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Hard to grasp in parts but extremely rewarding when the understanding coalesces. Full of useful reframed fundamental concepts such as "work" and "information", which no doubt are useful for the resolution of multiple problems in multiple fields of study. Brilliant.
I've read it many times. I've read lots of other books on the origins of life and mind. Hands down this is the one that addresses the issue most clearly, scientifically and directly. Some have complained that it's badly written. It is not. It's a rich concentrate of ideas, all of which are necessary. If you want a scientific approach to the meaning of life, or more accurately how, with life meaning emerges, this book is well worth the effort.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
This book exhibits most of what's wrong with modern philosophy, especially regarding the sciences. In particular, the book follows a typical form of many philosophy books; the stages are:
1) Review the literature, emphasizing relatively obscure philosophers and scientists, usually to validate the author’s bona fides as a scholar in the field, but providing nothing truly new.
2) Create a rash of neologisms (e.g. telodynamics, autogen, telogen) that constitute a semantic forest of poorly differentiated concepts. He completely fails to offer comparisons to semantic terms from other authors.
3) Build on the basket of neologisms to create higher and higher levels of abstractions. Unfortunately, these new levels are postulated without clear examples from scientific data. Ultimately, no testable hypotheses are offered and story ends with demands for others to provide the “details”—that is, what should be the actual substance of any serious addition to the field of study.
His work is well written and interesting at points. Sadly, this is not enough. There are many other recent works on the subject of consciousness that are actually grounded in modern science.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful