Thursday, July 5, 2007

Understanding the Brain / Knowing the Mind

Can the brain ever truly understand itself? Is there a distinction between understanding the brain and knowing the mind? Are those traits that we perceive to be uniquely human, traits such as creativity or altruism or spirituality, dependent upon attributes unique to the human brain? Is it consciousness that makes us fully human, or do we share consciousness with many other creatures? How is it possible that the human brain, probably the most complex and sophisticated object in the universe, could have arisen in a world so often characterized by chaos? Has the human brain changed over time and will it continue to change? Did the brain evolve or was it necessarily created in its final form? Are the mechanisms of mutation and natural selection adequate to explain the human brain, or do they fall woefully short? How can we explain what we are?

From "The Evolving Brain," Preface

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