Edelman’s Second Nature

Gerald Edelman has written yet another book about consciousness, whose title is Second Nature. There is a fairly entertaining review of it by neuroscientist Steven Rose in The Guardian.


  1. Andy

    RE: Professor Roses Review of Edelman’s Book

    S. Rose castigates Edelman’s new book(rightly I think) for seeming to let in a Cartesian dualism (by the back door, as you philosophers so wittily put it – but why not a side door). Citing the review:

    “What on earth can this mean? Suddenly, as well as a brain in a particular state and an entailed consciousness, a quite new entity has appeared – “us”. So just who is this “us” separate from our brain and consciousness? Has a Cartesian ghost in the brain machine suddenly emerged?”


    But after taking Edelman to task, Rose commits the same error.

    Again, citing from his review

    “The answer I suggest, but which Edelman fails to see, is … to understand consciousness as more than simply entailed by brain processes, but as emerging out of the interactions of the **owners** [emphasis added] of those brains with each other and with the surrounding world. It is not brains that have consciousness, but people, with agency, intentionality and the brain states that both entail and make possible such agency and intentionality.”

    Get it? Rose is referring to the *owners* of those brains!

    To prof. Rose, the question is posed: who and where may the owners be?

    This type of dualistic error was pointed out by Dennett (whose philosophy on consciousness you do not have to acribe to fully) ten years ago.

    What makes it worse and reveals a certain confusion in the reviewers (Rose’s) mind(?) – I mean of couse (Rose’s) brain – is Rose’s claim to catch Edelman up in this same error.

  2. michael corner

    quite right: Sandy Rose’s perennial bias in favor of ‘social’ above physiological explanation (a typical ‘Marxist’ blinder) leads him unerringly towards the stated glaring fallacy. Too bad, because his orthodox scientific research and reasoning is enviably impeccable!

Comments are closed.

Back to Top
%d bloggers like this: