Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter

Terrence W. Deacon

Leading biological anthropologist and neuroscientist Terrence W. Deacon, whose acclaimed book The Symbolic Species explained how the human brain evolved its capacity for language, now offers a radical new approach to the riddle of consciousness. The fact that minds emerged from life and life emerged from inanimate matter leads Deacon to reexamine this mystery from the bottom up. While the same kinds of atoms make up rivers, bacteria, and human brains, Deacon shows how their dynamical relationships produce their different properties. In Mind from Matter he reveals a missing link: emergent processes that are neither fully mental nor merely material, which provide a bridge connecting the two. He demonstrates how functions, intentions, representations, and values despite their apparent nonmaterial character can nevertheless produce physical consequences. Origins of life, information, sentience, meaning, and free will all fall into place in a fully integrated scientific account of the relationship between mind and matter.

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