Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Book: In the Palaces of Memory - Good look at formation of memories and of theories

My bocce crew, the Old Dirty Barristers, played this weekend and while I was in Floyd's I found this book. I nearly forgot to keep playing.

The book has plenty of good non-scientist explanations of theories about how memories form. That's a really important topic. If there is no biological meat mechanism where memories are stored, then our consciousness is not a part of our biology. We would have to have something supernatural like a soul to explain our thought. If, however, memory storage and formation can be found in the body, then perhaps we can replicate that same sort of pattern in computers or other simulations.

Apart from a great explanation of competing theories on memory formation and storage, there are also some glimpses into the personalities behind them and the political nature of theory formation, defense and evolution.

I'm trying to get this one finished before I bolt off to Carnival. If you read this one and like it, I also recommend Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.