Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On The Matter Of The Mind by Gerald M. Edelman

By Gerald M. Edelman

We are at the verge of a revolution in neuroscience as major because the Galilean revolution in physics or the Darwinian revolution in biology. Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman takes factor with the various present cognitive and behavioral techniques to the mind that go away biology out of the image, and argues that the workings of the mind extra heavily resemble the residing ecology of a jungle than they do the actions of a working laptop or computer. a few startling conclusions emerge from those rules: individuality is inevitably on the very heart of what it ability to have a brain, no creature is born value-free, and no actual idea of the universe can declare to be a ”theory of every thing” with out together with an account of ways the mind supplies upward push to the brain. there isn't any larger clinical problem than figuring out the mind. Bright Air, superb Fire is a booklet that gives a window on that understanding.

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The 18 The Matter of the Mind brain might be said to be in touch more with itself than with anything else. As mentioned, the major meansof connection is the synapse,a specializedstructure in which electrical activity passed down the axon of the presynapticneuron (figure 3-2) leads to the release of a chemical (called a neurotransmitter) that in tum induces electrical activity in the postsynaptic neuron. As is suggested in the figure, the strength or efficacy of synapses can be changed-presynaptically by changesin the amount and the delivery of transmitter,and postsynaptically by the alteration of the chemical state of receptors and ion channels,the units on the postsynaptic side that bind transmittersand let ions carrying electrical charge (such as calcium ions) through to the inside of the cell.

Notice selection against increases in the fitness bodies. individual and his behavior. What we need to understand are the rules connecting the ways in which genes are sorted and expressedwith the ways in which genes lead to changesin the phenotype (figure 5-3). This is a formidable tash one that is only partly completed. While Darwin did not grasp the correct genetic mechanisms,he got the principle right. He understood,for example,that phenotypic resemblances between the emotional expressionsof certain animalsand those of human beings were likely.

Eventually,the extremeposition the study of stimulus-response that the only scientific study possible in psychology was the "-"rguj study-of behavior. As enunciatedby Iohn Watson, behaviorism left consciousness,introspective reports, and the like outside the pale. The fiercest latter-day advocate of this position was B. F. Skinner, who extensively urplor"d- the phenomunonoi operant conditioning. This behavior is then reinforcedby repeatedreward') Many tefined chains of behavior were analyzedusing behavioral techniques.

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