The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind

“The father of cognitive neuroscience” illuminates the past, present, and future of the mind-brain problem

How do neurons turn into minds? How does physical “stuff”―atoms, molecules, chemicals, and cells―create the vivid and various worlds inside our heads? The problem of consciousness has gnawed at us for millennia. In the last century there have been massive breakthroughs that have rewritten the science of the brain, and yet the puzzles faced by the ancient Greeks are still present. In The Consciousness Instinct, the neuroscience pioneer Michael S. Gazzaniga puts the latest research in conversation with the history of human thinking about the mind, giving a big-picture view of what science has revealed about consciousness.

The idea of the brain as a machine, first proposed centuries ago, has led to assumptions about the relationship between mind and brain that dog scientists and philosophers to this day. Gazzaniga asserts that this model has it backward―brains make machines, but they cannot be reduced to one. New research suggests the brain is actually a confederation of independent modules working together. Understanding how consciousness could emanate from such an organization will help define the future of brain science and artificial intelligence, and close the gap between brain and mind.

Captivating and accessible, with insights drawn from a lifetime at the forefront of the field, The Consciousness Instinct sets the course for the neuroscience of tomorrow.

The Form Within: My Point of View

THE FORM WITHIN is the fascinating story of two hundred years of pioneering brain research, told from the unique perspective of the only brain scientist who has been, and still remains, an active participant in that story throughout the past seventy years: Karl H. Pribram.

In THE FORM WITHIN, Dr. Pribram takes us on a compelling journey from the dawn of our collective “recorded perceptions” in cave paintings to our greatest achievements as a species. He explains the important task of mapping the brain; the discovery of our holographic processing of memory and perception; and the detailed research that has created our understanding of self-organizing biological systems.

Along the way, Pribram shares the intimate interactions he has had with luminaries of twentieth-century science, including David Bohm, Francis Crick, John Eccles, Dennis Gabor, Hubel and Wiesel, Wolfgang Kohler, Karl Lashley, Aleksandr Romanovitch Luria, Ilya Prigogine, B. F. Skinner, Eugene Sokolov, and many others.

But this riveting glimpse into our past is only a part of the story. Pribram also provides us with insightful breakthroughs into a science of the future, and points the way to where our understanding of the brain is headed.


Homelands and Waterways: The American Journey of the Bond Family, 1846-1926

This monumental history traces the rise of a resolute African American family (the author’s own) from privation to the middle class. In doing so, it explodes the stereotypes that have shaped and distorted our thinking about African Americans–both in slavery and in freedom.

Beginning with John Robert Bond, who emigrated from England to fight in the Union Army during the Civil War and married a recently freed slave, Alexander shows three generations of Bonds as they take chances and break new ground.

From Victorian England to antebellum Virginia, from Herman Melville’s New England to the Jim Crow South, from urban race riots to the battlefields of World War I, this fascinating chronicle sheds new light on eighty crucial years in our nation’s troubled history. The Bond family’s rise from slavery, their interaction with prominent figures such as W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, and their eventual, uneasy realization of the American dream shed a great deal of light on our nation’s troubled heritage.

Gettysburg: Crisis of Command (Military Histories)

New illustrated edition with maps and illustrations of the Gettysbug battlefields and generals. This historical narrative of America’s greatest battle examines the course of events and the tensions with the two armies’ commands. The author argues that poor decisions and disputes on both sides nearly led to disater for each. The book makes events clear to even the reader unfamiliar with the strategic and tactical elements of armed combat on a grand scale.

The Magicians (TV Tie-In Edition): A Novel (Magicians Trilogy)

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world, now an original series on SYFY

The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea. . . . Hogwarts was never like this.”
—George R.R. Martin
 
“Sad, hilarious, beautiful, and essential to anyone who cares about modern fantasy.”
—Joe Hill
 
“A very knowing and wonderful take on the wizard school genre.”
—John Green
 
The Magicians may just be the most subversive, gripping and enchanting fantasy novel I’ve read this century.”
—Cory Doctorow

“This gripping novel draws on the conventions of contemporary and classic fantasy novels in order to upend them . . . an unexpectedly moving coming-of-age story.”
—The New Yorker

“The best urban fantasy in years.”
—A.V. Club

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician’s Land, The Magicians is one of the most daring and inventive works of literary fantasy in years. No one who has escaped into the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter should miss this breathtaking return to the landscape of the imagination.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.