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On Consciousness Hardcover – September 12, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (September 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822942453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822942450
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,978,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Honderich made a new proposal . . . a very promising new turn for philosophical studies of consciousness."
--Journal of Consciousness Studies

About the Author

Ted Honderich has been the Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London, and a Visiting Professor at Yale and also the Graduate Centre and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. His most recent book is the philosophical autobiography Philosopher: A Kind of Life. He is the editor of the internationally-acclaimed reference work The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, and the author of books including A Theory of Determinism, Conservatism, and Punishment, The Supposed Justifications, and of papers on the nature of consciousness, mind and brain, and causation. Other edited books include the anthology Philosophy as It Is, and Essays on Freedom of Action and Social Ends and Political Means. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Arnold VINE VOICE on December 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A great controversy has sprung up concerning Colin McGinn's "worst ever review" of Honderich's book. The two protagonists have issued charge and counter-charge, both personal and professional, and the philosophical blogosphere has weighed in with opinions ranging from "unprofessional" to "right on the money" (not forgetting "great fun to read").

It so happens that I have a small contribution to make on this subject. Back in the spring of 2005 I was attending Dan Dennett's Philosophy of Mind course at Tufts, and inevitably I had to write a term paper.1 We were free to use any (relevant!) book or article as the starting-point for the paper, and... I decided to work with Honderich's "On Consciousness"...

Within a couple of days I knew that I was in trouble. The more I read and re-read the book, the more it seemed to be no more than a sustained argument from personal incredulity. Honderich repeatedly declared that certain propositions were "unswallowable", as if this constituted a knock-down argument. I checked in with Dan and told him that instead of identifying, expounding, and critiquing Honderich's thesis, I would only be able to address the fatal weaknesses in one of his core motivations. And so I did. It wasn't a great paper, but I felt that it was a reasonable effort given my unfortunate choice of material.

As I wrote:
Beyond his unshakeable belief that functionalism is unbelievable, Honderich offers no argument. Indeed he acknowledges that "it is not easy to construct an argument against strict functionalism", and that is is perhaps impossible to find a premise more secure than his inescapable conviction. In a note, he acknowledges that his objection can be said to beg the question. Nevertheless he argues that this "shows that there is a role in inquiry for something other than arguments."

Something other than arguments? Not, apparently, if you want to be taken seriously in Philosophical Review.
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Written by the Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London, Ted Honderich, On Consciousness strives to answer the perplexing dilemma: what exactly is consciousness, and what does it mean? Delving into neuroscience, philosophy, theory, and spiritualism in search of answers, as well as exploring topics such as reflective vs. affective consciousness, anti-individualism vs. union theory, and so much more, On Consciousness carefully dissects grand mysteries into bite-sized conundrums for personal contemplation. The scholarly text is intended for advanced students, yet curious lay readers can also unravel the mysteries of perception, explained as they are to the best of human understanding in On Consciousness.
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