Antonio Damasio, Feeling, and the Evolution of Consciousness

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From the Los Angeles Review of Books: In his new book The Strange Order of Things, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio highlights the role of feeling and subjectivity in the evolution of consciousness in human beings and all other species.

“…Damasio’s account is neither simplistic nor reductionist. He is wary of ‘an algorithmic account of humanity,’ one that “implies […] substrate and context independence, inflexibility, and predictability.” He recognizes that while human beings like many other animals are in thrall to the pain-pleasure continuum, our ability not only to image our experiences but to reflect on them releases us from being strictly bound by ‘our genetic inheritance.’ This constitutes our freedom as a species and our ability to collectively address conditions that threaten us as a species. Damasio reflects eloquently on cultural threats and possibilities, although he is not in the business of prediction.”

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