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Hardcover | $16.75 Short | £14.95 | 392 pp. | 6 x 9 in | June 1999 | ISBN: 9780262201155
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The Race for Consciousness


There is a sense among scientists that the time is finally ripe for the problem of consciousness to be solved once and for all. The development of new experimental and theoretical tools for probing the brain has produced an atmosphere of unparalleled optimism that the job can now be done properly: The race for consciousness is on!

In this book, John Taylor describes the complete scene of entries, riders, gamblers, and racecourses. He presents his own entry into the race, which he has been working on for the past twenty-five years—the relational theory of consciousness, according to which consciousness is created through the relations between brain states, especially those involving memories of personal experiences. Because it is an ongoing and adaptive process, consciousness emerges from past brain activity. It is this highly subtle and delicate process of emergence that leads to the complexity of consciousness. Taylor does not just present another theory of consciousness, but makes comprehensible the nuts-and-bolts methodology behind the myriad attempts to win the race.

About the Author

John G. Taylor is Emeritus Professor and Director, Centre for Neural Networks, Kings College, University of London, and Guest Scientist, Institute of Medicine, Research Centre, Juelich, Germany. He has published more than four hundred papers in quantum field theory, elementary particle physics, string theory, neural networks, time series, pattern recognition, and cognitive neuroscience. He is also a prominent debunker of pseudoscience.


“John Taylor has run a notable lap in the race for a theory of consciousness, spurred on by 'memory' and 'competition.' He roots consciousness in the relation between current experience and past memories, and presents a grand synthesis of computational and empirical neuroscience in defining the higher-order control of his 'competitive relational consciousness sytems.'”
Michael Arbib, Editor, The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks