Yet again we have a nice collection of new books that we have received from different publishers. While we are trying to get through them, amidst the piles of work, we thought it would be a good idea to let you know about the books.
Hard science, hard choices: facts, ethics, and policies guiding brain science today, by Ackerman
Advances in neuroscience research are rapidly bringing new and complex issues to the forefront of medical and social ethics, and scholars from diverse fields have been coming together to debate the issues at stake. Acclaimed science writer, Sandra Ackerman witnessed one such gathering, and here she skilfully synthesizes those proceedings into a concise presentation of the challenges that neuroscience and neuroethics currently face. Top scholars and scientists in neuroscience and ethics convened at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in May, 2005. They included Michael Gazzaniga, director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College; Marcus Raichle of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Harvard University provost Steven Hyman; Judy Illes, co-founder of the Stanford Brain Research Center; University of Virginia bioethicist Jonathan Moreno; Stacey Tovino of the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center; and Stanford law professor Hank Greely. Ackerman weaves the invigorating arguments and discussions among these and other prominent scholars into a seamless and dynamic narrative. She reveals the wide array of issues that have emerged from recent research, including brain imaging, free will and personal responsibility, disease diagnosis and prediction, brain enhancement, and the potential social, political, and legal ramifications of new discoveries. Translating these complex arguments into an engrossing account of neuroethics, she offers a rare view of science – and ethics – in the making.
Read more here.
The Primordial Emotions — The dawning of consciousness, by Derek Denton
To understand what is happening in the brain in the moment you decide, at will, to summon to consciousness a passage of Mozart’s music, or decide to take a deep breath, is like trying to “catch a phantom by the tail”. Consciousness remains that most elusive of all human phenomena – one so mysterious, one that even our highly developed knowledge of brain function can only partly explain. This book is unique in tracing the origins of consciousness. It takes the investigation back many years in an attempt to uncover just how consciousness might have first emerged. Consciousness did not develop suddenly in humans – it evolved gradually. In ‘The Primordial Emotions’, Derek Denton, a world renowned expert on animal instinct and a leader in integrative physiology, investigates the evolution of consciousness. Central to the book is the idea that the primal emotions – elements of instinctive behaviour – were the first dawning of consciousness. Throughout he examines instinctive behaviours, such as hunger for air, hunger for minerals, thirst, and pain, arguing that the emotions elicited from these behaviours and desire for gratification culminated in the first conscious states. To develop the theory he looks at behaviour at different levels of the evolutionary tree, for example of octopuses, fish, snakes, birds, and elephants. Coupled with findings from neuroimaging studies, and the viewpoints on consciousness from some of the key figures in philosophy and neuroscience, the book presents an accessible and groundbreaking new look at the problem of consciousness.
Read more here.
Handbook of binding and memory, edited by Zimmer, Mecklinger & Lindenberger
The creation and consolidation of a memory can rest on the integration of any number of possibly disparate features and contexts – colour, sound, emotion, arousal, context. How is it that these bind together to form a coherent memory? What is the role of binding in memory formation? What are the neural processes that underlie binding? Do these binding processes change with age?
This book offers an unrivalled overview of one of the most debated hotspots of modern memory research: binding. It contains 28 chapters on binding in different domains of memory, presenting classic research from the field of cognitive neuroscience. It is written by renowned scientists and leaders in the field who have made fundamental contributions to the rapidly expanding field of neurocognitive memory research. As well as presenting a state-of-the-art account of recent views on binding and its importance for remembering, it also includes a review of recent publications in the area, of benefit to both students and active researchers. More than just a survey, it supplies the reader with an integrative view on binding in memory, fostering deep insights not only into the processes and their determinants, but also into the neural mechanisms enabling these processes.
The content also encompasses a wide range of binding-related topics, including feature binding, the binding of items and contexts during encoding and retrieval, the specific roles of familiarity and recollection, as well as task- and especially age-related changes in these processes. A major section is dedicated to in-depth analyses of underlying neural mechanisms, focusing on both medial temporal and prefrontal structures. Computational approaches are covered as well.
For all students and researchers in memory, the book will not only enhance their understanding of binding, but will instigate innovative and pioneering ideas for future research.
Read more here.
The re-emergence of emergence, by Clayton & Davies
This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. It provides the clearest explication yet of this exciting new theory of science, which challenges the reductionist approach by proposing the continuous emergence of novel phenomena.