Good introductory books

Thu Mar 12 17:18:00 EST 1992

        There's been some talk about good basic introductory books about the
functional biology of the brain. There are a couple of very interesting
philosophy of mind books that make a very interesting attempt at integrating
what we know about neurobiology with neuropsychology, and are pretty readable to
someone not terribly familiar with either field.
Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain
Patricia Smith Churchland, MIT Press, 1986, 546 pages

	This book is a sentimental favorite of mine, having been a text for
the Neurophilosophy class I took that pretty well changed my life. It can be a 
little dense at points, but it survays a lot of interesting ground not often
discussed in the literature. It's section on phase space sandwiches is worth 
the price of the book by itself. It also convincingly trashes the idea of an 
immaterial soul; great fodder for dinner conversations with your fundamentalist 

Conciousness Explained
Daniel C. Dennett, Little, Brown; 1991, 512 pages.

	Probably one of the best books I've read in the neurosciences ever, 
Dennett ventures far into terriories that most people won't even touch. Among 
other things, he comes up with the only coherant explanation for hallucinations 
I've seen. This book is trying to ask the Big Question that got most of us in 
this field in the first place: what does it mean to be human, and what's it 
like, anyway? He deals with the question of subjective and objective experience 
in a way that is absolutely neccessary to be versed in; the next crop of 
undergrads (myself included) certainly is going to be.

	Well that's my spiel. Enjoy!

							-Ben Waggoner,
							 Hampshire College

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