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Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us…
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Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique (original 2009; udgave 2008)

af Michael S. Gazzaniga (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
363854,240 (3.66)3
One of the world's leading neuroscientists explores how best to understand the human condition by examining the biological, psychological, and highly social nature of our species within the social context of our lives. In Human, Gazzaniga explores a number of related issues, including what makes human brains unique, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.… (mere)
Medlem:nlmii
Titel:Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique
Forfattere:Michael S. Gazzaniga (Forfatter)
Info:Ecco (2008), Edition: 1, 464 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:***
Nøgleord:biology

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Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique af Michael S. Gazzaniga (2009)

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Viser 1-5 af 8 (næste | vis alle)
This book is quite good. It describes recent (circa 2008) developments in neurology, neuroscience, anthropology and other fields of interest to describe the differences between people and animals. It tries to answer the question of what makes human beings unique. Michael S. Gazzaniga describes most of the current theories and either tears them apart or supports them with evidence. Of course, this book is a bit old and neuroscience is pretty far on the edge of new science, so it is probably already dated in most cases.

In any case, it was well written and engaging. The book also discusses robot butlers and advanced AI, glancing over the requirements for such a device and what would be required to compute such a massive subject. For instance, recognizing faces is a Holy Grail of sorts. A human brain is specifically built to recognize faces and can probably recognize thousands in all sorts of poses and positions. Most faces can be recognized in a few seconds or less; computers would take many times longer and must recalculate each time the face shifts position. Although computers have bested humans in some things, they probably won't be able to do everything that we can do anytime soon. When Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov it was not aware of the history of chess, or anything other than pure calculation. It was a machine specifically designed to do one thing and one thing only. Meanwhile, Garry Kasparov can appreciate sunsets and cook ramen noodles, and beat me at chess. Not that beating me in chess is a great accomplishment.

Also up there is the idea of downloading your consciousness into a robot body and living forever, DNA manipulation and other things that are so far out there, they become the stuff of science fiction.

I would certainly read this book again. Perhaps I should read some articles about this subject. I am sure they advanced even further. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
If you're going to read this book, bring a map of the brain's various areas, names and associated functions. Otherwise, it's hard to track all the research that the author summarizes. Gazzaniga is a confirmed materialist, with the belief that what the brain does physically is all there is. He assesses what we know of animal brain function and asks how humans are different and unique. He understands self-awareness as an "emerging" from the complex of lower level functions of consciousness. In this, he is in agreement with Douglas Hofstader (and many others) on the nature of self-consciousness. While he mentions Roger Penrose once, he never addresses Penrose's contention that chemical and neurological processes are simply too slow to account for self-awareness. While much work has been done to associate perception, emotion and cognition to various areas of the brain, it is clear that we still don't know how and why the brain works the way it does. My impression is that while much has been learned in the last several decades -- with some wonderful practical results -- we have only scratched the surface.
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
I find Gazzaniga a very engaging writer, even in textbook, and this volume is no exception. As the title states, what Gazzaniga is after is precisely what is that makes our special kind of primate human. Answering this question is by no means trivial, of course, and you need to know a lot about animals to navigate among what characteristics are uniquely human: is it empathy? or possessing a theory of mind? or is it enjoying art?

Gazzaniga goes over this skilfully and pleasantly - the only aspect which tempered my enjoyment somewhat is the attempt to explain how behaviours link to brain structure and function: here I think he does not succeed as he does in [b:Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology Of The Mind|1656310|Cognitive Neuroscience The Biology Of The Mind|Michael S. Gazzaniga|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1186443720s/1656310.jpg|325236], as of course he does not have the space, and he decides not to go for pictures, so that in the end this is lost on the reader (or at least on this reader :-) ) - which was frustrating for me, as I could see the various elements would construct a clearer picture if only I could understand the biology of the brain better, whereas for me these elements remained a collection of very interesting but somewhat disconnected experimental results. Nevertheless, a very enjoyable and instructive read. ( )
  PaolaM | Mar 31, 2013 |
Uno de los mejores libros que he leído sobre nosotros mismos. Indispensable para entendernos como especie. ( )
  fernando78 | Oct 6, 2010 |
While there's some interesting science presented here, I found this book to be somewhat of a disappointment. Gazzaniga seems to change his mind about his own thesis several times, and relates evidence both on and against human evolutionary uniqueness. The chapters are broken up into choppy little segments and each section is densely packed with information, at the point of sometimes repeating (or perhaps it just seems to repeat, as it is all so similar). Normally I like details, but this book could use some generalizing, and a good deal of editing. The brain is fascinating; this book, for me, was boring. I would only recommend it if you're really interested in neuropsychology and maybe have a stronger science background than I. ( )
  allthesedarnbooks | Feb 14, 2009 |
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One of the world's leading neuroscientists explores how best to understand the human condition by examining the biological, psychological, and highly social nature of our species within the social context of our lives. In Human, Gazzaniga explores a number of related issues, including what makes human brains unique, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.

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