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Figments of Reality : The Evolution of the Curious Mind - Ian Stewart

Figments of Reality

The Evolution of the Curious Mind

Paperback

Published: 8th November 1999
RRP $58.95
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Peppered with wit and controversial topics, this is a refreshing new look at the co-evolution of mind and culture. Bestselling authors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen (The Collapse of Chaos, 1994) eloquently argue that our minds evolved within an inextricable link with culture and language. They go beyond conventional views of the function and purpose of the mind to look at the ways that the mind is the response of an evolving brain that is constantly adjusting to a complex environment. Along the way they develop new and intriguing insights into the nature of evolution, science, and humanity that will challenge conventional views on consciousness. The esteemed authors tantalize the reader with these bold new outlooks while putting a revolutionary spin on such classic philosophical problems as the nature of free will and the essence of humanity. This clearly written and enjoyable book will inspire any educated reader to critically evaluate the existing notions of the nature of the human mind.

From reviews of the hardback: 'One of the most heartening and innovative books of the year.' John Cornwell, The Sunday Times '[a] provocative, ambitious and enjoyable attempt to ask and answer some of the most interesting Big Questions of modern science and philosophy.' New Scientist 'Stewart and Cohen assault ... all the big questions with gleeful expedition. Figments questions our placidly received wisdom ... is frighteningly readable.' Henry Gee, Nature 'Sparkling science.' Graham Cairns-Smith, author of Evolving the Mind 'The reviewer is certain that everyone will enjoy sharing this journey into the mind, and that they will learn much background science, too.' Irish Astronomical Journal 'The good thing about these two authors is that they are not interested in providing an easy read. They tend to challenge the reader's preconceptions. It is a bumpy ride but always stimulating.' Chris Boyce, The Herald (Glasgow) 'The good thing about these two authors is that they are not interested in providing an easy read. They tend to challenge the reader's preconceptions. It is a bumpy ride but always stimulating.' Chris Boyce, The Herald (Glasgow) ' ... a stimulating and entertaining read.' Biologist ' ... certainly an impressive and significant work. [The authors] have a refreshingly original approach to science. The book is written with a wry humour that carries the reader along. Academics usually write impenetrably; Steward and Cohen's delightful style enables them to explain complex issues in science to the non-specialist.' David V. Barrett, Fortean Times 'The reviewer is certain that everyone will enjoy sharing this journey into the mind, and that they will learn much background science, too.' Irish Astronomical Journal' 'A stimulating theory of how mind, consciousness, and culture have coevolved to create our species by two masters of informed, scientific speculation. Try it, and even if you don't like it you'll learn a lot. Who could ask for more?' John L. Casti ' ... a stimulating and entertaining read.' Biologist 'I would recommend this book for anyone with an interest in events beyond our daily lives.' Rosalind Ramsey, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Preface
Prologue
The origins of life
The reductionist nightmare
Ant country
Winning ways
Universals and parochials
Neural nests
Features great and small
What is it like to be a human?
We wanted to have a chapter on free will, but we decided not to, so here it is
Extelligence
Simplex, complex, multiplex
Epilogue
Notes
Further reading
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521663830
ISBN-10: 0521663830
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 340
Published: 8th November 1999
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.78 x 15.24  x 2.16
Weight (kg): 0.56