on April 19, 2013
This book was unavailable from my college's library, and, although I could get it by interlibrary loan, I eventually realized that there were just too many papers I wanted to read more than once, and I couldn't Xerox them all! What's amazing about it is that all the paper are original (although many summarize previously published work), all brought into existence by the editor, Thomas Metzinger --- and simultaneously published in German and English editions! I don't know how he did it, but my hat is off to him.
A few highlights: Chalmers"s influential "Dancing Qualia" paper; a contrarian paper by Georges Rey; Diana Raffman's paper on why phenomenology won't go away; William Lycan's cautious endorsement of (aspects of) Jackson's "knowledge argument"; position papers by David Rosenthal, Joseph Levine, Michael Tye, Martine Nida-Rumelin; etc. etc. Plus a rare misfire by Daniel Dennett that he probably wishes he could take back.
on January 31, 2002
This book, probably together with "the nature of consciousness" is the best collection of papers on consciousness from a philosophical point of view. The introduction itself is worth the buy. Countless great contributions appear, dealing with every espect of the current debate on consciousness. Although dating from 1995, it is still an amazing introducion to consciousness and philosophy. I will not describe all papers, and indeed they are not all absolutely great, and of course it would be impossible to agree to all of them. But some papers, like Panpineaus on the anthipathetic fallacy, Metzingers on the philosophy of temporal binding, or Levines or Chalmers on qualia, are true jewels. The last section has some really interesting more scientifically inclined theorists presenting their models of consciousness. But just the variation and superstar authors makes tha whole attempt valuable and complete.
I cannot do anything else but to repeat myself and say that this is the best introduction tho the philosophical part of the problem of consciousness.
If I would object to anything, it would be of course of the fact that there are not many papers on the science of consciousness. I mean, there are some scientific debates that make grat philosophy. Consider blindsight, split brain cases, neglect, masking, among many other things. It is quite easy to philosophize about these issues, and that would have complemented the book nicely. Metzinger does sometning similar by discussing temporal binding, and empirical conjecture, from a philosophical prespective. Also, some aspects could have received better treatment, by including opposite views.