Charles Cole. The Consciousness’ Drive: Information Need and the Search for Meaning. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2018. 247p. Hardcover, $79.99 (ISBN 978-3-319-92455-7). LC 2018-946105.

Scott Curtis


Author Charles Cole’s understanding of human consciousness is built foundationally upon the work of evolutionary psychologist Merlin Donald, who visualized the development of human cognition in four phases, with three transitions. According to Donald’s Theory of Mind, preceding types of cognition do not cease to exist after human cognition transitions to a new phase, but exist as four layers within the modern consciousness. Cole’s narrative in the first part of the book recounts Donald’s model of human cognition, categorizing episodic, mimetic, mythic, and theoretic phases of cognition. The second half of the book sets up a particular situation of consciousness using the frame theory of Marvin Minsky, uses Meno’s paradox (how can we come to know that which we don’t already know?) in a critique of framing as Minsky conceived it, and presents group and national level framing and shows their inherent danger in allowing information avoidance and sanctioning immoral actions. Cole concludes with a solution of information need being sparked or triggered that takes the human consciousness out of a closed information loop, driving the consciousness to seek new information.

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