CBR book reviews: The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul

The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul

By Dr Francis Crick
Reviewed by:  Jane Evans, PhD Student

In this book, Nobel laureate Francis Crick explores the hypothesis that human consciousness is basically a complex pattern of neurons in your brain. 

The Astonishing Hypothesis is that “You,” your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules“.

Do not expect to be provided with ultimate proof, or answers. A large body of anecdotal and promising evidence is presented, however, as tools to further investigate the hypothesis. Largely based around visual neuroscience, the human visual cortex and neural network computation theory are both the focus of the book. 

Not a light read by any stretch of the imagination, but thoroughly interesting both for insight into progress, as well as limitations and frustrations encountered linking reductionist and philosophical theories.

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