Terrence W. Deacon

Professor Terrence W. Deacon has held faculty positions at Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, Boston University, and currently the University of California, Berkeley. His laboratory research has combined human evolutionary biology and neuroscience, with a focus on the evolution of human language. This work extends from cellular-molecular neurobiology and cross-species fetal neural transplantation to the study of semiotic processes underlying animal and human communication. These topics are explored in his 1997 book, The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain. Currently, his theoretical interests have focused on the problem of explaining emergent phenomena, in such unprecedented transitions as the origin of life, the evolution of language, and the generation of conscious experience by brains. His 2012 book, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter, explores how the interrelationships between thermodynamic, self-organizing, evolutionary, and semiotic processes are implicated in the production of these emergent transitions.

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