insects and plants of Woods Hole, Mass., and its littoral environs--ensheathes his fairly technical exposition of the neurophysiology of mind. Some readers will be enthralled; others may grow impatient with his approach. Of particular interest is his theoretical blueprint for a Darwin Machine, a type of computer that uses parallel networking in a "variation-then-selection" process to generate ideas. This hypothetical device, in his forecast, will one day exhibit most of what we now call consciousness, including the gifts of imagination and creativity. Along the way, Calvin ( The River That Flows Uphill ) offers a graceful introduction to the mechanisms underlying visual perception, memory, language acquisition, problem-solving and music appreciation--skills that the Darwin Machine, in his view, will someday possess. Illustrated.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Don't be fooled by the New Age packaging; Calvin, author of The River That Flows Uphill ( LJ 3/1/87) and The Throwing Madonna: From Nervous Cells to Hominid Brains ( LJ 7/83), is a neurobiologist and scholar with an exceptional knack for writing to the layperson. The subject here is how our brain cells work in concert to let us think, but the (necessary) neurobiology and chemistry is nicely blended with a friendly voice and the eye of a miniaturist; the author combines the newest work in the field with an engaging and graceful sense of the past, and nothing stops him from accurate and often charming analogies. This is perhaps the only book where Charles Darwin and the Grateful Dead are mentioned in the same chapter. The entire book becomes an example of Calvin's theories about the accretive and evolutionary process of thinking. Excellent for general collections and essential for collections in the social or health sciences.
- Mark L. Shelton, Columbus, Ohio
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc