Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Terrence Deacon - Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter

It looks like Terrence Deacon, famed author of The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain (1997), the second most cited text in the Language Evolution and Computation Bibliography has a new book out in November this year called "Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter". I don't know to what extent this book will have anything interesting to say about the evolution of language per se, but as it seems to focus on the evolution of cognition, it certainly looks like its well worth a read.

Here's the book description:

A radical new explanation of how life and consciousness emerge from physics and chemistry.

Leading biological anthropologist and neuroscientist Terrence W. Deacon, whose acclaimed book The Symbolic Species explained how the human brain evolved its capacity for language, now offers a radical new approach to the riddle of consciousness. The fact that minds emerged from life and life emerged from inanimate matter leads Deacon to reexamine this mystery from the bottom up. While the same kinds of atoms make up rivers, bacteria, and human brains, Deacon shows how their dynamical relationships produce their different properties. In Incomplete Nature he reveals a missing link: emergent processes that are neither fully mental nor merely material, which provide a bridge connecting the two. He demonstrates how functions, intentions, representations, and values-despite their apparent nonmaterial character-can nevertheless produce physical consequences. Origins of life, information, sentience, meaning, and free will all fall into place in a fully integrated scientific account of the relationship between mind and matter.

1 comment:

Robert Frumkin said...

Just finished Incomplete Nature. It's a great book. It's the book on consciousness that I have been looking for for 20 years.