November 12, 2010

LISTEN To This (22 min.) Story HERE:

Why do humans have consciousness? In his new book, Self Comes To Mind, neurologist Antonio Damasio argues that consciousness gave humans an evolutionary advantage. Damasio describes the differences between self and mind, and traces the evolutionary path of the human brain.

You're listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY. Up next this hour, a look at consciousness: defining consciousness, figuring out how it evolved, where it resides in the brain that may make quantum entanglement seem easy, in retrospect. Why do we have the ability to think about the past or to plan for the future? Where do we get the ability to create works of art, to be moved by a piece of beautiful music or to feel bad when someone says something hurtful?

All of these things are possible because of, yeah, consciousness. But knowing that doesn't explain why we have consciousness or how it evolved or what purpose it serves. My next guest has been tackling these questions for 30 years, and he says in his new book he has grown dissatisfied even with his own account of the problem. He's written a new book of telling us why, and he's here to tell us about his thinking on consciousness and why it has changed.

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