I recently completed a book written by Dr. Antonio Damasio entitled Self Comes to Mind, Constructing the Conscious Brain published in 2010. You may have heard of Dr. Damasio’s previous books Descartes’ Error and  The Feeling of What Happens. He is the author of a number of books, including Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain," published in November, 2010.

               

Dr. Antonio Damasio is a renowned neuroscientist who directs the USC Brain and Creativity Institute. He was previously the Head of Neurology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. His research focuses on the neurobiology of mind and behavior, emphasizing emotion, decision-making, memory, communication, and creativity. Dr. Damasio’s research helps describe the neurological origins of emotions and shows how emotions affect cognition and decision-making. Dr. Damasio is the 2010 winner of the Honda Prize, one of the most important international awards for scientific achievement.

In my continuing study of the brain, I left Self Comes to Mind refreshed with an intricate sense of biological treatment and yet deeply humanizing–real people with serious problems spring to life in the pages, but they are never reduced to their deficits. I found a thorough examination of interior life through lenses of research, medical cases, philosophical analysis, and unashamed introspection.

Publishers Weekly had this to say:

As he has done previously, USC neuroscientist Damasio (Descartes’ Error) explores the process that leads to consciousness. And as he has also done previously, he alternates between some exquisite passages that represent the best popular science has to offer and some technical verbiage that few will be able to follow. He draws meaningful distinctions among points on the continuum from brain to mind, consciousness to self, constantly attempting to understand the evolutionary reasons why each arose and attempting to tie each to an underlying physical reality. Damasio goes to great lengths to explain that many species, such as social insects, have minds, but humans are distinguished by the "autobiographical self," which adds flexibility and creativity, and has led to the development of culture, a "radical novelty" in natural history. Damasio ends with a speculative chapter on the evolutionary process by which mind developed and then gave rise to self. In the Pleistocene, he suggests, humans developed emotive responses to shapes and sounds that helped lead to the development of the arts. Readers fascinated from both a philosophical and scientific perspective with the question of the relationships among brain, mind, and self will be rewarded for making the effort to follow Damasio’s arguments.

Several interviews with Dr. Damasio can be viewed.  Several topics are available including:

How Memory Works

“Consciousness” is How We Know We Exist

How Our Brains Build Our Autobiographies

How Our Brains Feel Emotion

…and others.