How Brains Think
Evolving Intelligence, Then and Now
By (author) William H. Calvin
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How Brains Think by William H. Calvin
Book DescriptionIf you're good at finding the one right answer to life's multiple-choice questions, you're "smart." But "intelligence" is what you need when contemplating the leftovers in the refrigerator, trying to figure out what might go with them; or if you're trying to speak a sentence that you've never spoken before. As Jean Piaget said, intelligence is what you use when you don't know what to do, when all the standard answers are inadequate. This book tries to fathom how our inner life evolves from one topic to another, as we create and reject alternatives. Ever since Darwin, we've known that elegant things can emerge (indeed, self-organize) from "simpler" beginnings. And, says theoretical neurophysiologist William H. Calvin, the bootstrapping of new ideas works much like the immune response or the evolution of a new animal species--except that the brain can turn the Darwinian crank a lot faster, on the time scale of thought and action. Drawing on anthropology, evolutionary biology, linguistics, and the neurosciences, Calvin also considers how a more intelligent brain developed using slow biological improvements over the last few million years. Long ago, evolving jack-of-all trades versatility was encouraged by abrupt climate changes. Now, evolving intelligence uses a nonbiological track: augmenting human intelligence and building intelligent machines.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780465072781
(203mm x 135mm x 12mm)
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 16-Aug-1997
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author William H. Calvin
Global Fever, Hardback (April 2008)
Every decade since 1950 has seen more floods and more wildfires on every continent. Deserts are expanding, coral reefs are dying, fisheries are declining, and hurricanes are strengthening. Global warming has made the Earth sick. This book delivers a diagnosis and a prescription.
Brain for All Seasons, Paperback (November 2003)
In this travelogue, William H. Calvin takes us around the globe and back in time, showing how such cycles of cool, crash and burn provided the impetus for enormous increases in the intelligence and complexity of human beings.
Lingua Ex Machina, Paperback (October 2001)» View all books by William H. Calvin
This book presents an engaging challenge to those who view the human capacity for language as a winner-take-all war between Chomsky and Darwin.
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Author Biography - William H. Calvin
William H. Calvin is a theoretical neurophysiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of nine books, including The Cerebral Code, The River That Flows Uphill, and, with the neurosurgeon George A. Ojemann, Conversations with Neil's Brain.
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