Gerald M. Edelman

Wider than the Sky Publication date : May 18, 2004

“The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease and you beside”,
wrote the American poet Emily Dickinson in the mid-nineteenth century. The fundamental mechanisms governing mental life are now the subject of scientific study. In this book, Gerald Edelman examines a major aspect of the mind - consciousness.
How can the firing of neurons give rise to subjective sensations, thoughts and emotions? How can the disparate domains of mind and body be reconciled? A scientific explanation of consciousness must take into account the causal connections between these two domains. Such a theory must show how the neural bases of consciousness appeared during the evolutionary process and how certain animals developed consciousness. These are some of the key issues that Gerald Edelman examines here.
He shows that consciousness cannot be located in a specific area of the brain, because it is a process linked to how the brain functions as a whole, to its wealth of connections and to its great complexity. The brain, he argues, is not a kind of computer.
Edelman is regarded as one of the greatest theoreticians of the brain, and his notion of consciousness dominates all discussions on the subject among the international scientific community.
This book offers the most accessible version of his theories that is available today.

The winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Gerald Edelman heads the Institute for Neurosciences, in La Jolla, California.