I do not need this text (done with my education a long time ago), but read it for pure fun every now and then. Do not need it for work. Perhaps the fact that I read this when I feel like it, not when I must, increases the pleasure of experiencing it.
The text is a very thorough description of the current status of knowledge, including the current confusions in the minds of neuroscientists when it comes to "mind", "consciousness" and the like. I never stop being shocked how obviously smart people find "controversy" or that something is "unknown", when in other parts of the text they show clear answers.
For example, in chapter 17 Dr. Kandel describes how Penrose was able to establish the cortical representation of sensation by stimulating the cortex in awake patients and asking them what they felt, obviously demonstrating that stimulation of certain areas of the cortex brought specific things into the patients' consciousness, that they were then able to report verbally to the surgeon who was doing the stimulation. Yet, a few pages later in the text, Dr. Kandel writes about a fierce debate between philosophers of mind about the nature of consciousness "because it is difficult to see how consciousness might be explained in reductionist physical terms." Well, he just did, a few pages before that, by describing Penrose's experiment.
But apart from a few such details this is the greatest text for anyone wishing to inform themselves about the function of the human brain.
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