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Neural Basis of Consciousness (Advances in Consciousness Research) Hardcover – January 30, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Advances in Consciousness Research (Book 49)
  • Hardcover: 235 pages
  • Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company (January 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588113396
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588113399
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,577,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Camara on March 5, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a slightly above average collection on papers on the neural basis of consciousness. The paper by Baars is good as usual, and argues convincingly that working memory requires consicousness, and not the other way arround. This is easily accepted science prefrontal lesions rarely cause unconsicousness. Osakas paper is interesting, but seems to equate working memory with consicousness, a move that Baars shows is not quite solid. Libets paper is good, and his time-on theory, tha consicousness requires a minimum time of neural processing is strong in place, good evidence is shown for it. Libets attacks on other theories and his speculation of a consicous mental field is questionable, for reasons I need not go in detail here. Cotterill makes a sinthesis of his views on cognition, and how muscular activity is essential in understanding it.
Longothesis presents his elegant experiments on single cells recording and binocular rivalry. This is some of the strongest work being done on the neural basis of consicousness. Hardcastle also quite convincingly shows that attention and consicousness are not the same thing, although she allows they might be closely related. Baars shows that WM alone is not enough, and Hardcastle that attention alone is not enough. Maybe both together could be an important part of the story. The Churchlands, in the philosophical paper in the book, make sense as usual, and argue against those that say consciousness is unexplainable scientifically in principle. I think they are right, but misplace the problem of qualia.
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Format: Hardcover
This book, as the title says, is about the neural basis of consciousness(NBC) i.e. about the set of neural events that cause consciousness. It includes the different theories and models of consciousness, as well as the issues that are being addressed by present day research in this area. The book aims (so it claims) to bring together different research perspectives and models in a comparative study so as to encourage future researchers. Clearly, this book is not really intended for the lay interested reader, but for the researcher who is specifically looking for a somewhat extended review article.

The book starts with a good introductory chapter on the major issues in NBC research and primary research questions. Then it gives a summary of a few models of consciousness (notably the working memory model and the global workspace theory), moving on to more physiological aspects (experimental study of conscious awareness, visual consciousness, etc.). This is followed by the section on neurophilosophy and finally the book ends with an excellent section on one of the hottest research areas in this domain- quantum mind.

Though the book as a whole is organized well, the same is not true of each chapter. Some chapters are informative but disorganized, and some are slightly one-sided views of a theory -only a few are really good. Like many research books, the style is not very interesting (in a fun or humorous sense) but this is worsened by the vagueness or poor organization in some chapters. On the plus side, the book is quite informative and has the right amount of detail for the most part, making it a valuable reference. Of course, the research summarized is not exactly the latest because the book is about 10 years old, however it is a pretty good introduction to this domain.
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