The Happiness of Pursuit
What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good LifeBook - 2012
Draws on philosophy, literature, and brain science to explain why the pursuit of happiness is a more complicated effort than understood by most people, sharing insights into how to apply scientific methods for increasing one's chances of achieving happiness.
In The Happiness of Pursuit, Edelman offers a fundamental understanding of pleasure and joy via the brain. Using the concept of the mind as a computing device, he unpacks how the human brain is highly active, involved in patterned networks, and constantly learning from experience. As our brains predict the future through pursuit of experience, we are rewarded both in real time and in the long run. Essentially, as Edelman discovers, it's the journey, rather than the destination, that matters.
The idea that cognition is computationthe brain is a machineis nothing new of course. But, as Edelman argues, the mind is actually a bundle of ongoing computations, essentially, the brain being one of many possible substrates that can support them. Edelman makes the case for these claims by constructing a conceptual toolbox that offers readers a glimpse of the computations underlying the mind's faculties: perception, motivation and emotions, action, memory, thinking, social cognition, learning and language. It is this collection of tools that enables us to discover how and why happiness happens.
An informative, accessible, and witty tour of the mind, The Happiness of Pursuit offers insights to a thorough understanding of what minds are, how they relate to each other and to the world, and how we can make the best of it all.
For general readers with an interest in neuroscience and psychology, this accessible volume on the science of the brain and mind examines the physiological basis for higher brain functions and explores the ways in which happiness can be evaluated and promoted through brain functions. Drawing on hard science, literature, and observations of the human condition, the work presents a readable narrative covering both physical and psychological aspects of happiness. Edelman is a professor of psychology at Cornell University and is the author of Computing the Mind: How the Mind Really Works. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A Cornell University professor draws on philosophy, literature and brain science to explain why the pursuit of happiness is a more complicated effort than understood by most people, sharing insights into how to apply scientific methods for increasing one's chances of achieving happiness.