Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotions
Victor S. Johnston, 1999

1. The Grand Illusion
Working as a student in a mental hospital, Johnston meets David, a schizophrenic patient. Describing David leads him to the conclusion that the properties that we perceive in the world, such as redness and sweetness, are not real out in the world at all, but only exist inside our heads.

After a quick tour of the worlds of consciousness philosophy and the views of certain reputed cognitive psychologists, he enters into a thoughful discussion of the evolution of our brains and the various delusions they present us with in the interest of our successful continuation as lifeforms.

2. The Mother of AIl Codes
Here we have a whirlwind presentation of the mechanism of the genetic code along with brief essays on the evolutionary forces which created that code. It cannot be said that the treatment is thorough; it goes by much too quickly for that. In the space of a few pages, we move from the chemical structure of the base pairs of the DNA strand, through replication, translation, protein configuration and the lifetime process of cell activity regulation. All this is presented in the light of a nurture/nature cooperation from which the organism benefits and thrives.

3. Searching FaceSpace
We watch a crime victim go through the process of discovering a likeness of her assailant by responding to examples of faces generated by a face display program. The parameters which determine the facial features are modified during the process using an evolution scheme, including mutation and sexual combinations of parameter sets, so that the appearance of the face being viewed continually morphs into something close to what the victim remembers.

The same genetic selection process is then put to work as we buy a suit and as we watch immune cells respond to an invading organism.

4. Russian Dolls

5. The Omens of Fitness

6. The Pathways of Passion

7. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall ...

8. Legacy or Logic!

9. Passions and Illusions


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