Anthropology of the Brain

Consciousness, Culture, and Free Will

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Author: Roger Bartra

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107060362

Category: Medical

Page: 208

View: 857

In this unique exploration of the mysteries of the human brain, Roger Bartra shows that consciousness is a phenomenon that occurs not only in the mind but also in an external network, a symbolic system. He argues that the symbolic systems created by humans in art, language, in cooking or in dress, are the key to understanding human consciousness. Placing culture at the centre of his analysis, Bartra brings together findings from anthropology and cognitive science and offers an original vision of the continuity between the brain and its symbolic environment. The book is essential reading for neurologists, cognitive scientists and anthropologists alike.

Mind, Brain, and Free Will

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Author: Richard Swinburne

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199662576

Category: Philosophy

Page: 242

View: 9217

Richard Swinburne presents a powerful new case for substance dualism and for libertarian free will. He argues that pure mental events (including conscious events) are distinct from physical events and interact with them, and claims that no result from neuroscience or any other science could show that interaction does not take place. Swinburne goes on to argue for agent causation, and claims that it is we, and not our intentions, that cause our brain events. It ismetaphysically possible that each of us could acquire a new brain or continue to exist without a brain; and so we are essentially souls. Brain events and conscious events are so different from each other that it would not be possible to establish a scientific theory which would predict what each ofus would do in situations of moral conflict. Hence, we should believe that things are as they seem to be: that we make choices independently of the causes which influence us. It follows that we are morally responsible for our actions.

Entheogens and the Development of Culture

The Anthropology and Neurobiology of Ecstatic Experience

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Author: John A. Rush

Publisher: North Atlantic Books

ISBN: 1583946241

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 672

View: 2680

Entheogens and the Development of Culture makes the radical proposition that mind-altering substances have played a major part not only in cultural development but also in human brain development. Researchers suggest that we have purposely enhanced receptor sites in the brain, especially those for dopamine and serotonin, through the use of plants and fungi over a long period of time. The trade-off for lowered functioning and potential drug abuse has been more creative thinking--or a leap in consciousness. Experiments in entheogen use led to the development of primitive medicine, in which certain mind-altering plants and fungi were imbibed to still fatigue, pain, or depression, while others were taken to promote hunger and libido. Our ancestors selected for our neural hardware, and our propensity for seeking altered forms of consciousness as a survival strategy may be intimately bound to our decision-making processes going back to the dawn of time. Fourteen essays by a wide range of contributors—including founding president of the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology of Religion section Michael Winkelman, PhD; Carl A. P. Ruck, PhD, Boston University professor of classics and an authority on the ecstatic rituals of the god Dionysus; and world-renowned botanist Dr. Gaston Guzma, member of the Colombian National Academy of Sciences and expert on hallucinogenic mushrooms—demonstrate that altering consciousness continues to be an important part of human experience today. Anthropologists, cultural historians, and anyone interested in the effects of mind-altering substances on the human mind and soul will find this book deeply informative and inspiring. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Social and Cultural Anthropology: The Key Concepts

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Author: Nigel Rapport

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317660811

Category: Social Science

Page: 560

View: 7543

Social and Cultural Anthropology: the Key Concepts is an easy to use A-Z guide to the central concepts that students are likely to encounter in this field. Now fully updated, this third edition includes entries on: Material Culture Environment Human Rights Hybridity Alterity Cosmopolitanism Ethnography Applied Anthropology Gender Cybernetics With full cross-referencing and revised further reading to point students towards the latest writings in Social and Cultural Anthropology, this is a superb reference resource for anyone studying or teaching in this area.

Communing with the Gods

Consciousness, Culture and the Dreaming Brain

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Author: Charles D. Laughlin

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780980711165

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 588

View: 5773

Communing with the Gods presents the most comprehensive account of culture and dreaming available in the anthropology of dreaming, and is written by an anthropologist who is also trained in neuroscience, and who is himself a lucid dreamer and Tibetan Tantric dream yoga practitioner. The book examines the place of dreaming in the experience of peoples from diverse cultures and historical backgrounds. Communing with the Gods surveys anthropological theories of dreaming, what we know about how the brain produces dreams and why, and lucid dream research and how the notion of lucidity applies to dreaming of traditional societies. It explores the ways that societies encourage, evoke, experience and interpret dreams, as well as how people act in response to information obtained in the dream state.A comprehensive theory of brain, culture and dreaming is presented that explains the neurobiological functions of sleep and dreaming, the evolution of dreaming, the universality of, and cultural variation in dream elements, and the role of dreaming as a system of intra-psychic communication. This theory is then applied to an examination of dreaming in modern society. The book discusses how modern dream-work may ameliorate wide-spread alienation, spiritual exhaustion and despair in modern society.

Out of Our Heads

Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness

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Author: Alva Noë

Publisher: Hill and Wang

ISBN: 9781429957199

Category: Science

Page: 232

View: 8055

Alva Noë is one of a new breed—part philosopher, part cognitive scientist, part neuroscientist—who are radically altering the study of consciousness by asking difficult questions and pointing out obvious flaws in the current science. In Out of Our Heads, he restates and reexamines the problem of consciousness, and then proposes a startling solution: Do away with the two hundred-year-old paradigm that places consciousness within the confines of the brain. Our culture is obsessed with the brain—how it perceives; how it remembers; how it determines our intelligence, our morality, our likes and our dislikes. It's widely believed that consciousness itself, that Holy Grail of science and philosophy, will soon be given a neural explanation. And yet, after decades of research, only one proposition about how the brain makes us conscious—how it gives rise to sensation, feeling, and subjectivity—has emerged unchallenged: We don't have a clue. In this inventive work, Noë suggests that rather than being something that happens inside us, consciousness is something we do. Debunking an outmoded philosophy that holds the scientific study of consciousness captive, Out of Our Heads is a fresh attempt at understanding our minds and how we interact with the world around us.

The Biological Mind

How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are

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Author: Alan Jasanoff

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 154164431X

Category: Psychology

Page: 304

View: 354

A pioneering neuroscientist argues that we are more than our brains To many, the brain is the seat of personal identity and autonomy. But the way we talk about the brain is often rooted more in mystical conceptions of the soul than in scientific fact. This blinds us to the physical realities of mental function. We ignore bodily influences on our psychology, from chemicals in the blood to bacteria in the gut, and overlook the ways that the environment affects our behavior, via factors varying from subconscious sights and sounds to the weather. As a result, we alternately overestimate our capacity for free will or equate brains to inorganic machines like computers. But a brain is neither a soul nor an electrical network: it is a bodily organ, and it cannot be separated from its surroundings. Our selves aren't just inside our heads--they're spread throughout our bodies and beyond. Only once we come to terms with this can we grasp the true nature of our humanity.

Neuro

The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind

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Author: Nikolas S. Rose,Joelle M. Abi-Rached

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691149615

Category: Medical

Page: 335

View: 4548

The brain sciences are influencing our understanding of human behavior as never before, from neuropsychiatry and neuroeconomics to neurotheology and neuroaesthetics. Many now believe that the brain is what makes us human, and it seems that neuroscientists are poised to become the new experts in the management of human conduct. Neuro describes the key developments--theoretical, technological, economic, and biopolitical--that have enabled the neurosciences to gain such traction outside the laboratory. It explores the ways neurobiological conceptions of personhood are influencing everything from child rearing to criminal justice, and are transforming the ways we "know ourselves" as human beings. In this emerging neuro-ontology, we are not "determined" by our neurobiology: on the contrary, it appears that we can and should seek to improve ourselves by understanding and acting on our brains. Neuro examines the implications of this emerging trend, weighing the promises against the perils, and evaluating some widely held concerns about a neurobiological "colonization" of the social and human sciences. Despite identifying many exaggerated claims and premature promises, Neuro argues that the openness provided by the new styles of thought taking shape in neuroscience, with its contemporary conceptions of the neuromolecular, plastic, and social brain, could make possible a new and productive engagement between the social and brain sciences. Copyright note: Reproduction, including downloading of Joan Miro works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Connections

Brain, Mind, and Culture in a Social Anthropology

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Author: Stephen P. Reyna

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 9780415271547

Category: Social Science

Page: 220

View: 6981

Reyna crosses subject boundaries to deal with topics of culture, the social, the brain, mind, causality, anthropological and social theory, so will be a resource for many different students.

Free Will and Consciousness

How Might They Work?

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Author: Roy Baumeister,Alfred Mele,Kathleen Vohs

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019538976X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 225

View: 8119

This volume is aimed at readers who wish to move beyond debates about the existence of free will and the efficacy of consciousness and closer to appreciating how free will and consciousness might operate. It draws from philosophy and psychology, the two fields that have grappled most fundamentally with these issues. In this wide-ranging volume, the contributors explore such issues as how free will is connected to rational choice, planning, and self-control; roles for consciousness in decision making; the nature and power of conscious deciding; connections among free will, consciousness, and quantum mechanics; why free will and consciousness might have evolved; how consciousness develops in individuals; the experience of free will; effects on behavior of the belief that free will is an illusion; and connections between free will and moral responsibility in lay thinking. Collectively, these state-of-the-art chapters by accomplished psychologists and philosophers provide a glimpse into the future of research on free will and consciousness.

Behave

The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

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Author: Robert M. Sapolsky

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0735222789

Category: Science

Page: 800

View: 5494

Why do we do the things we do? Over a decade in the making, this game-changing book is Robert Sapolsky's genre-shattering attempt to answer that question as fully as perhaps only he could, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its genetic inheritance. And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. What goes on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happens? Then he pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell triggers the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones act hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli which trigger the nervous system? By now, he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened. Sapolsky keeps going--next to what features of the environment affected that person's brain, and then back to the childhood of the individual, and then to their genetic makeup. Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than that one individual. How culture has shaped that individual's group, what ecological factors helped shape that culture, and on and on, back to evolutionary factors thousands and even millions of years old. The result is one of the most dazzling tours de horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.

Self Comes to Mind

Constructing the Conscious Brain

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Author: Antonio Damasio

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 030747495X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 398

View: 8791

A leading neuroscientist addresses key questions about the origins and mechanisms of human consciousness, drawing on decades of research to challenge beliefs about the separateness of consciousness from the body while presenting a revisionist perspective built on traditional approaches. By the author of Descartes' Error. Reprint.

Bridges to Consciousness

Complexes and complexity

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Author: Nancy M. Krieger

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134089678

Category: Psychology

Page: 202

View: 1775

This book investigates consciousness as an emergent state arising from the global functioning of the brain and the body. In this research Krieger applies these concepts to analytical psychology, particularly to the constellation of the complex and of the archetype. Global brain functioning is considered as a complex system whose macroscopic, emergent patterns such as thoughts and behaviours are determined by physical parameters including emotion, memory, and perception. The concept of the feeling-toned complex was among the first of the theories to be developed by Jung, and the theories of complexity and dynamical systems which subsequently developed in the physical sciences did not exist at the time. This book takes a new look at the feeling-toned complex as a basin of attraction which competes for consciousness against other complexes to determine behaviour. By drawing parallels between current ideas in neuroscience and Jung’s more traditional theories, Krieger discusses the relevance for both psychotherapy and everyday life. Bridges to Consciousness considers the importance of the link between emotion and the complex in both the establishment of consciousness and the determination of self-esteem, making the work relevant to therapists and analysts. This book will also awaken interest in complexes in both the Jungian and wider neuroscientific research communities and will therefore interest researchers and academics in the field of psychology who want an insight into how the ideas of Jung can be applied beyond the traditional analytic field.

The Origin of Mind

Evolution of Brain, Cognition, and General Intelligence

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Author: David C. Geary

Publisher: Amer Psychological Assn

ISBN: 9781591471813

Category: Medical

Page: 459

View: 3773

"Geary also explores a number of issues that are of interest in modern society, including how general intelligence relates to academic achievement, occupational status, and income."--BOOK JACKET.

Quantum Information and Consciousness

A Gentle Introduction

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Author: Danko D. Georgiev

Publisher: CRC Press

ISBN: 1351401777

Category: Science

Page: 344

View: 618

"I loved the book! This book is not just interesting, it is exciting. I have probably read every significant book in the field, and this is the strongest and most convincing one yet. It is also one of the most comprehensive in its explanations. I shall most certainly recommend the book to colleagues." –Richard G. Petty, MD "a very good introduction to the basic theory of quantum systems.... Dr. Georgiev’s book aptly prepares the reader to confront whatever might be in store later." –from the Foreword by Prof. James F. Glazebrook, Eastern Illinois University This book addresses the fascinating cross-disciplinary field of quantum information theory applied to the study of brain function. It offers a self-study guide to probe the problems of consciousness, including a concise but rigorous introduction to classical and quantum information theory, theoretical neuroscience, and philosophy of the mind. It aims to address long-standing problems related to consciousness within the framework of modern theoretical physics in a comprehensible manner that elucidates the nature of the mind-body relationship. The reader also gains an overview of methods for constructing and testing quantum informational theories of consciousness.

The Electric Meme

A New Theory of How We Think

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Author: Robert Aunger

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476740569

Category: Science

Page: 400

View: 7450

From biology to culture to the new new economy, the buzzword on everyone's lips is "meme." How do animals learn things? How does human culture evolve? How does viral marketing work? The answer to these disparate questions and even to what is the nature of thought itself is, simply, the meme. For decades researchers have been convinced that memes were The Next Big Thing for the understanding of society and ourselves. But no one has so far been able to define what they are. Until now. Here, for the first time, Robert Aunger outlines what a meme physically is, how memes originated, how they developed, and how they have made our brains into their survival systems. They are thoughts. They are parasites. They are in control. A meme is a distinct pattern of electrical charges in a node in our brains that reproduces a thousand times faster than a bacterium. Memes have found ways to leap from one brain to another. A number of them are being replicated in your brain as you read this paragraph. In 1976 the biologist Richard Dawkins suggested that all animals -- including humans -- are puppets and that genes hold the strings. That is, we are robots serving as life support for the genes that control us. And all they want to do is replicate themselves. But then, we do lots of things that don't seem to help genes replicate. We decide not to have children, we waste our time doing dangerous things like mountain climbing, or boring things like reading, or stupid things like smoking that don't seem to help genes get copied into the next generation. We do all sorts of cultural things for reasons that don't seem to have anything to do with genes. Fashions in sports, books, clothes, ideas, politics, lifestyles come and go and give our lives meaning, so how can we be gene robots? Dawkins recognized that something else was going on. We communicate with one another and we get ideas, and these ideas seem to have a life of their own. Maybe there was something called memes that were like thought genes. Maybe our bodies were gene robots and our minds were meme robots. That would mean that what we think is not the result of our own creativity, but rather the result of the evolutionary flow of memes as they wash through us. What is the biological reality of an idea with a life of its own? What is a thought gene? It's a meme. And no one before Robert Aunger has established what it physically must be. This elegant, paradigm-shifting analysis identifies how memes replicate in our brains, how they evolved, and how they use artifacts like books and photographs and advertisements to get from one brain to another. Destined to inflame arguments about free will, open doors to new ways of sharing our thoughts, and provide a revolutionary explanation of consciousness, The Electric Meme will change the way each of us thinks about our minds, our cultures, and our daily choices.

Brain, Symbol & Experience

Toward a Neurophenomenology of Human Consciousness

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Author: Charles D. Laughlin,John McManus,Eugene G. D'Aquili

Publisher: Shambhala Publications

ISBN: N.A

Category: Philosophy

Page: 403

View: 4906

The Conscious Mind

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Author: Zoltan Torey

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262319314

Category: Philosophy

Page: 208

View: 7569

How did the human mind emerge from the collection of neurons that makes up the brain? How did the brain acquire self-awareness, functional autonomy, language, and the ability to think, to understand itself and the world? In this volume in the Essential Knowledge series, Zoltan Torey offers an accessible and concise description of the evolutionary breakthrough that created the human mind. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and linguistics, Torey reconstructs the sequence of events by which Homo erectus became Homo sapiens. He describes the augmented functioning that underpins the emergent mind -- a new ("off-line") internal response system with which the brain accesses itself and then forms a selection mechanism for mentally generated behavior options. This functional breakthrough, Torey argues, explains how the animal brain's "awareness" became self-accessible and reflective -- that is, how the human brain acquired a conscious mind. Consciousness, unlike animal awareness, is not a unitary phenomenon but a composite process. Torey's account shows how protolanguage evolved into language, how a brain subsystem for the emergent mind was built, and why these developments are opaque to introspection. We experience the brain's functional autonomy, he argues, as free will. Torey proposes that once life began, consciousness had to emerge -- because consciousness is the informational source of the brain's behavioral response. Consciousness, he argues, is not a newly acquired "quality," "cosmic principle," "circuitry arrangement," or "epiphenomenon," as others have argued, but an indispensable working component of the living system's manner of functioning.

The Mystery of Consciousness

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Author: John R. Searle,Daniel Clement Dennett,David John Chalmers

Publisher: New York Review of Books

ISBN: 9780940322066

Category: Philosophy

Page: 224

View: 981

It has long been one of the most fundamental problems of philosophy, and it is now, John Searle writes, "the most important problem in the biological sciences": What is consciousness? Is my inner awareness of myself something separate from my body? In what began as a series of essays in The New York Review of Books, John Searle evaluates the positions on consciousness of such well-known scientists and philosophers as Francis Crick, Gerald Edelman, Roger Penrose, Daniel Dennett, David Chalmers, and Israel Rosenfield. He challenges claims that the mind works like a computer, and that brain functions can be reproduced by computer programs. With a sharp eye for confusion and contradiction, he points out which avenues of current research are most likely to come up with a biological examination of how conscious states are caused by the brain. Only when we understand how the brain works will we solve the mystery of consciousness, and only then will we begin to understand issues ranging from artificial intelligence to our very nature as human beings.

Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics

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Author: Judy Illes,Barbara J. Sahakian

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191620912

Category: Medical

Page: 976

View: 2357

The past two decades have seen unparalleled developments in our knowledge of the brain and mind. However, these advances have forced us to confront head-on some significant ethical issues regarding our application of this information in the real world- whether using brain images to establish guilt within a court of law, or developing drugs to enhance cognition. Historically, any consideration of the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging technologies in science and medicine has lagged behind the discovery of the technology itself. These delays have caused problems in the acceptability and potential applications of biomedical advances and posed significant problems for the scientific community and the public alike - for example in the case of genetic screening and human cloning. The field of Neuroethics aims to proactively anticipate ethical, legal and social issues at the intersection of neuroscience and ethics, raising questions about what the brain tells us about ourselves, whether the information is what people want or ought to know, and how best to communicate it. A landmark in the academic literature, the Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics presents a pioneering review of a topic central to the sciences and humanities. It presents a range of chapters considering key issues, discussion, and debate at the intersection of brain and ethics. The handbook contains more than 50 chapters by leaders from around the world and a broad range of sectors of academia and clinical practice spanning the neurosciences, medical sciences and humanities and law. The book focuses on and provides a platform for dialogue of what neuroscience can do, what we might expect neuroscience will do, and what neuroscience ought to do. The major themes include: consciousness and intention; responsibility and determinism; mind and body; neurotechnology; ageing and dementia; law and public policy; and science, society and international perspectives. Tackling some of the most significant ethical issues that face us now and will continue to do so over the coming decades, The Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics will be an essential resource for the field of neuroethics for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, basic scientists in the neurosciences and psychology, scholars in humanities and law, as well as physicians practising in the areas of primary care in neurological medicine.