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The Long Evolution of Brains and Minds

The main topic of the book is a reconstruction of the evolution of nervous systems and brains as well as of mental-cognitive abilities, in short "intelligence" from simplest organisms to humans. It investigates to which extent the two are correlated. One central topic is the alleged uniqueness of the human brain and human intelligence and mind. It is discussed which neural features make certain animals and humans intelligent and creative: Is it absolute or relative brain size or the size of "intelligence centers" inside the brains, the number of nerve cells inside the brain in total or in such "intelligence centers" decisive for the degree of intelligence, of mind and eventually consciousness? And which are the driving forces behind these processes? Finally, it is asked what all this means for the classical problem of mind-brain relationship and for a naturalistic theory of mind.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Are mind and brain a unity? 1. Mind and Intelligence 1.1 Types of learning 1.2 Types of memory 1.3 Intelligence and behavioral flexibility 1.4 Consciousness 1.5 Mind-brain theories 1.6 What does all that tell us? 2. What is evolution? 2.1 Historical concepts of evolution 2.2 Neodarwinism and its problems 2.3 Concepts of evolution beyond natural selection 2.4 The reconstruction of phylogeny and evolution 2.5 What does all that tell us? 3. The mind begins with life 3.1 What is life? 3.2 Order, self-production and self-maintenance 3.3 Life, energy acquisition and metabolism 3.4 The origin of first life 3.5 The further development of simple life 3.6 What does all that tell us? 4. The language of neurons 4.1 The structure of a nerve cell 4.2 Principles of membrane excitability 4.3 Ion channels and neural transmission 4.3.1 The function of ion channels 4.3.2 The origin of the action potential 4.3.3 Neurotransmitters and other neuroactive substances 4.4 Principles of neuronal information processing 4.5 What does all that tell us? 5. Bacteria, archaea, protozoa: successful life without a nervous system 5.1 Bacteria and Archaea 5.2 Protozoa 5.3 Why did multicellular organisms evolve? 5.4 What does all that tell us? 6. The "invertebrates" and their nervous systems 6.1 Non-bilaterians 6.1.1 Sponges 6.1.2 "Coelenterates" 6.2 Bilaterians 6.2.1 Acoelomorpha 6.2.2 Protostomia Lophotrochozoa Ecdysozoa 6.3 What does all that tell us? 7. Invertebrate cognition and intelligence 7.1 Learning, cognitive abilities and intelligence in insects 7.2 Learning, cognitive abilities and intelligence in cephalopods 7.3 What does all that tell us? 8. The Deuterostomia 8.1 The origin of deuterostomes and their nervous systems 8.2 Echinoderms 8.3 Hemichordates 8.4 Chordates - Craniates - Vertebrates 8.4.1 Myxinoids 8.4.2 Vertebrates Petromyzontids Chondrichthyans Osteichthyans Amphibians "Reptiles" Birds Mammals 8.5 What does all that tell us? 9. The brains of vertebrates 9.1 The basic organization of the vertebrate brain 9.2 Medulla spinalis and oblongata 9.3 Cerebellum 9.4 Mesencephalon 9.5 Diencephalon 9.6 Telencephalon 9.6.1 Functional anatomy of the isocortex9.6.2 Are the mammalian cortex and the mesonidopallium of birds homologous? 9.7 What does all that tell us? 10. Sensory systems - the coupling between brain and environment. 10.1 The general function of sense organs 10.2 Olfaction 10.3 The mechanical senses and electroreception 10.3.1 The sense of touch, vibration and medium currents 10.3.2 The mechanoreceptive and electroreceptive lateral line system of fish and amphibians Mechanoreceptive lateral line system The electroreceptive system. 10.3.3 The auditory system 10.4 The visual system 10.4.1 The compound eye of insects 10.4.2 The vertebrate eye and retina 10.4.3 Parallel processing in the visual system of vertebrates 10.5 What does all that tell us? 11. How intelligent are vertebrates? 11.1 Cognition in teleost fishes 11.2 Learning and cognitive abilities in amphibians 11.3 Cognitive abilities and intelligence in mammals and birds 11.3.1 Tool use and tool fabrication 11.3.2 Quantity representation 11.3.3 Object permanence 11.3.4 Reasoning and working memory 11.3.5 Social intelligence "Machiavellian" intelligence Gaze following Imitation 12. Do animals have consciousness? 12.1 Mirror self-recognition 12.2 Metacognition 12.3 Theory of mind: understanding the others 12.4 Conscious attention 12.5 How intelligent are dolphins and elephants? 12.6 What does all that tell us? 13. Comparing vertebrate brains 13.1 Brain size and body size. 13.2 The significance of relative brain size and of "encephalization" 13.3 The fate of the cortex as the "seat" of intelligence and mind 13.3.1 Information processing properties of the cortex 13.3.2 Modularity of the cortex 13.3.3 Specialties of the cytoarchitecture of the mammalian cortex 13.4 Bird brains and mesonidopallium. 13.5 What does all that tell us? 14. Are humans unique? 14.1 How did Homo sapiens evolve? 14.2 Leaving the jungle and its consequences 14.3 Enlargement of the brain and its consequences 14.4 Language and the brain 14.4.1 Animal language 14.4.2 The evolution of human language 14.4.3 The tempo of the evolution of human language. 14. 5 Do humans exhibit a special social behavior? 14.6 What does all that tell us? 15. Determinants of the evolution of brains and minds 15.1 Patterns of the evolution of nervous systems and brains 15.2 The evolution of cognitive-mental functions 15.3 How do differences in intelligence relate to differences in brain structures and functions? 15.4 Which are the ultimate factors for evolution of brains and minds? 15.4.1 Ecological intelligence 15.4.2 Social intelligence 15.4.3 General intelligence 15.5 Basic mechanisms of evolution of brains and cognitive functions 15.6 What does all that tell us? 16. Brains and minds 16.1 The problems of dualism 16.2 Problems of strong emergentism 16.3 Problems of reductionism 16.4 The anatomy and physiology of mind 16.5 Brains and minds in birds, Octopus and the honeybee 16.6 Is mind multiply realized and artificially realizable? 16.7 What is the true nature of mind? Literature


From the reviews: "The author examines in detail the structural/functional differences in the ring nervous systems of Cnidaria, diffuse nerve nets of bilateria, and the complex invertebrate brain of cephalopods (especially octopus), among others. ... This book is highly recommended for anyone with research agendas in comparative neuroscience, evolutionary neuroscience, cognitive science in general, and philosophy of mind." (Paul Tibbetts, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 88, December, 2013)

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