Gerald Maurice Edelman (born July 1, 1929) is an American biologist who won the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the immune system.
1992, he moved to California and became a professor of neurobiology at The Scripps Research Institute. Edelman also serves as the founder and director of The Neurosciences Institute, a nonprofit research centre in San Diego that studies the biological basis of higher brain function in humans, and is on the scientific board of the World Knowledge Dialogue project
Edelman is noted for his theory of mind, published in a trilogy of technical books, and in briefer form for a more general audience in Bright Air, Brilliant Fire (1992) and more recently in Wider than the Sky (2004). Neural Darwinism (1987) contains a theory of memory that is built around the idea of plasticity in the neural network in response to the environment. Topobiology (1988) contains a theory of how the original neuronal network of a newborn's brain is established during development of the embryo. The Remembered Present (1990) contains a theory of consciousness. ...
Edelman expounds a biological theory of consciousness, based on his studies of the immune system, which he explicitly locates within Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection and Darwinian theories of population dynamics. He rejects dualism and also dismisses newer hypotheses such as the so-called 'computational' model of consciousness, which liken the brain's functions to the operations of a computer.
Edelman argues that the mind and consciousness are wholly material and purely biological phenomena, occurring as highly complex cellular processes within the brain, and that the development of consciousness and intelligence can be satisfactorily explained by Darwinian theory.