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The Ancestry of Reason: How consciousness works, What it achieves, How it evolved

By R G Naylor


RRP £26.00 Special YPDBooks price £12.00 + p&p

It’s perhaps not too hard to conceive that bodies have been shaped by aeons of imperfect duplication of DNA, edited by natural selection. 

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But could our capacity for sensation, emotion and even abstract reason really be the the result of the same process?

Can this mysterious thing we call consciousness be explained as the product of a huge assemblage of nerve-cells? 

The past decades have produced a considerable amount of evidence supporting the idea – evidence about how sensory consciousness happens, what it achieves, and how higher levels of consciousness might have been added to it. There are also some good clues to the areas in which other species enjoy sensory consciousness, and to where it’s absent.

There’s less indication of just how consciousness might have evolved, but it’s possible to lash the evidence together with some intelligent guesswork.

I became interested in the brain, and how its structure must shape our thinking, over forty years ago, and was lucky enough to have time to pursue the subject.

My aim in this book has been to produce a digest of the most pertinent discoveries of neuroscience, one that will be accessible to anyone who is seriously interested in these questions, regardless of their scientific background, or lack of it. For those whose knowledge of science is scanty, forgotten, or out of date, there are brief introductions to relevant disciplines.

 

 

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