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The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self Paperback – July 27, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Metzinger's intended audience is the lay reader, and he does a superb job of presenting his theory and introducing philosophical issues related to consciousness.”
"Groundbreaking. This sophisticated understanding of the brain as an ego machine accounts remarkably well for the lived experience of being someone, a someone who transforms a bombardment of stimuli into a seamless present while still engaging in off-line planning for the future and reflection on the past."
Metzinger is crisp in his arguments and has a keen appreciation of essential ideas.”
More About the Author
In 2008 he received a one-year Fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Berlin Institute for Advanced Study), is past president of the German Cognitive Science Society and was president of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness from 2009 to 2010.
His focus of research lies in analytical philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophical aspects of the neuro- and cognitive sciences as well as connections between ethics, philosophy of mind and anthropology.
In the English language, he has edited two collections on consciousness ("Conscious Experience", Paderborn: mentis & Thorverton, UK: Imprint Academic, 1995; "Neural Correlates of Consciousness", Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000) and one major scientific monograph developing a comprehensive, interdisciplinary theory about consciousness, the phenomenal self, and the first-person perspective ("Being No One - The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity", Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003). A completely open-access collection of original, peer-reviewed material presented by 92 authors, many of whom are leading philosophers, can be found at open-mind.net.
In 2009, he published a popular book, which addresses a wider audience and also discusses the ethical, cultural and social consequences of consciousness research ("The Ego Tunnel - The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self", New York: Basic Books). A much extended version of this book appeared in German in 2014, and has been translated into a number of other languages.
There are a number of videos on YouTube, German as well as English. More information at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Metzinger and http://www.blogs.uni-mainz.de/fb05philosophie/arbeitsbereiche/theoretische/thmetzinger/multimedia/
Top Customer Reviews
Even after giving up belief in the supernatural "up there," many atheists and humanists continue to harbor quasi-supernatural intuitions about the self and free will "in here." The little god of the soul, the categorically mental agent or homunculus in charge of the brain, is still alive and well in the thinking of many secularists. As a result, some of the most profound developments in the ongoing project of scientific enlightenment are still ahead of us.
I am pleased to report that Thomas Metzinger's The Ego Tunnel is a major contribution to this project, written for the curious and fearless lay person wanting to know who, precisely, we are. I strongly recommend this book. Here is the self fully naturalized, a radical revision of the conventional wisdom about our essential nature - are you ready? It's also a must read for anyone interested in consciousness and the mind-body problem, since Metzinger has a well-developed, empirically supported representational theory that explains many of the puzzles about conscious subjectivity.
His two main themes, self and consciousness, are closely linked, and they culminate in two rather unsettling conclusions. First, selves don't exist in the way most folks suppose. Second, the solid, three dimensional public reality that is so palpably there in our waking lives turns out to be a private model of reality.Read more ›
Metzinger also addresses important philosophical and ethical problems such as free will, the concept of soul, how we can be certain an experience is real, consciousness exploration through drugs and other outside means, and whether happiness or truth-seeking is the best foundation of a meaningful life.
"The Ego Tunnel" is a great example of how one shouldn't judge a book by a single critical review. I read Owen Flanagan's review in New Scientist and questioned whether I should buy this book. I'm glad that I made up my own mind, because that review was way off the mark, in my non-humble opinion.
I didn't find a trace of the philosophical grandiosity that Flanagan talked about. Instead, I found big problems being addressed, as noted above. Hey, I'm going to die! We all are, one day. Whether I have a self, or soul, that is separable from my physical body is of more than a little importance to me.
This may be a settled question among academic neuroscientists, but it certainly isn't among the people I know. Which, naturally, includes myself. I lean toward a Taoist/Buddhist conception of the cosmos these days, and found much to support that way of viewing reality in Metzinger's book: science and philosophy blending in a pleasingly coherent fashion.
But he stresses the need for each of us to dig our own ego tunnel (not that we have any choice).Read more ›
The Ego Tunnel was written for those outside of consciousness research to answer Metzinger's felt imperative: "Scientists and academic philosophers cannot simply confine themselves to making contributions to a comprehensive theory of consciousness and the self. If moral obligation exists, they must also confront the anthropological and normative void they have created. They must communicate their results in laymen's language" (215). The Ego Tunnel is thus a double success: it communicates Metzinger's work on the self together with a normative groundwork for consciousness research in "laymen's language" while at the same time offering insight into the mind of one of philosophy's best consciousness researchers.
The book is split into three sections: the first offers the main problems with accounting for conscious experience, ending with the problem of subjectivity; the second gives evidence to think that there is no self to answer the problem of subjectivity and offers an alternative solution; the third is a first look at the ethical obligations that arise from this finding.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We live in a wonderful time when scientists are beginning to learn how our brains make "us". Read morePublished 17 days ago by Citris1
A very important and interesting reading, though quite hard for a lay-reader and not devoid of its drawbacks. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mark
Too deep or involved for the average person including those interested in lucid dreaming. Leave it for someone else interested in going to that length of study.Published 4 months ago by George
This book changed how I thought about consciousness. As a Neuroscience student in college, it was an amazing way to expand my knowledge on various subjects you don't always get... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Megan
Should be required reading in all colleges first year - psych, philosophy, anthropology, sociology - transcends them all and continues on. Read morePublished 6 months ago by thaiguy
much more readable/written for the layperson than Metzinger's other excellent work, "Being No One." I'm about halfway through this and totally enthralled. Read morePublished 8 months ago by ValueKilmer
This book seems aimed at laymen like me using research of neuro and cognitive scientists of the past 30 years. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bohdan Hodiak
Well I really liked this book, I found it a far easier read than his other book "Being No One" which I thought was not an easy book for the layman to read. Read morePublished 9 months ago by phil777