Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind

By Gerald M. Edelman | Go to book overview

PART IV
HARMONIES

This final set of chapters asks about the implications of our new brain theory for human (and some inhuman) concerns. It pleads for an open- mindedness about the mind. It suggests that our knowledge is not incorrigible, that we are deeply embedded in the matter of the world as well as in the matter of the mind, that we are each of us unique as individuals (and importantly so), that our thinking in a culture is a critical matter for our being human and for our grasping of meaning, and that, even in disease, our minds are marvelously adaptive. It also suggests that the time is not hopelessly remote when we may be able to build artifacts that share some of our own psychological properties.

Above all, it suggests that constructing an adequate theory of the brain promises to offer bases for new harmonies, including those according to which we may place ourselves in the universe. In the final chapter, I attempt to answer the question: If one were to name two grand scientific ideas or concepts that together capture how we may ground ourselves and help determine where we are in the order of things, what would those ideas be?

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