This title is printed in full color throughout.From one of the most original and influential neuroscientists at work today, here is an exploration of consciousness unlike any other--as told by Galileo, who opened the way for the objectivity of science and is now intent on making subjective experience a part of science as well. Read more...
This title is printed in full color throughout.From one of the most original and influential neuroscientists at work today, here is an exploration of consciousness unlike any other--as told by Galileo, who opened the way for the objectivity of science and is now intent on making subjective experience a part of science as well. Galileo's journey has three parts, each with a different guide. In the first, accompanied by a scientist who resembles Francis Crick, he learns why certain parts of the brain are important and not others, and why consciousness fades with sleep. In the second part, when his companion seems to be named Alturi (Galileo is hard of hearing; his companion's name is actually Alan Turing), he sees how the facts assembled in the first part can be unified and understood through a scientific theory--a theory that links consciousness to the notion of integrated information (also known as phi). In the third part, accompanied by a bearded man who can only be Charles Darwin, he meditates on how consciousness is an evolving, developing, ever-deepening awareness of ourselves in history and culture--that it is everything we have and everything we are. Not since Godel, Escher, Bach has there been a book that interweaves science, art, and the imagination with such originality. This beautiful and arresting narrative will transform the way we think of ourselves and the world.
- ISBN-13: 9780307907219
- ISBN-10: 030790721X
- Publisher: Pantheon Books
- Publish Date: August 2012
- Page Count: 364
- Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.43 x 1.19 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.44 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-05-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Both playful and philosophical, this extravagant book addresses questions about the root of consciousness in a unique way to illustrate Tononi’s innovative view of consciousness in terms of information theory, the brain as an integrated network of signals. Professor of neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, Tononi takes an aging Galileo—and the reader—on a complex intellectual journey in three parts, each led by a prominent scientist. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, shows Galileo how various portions of the human brain function, both separately and together. Alan Turing, a founder of the science of artificial intelligence, helps Galileo understand how to link these facts into “a scientific theory of consciousness.” Galileo’s third guide is Charles Darwin, who explores how consciousness is evolving. Tononi provides notes at the end of each chapter that expand on the themes raised, and in a voice separate from that of the text’s narrator; for example, the book ends with an arcane symbol, and the note comments that this symbol “must hold some great significance to the author but could not be deciphered.” The book is a visual delight as well as an impressive read, its lavish artwork and literary references demonstrating just how fully complementary art and science can be. (Aug)