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A scientific look into the human consciousness, Penrose's Shadows Of The Mind provides several hypotheses about the way the mind works.
Summary Of The Book
Shadows Of The Mind by Roger Penrose is a book that provides a non-algorithmic approach to looking at the human conscious mind. Far from being a computer, the mind is actually largely dependent on how quantum mechanics functions. It is important, therefore, to understand human consciousness through the workings of neurons' microtubules.
This book also deals with the objective collapse of the consciousness which is studied through the quantum wavefunction of the microtubules. This is part of the physical behavior and cannot be calculated mathematically. The author also stresses on the ability of the human mind to transcends the Turing machine.
There are essentially three arguments in this work. The first one is the mathematical thought that has been derived from Kurt Godel and his incomplete theorems. The author disagrees with the computational theory of mind and discourages the artificial general intelligence approach. It is by discarding these theories that the mind is proved to be an organic functioning entity.
The second argument is called objective reduction which traces the relationship between general relativity and quantum mechanics. This uses the space-time curvature difference in order to study the mind. This difference is called the Planck mass which allows the wave function to collapse.
The last argument is called orchestrated objective reduction. While writing The Emperor's New Mind, Penrose could not elaborate his quantum processes. However, in this work he studies the neurons and brain cells in order to derive at the functioning of the consciousness. The author also credits Hameroff and his study of brain cells. The book studies the cytoskeleton and other aspects of neuroscience. The book also provides information on studying neurotransmitter molecules and the synapses that grow and shape the cell movement.
Shadows Of The Mind was published in 1994.
About Roger Penrose
Roger Penrose is a British mathematical physicist, philosopher and recreational mathematician. His published works include Spinors and Space-Time, Techniques of Differential Topology in Relativity, The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and The Laws of Physics, Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness, The Nature of Space and Time as well as The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind.
He was born in Essex, England and was educated at the University College School. He later graduated with a degree in Mathematics. He is known for his contribution in the field of Mathematical Physics, Cosmology and General Relativity. He was the recipient of the Wolf Prize for Physics in 1988. He has won several awards for his contribution to science including the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Albert Einstein Medal by the Albert Einstein Society and the Naylor Prize of the London Mathematical Society. Currently, he is the Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.