A History of the Mind

Nicholas Humphrey, Author Simon & Schuster $21.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-68644-4
In a highly stimulating, unorthodox inquiry that cuts across many disciplines, experimental psychologist Humphrey argues that raw sensation, not thought, is the central fact of consciousness. Furthermore, he claims, mental activities other than the five senses enter consciousness only when accompanied by ``reminders'' of sensation, as with mental imagery. Humphrey ( Consciousness Regained ) posits two separate channels of the mind--one for sensation or subjective feelings, another for perception or objective knowledge of the external world. These two channels are said to employ very different styles of information processing: ``analog'' processing of sensations leads to pictorial images, while ``digital'' processing of perception yields propositions. Lightening his often technical discussion with thought experiments, drawings and illustrative examples from authors ranging from Lewis Carroll to Aldous Huxley, Humphrey sketches an evolutionary history of the mind, from ameboid wriggles in the primeval soup onward. Conscious feeling, he stresses, is a form of intentional doing, creating the thick moment of the subjective present. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-06-097556-2
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-0-387-98719-4
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