Figments of reality: the evolution of the curious mind by Ian Stewart

By Ian Stewart

Peppered with wit and arguable subject matters, it is a clean new examine the co-evolution of brain and tradition. Bestselling authors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen (The cave in of Chaos, 1994) eloquently argue that our minds advanced inside of an inextricable hyperlink with tradition and language. They transcend traditional perspectives of the functionality and function of the brain to examine the ways in which the brain is the reaction of an evolving mind that's always adjusting to a fancy setting. alongside the best way they strengthen new and interesting insights into the character of evolution, technology, and humanity that would problem traditional perspectives on awareness. The esteemed authors tantalize the reader with those daring new outlooks whereas placing a innovative spin on such vintage philosophical difficulties because the nature of unfastened will and the essence of humanity. This in actual fact written and relaxing e-book will motivate any informed reader to significantly overview the prevailing notions of the character of the human brain.

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Sample text

The support team helps DNA to replicate, and the DNA helps to replicate its own 17 the origins of life nucleic acid’ (or ‘deoxyribonucleic acid’ according to taste). DNA forms the figments of reality support team. Recursion often feels disturbing, but how else could a replicative process work? What makes recursive processes disturbing is the feeling that they can never get started – the ‘chicken and egg’ problem. Actually that’s not a serious problem at all, just a case of sloppy thinking caused by incorrectly extrapolating the process backwards.

LtC A continuing educational narrative of some kind, Ringmaster. Based upon a revered / reviled (delete whichever is inapplicable) ancient text. ] R What a fascinating narrative. LtC And such a convincing story. DoF Such vigour and power! Such unified scientific insight! R Not a word out of place, no loose ends – amazing! ] Must be wrong, then. ] Any true story has loose ends all over the place. DoF Not so much loose ends, Ringmaster. Loose surroundings. The contextual element is missing. There is no examination of alternative scenarios, merely a bare linear story-line.

Mind is not just a matter of sophisticated brain structure; it is something that arose through the cultural trick of passing on behaviour through teaching and learning. The contextual element is crucial: mind cannot arise in isolation. Just as life did not appear fully formed, but gradually became from nonlife, so our minds arose gradually among organisms that came to transmit behaviours more and more via learning rather than in the form of instantly accessible hereditary programmes. The main thrust of Figments is to show that the apparently unique features of human imagination, human creativity, and human morality are ‘emergent’ features of complex processes such as evolution and culture: they have not been developed gradually from small beginnings and many important features cannot sensibly be traced back to precursors.

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