Almost everyone agrees that we possess consciousness, but as this book demonstrates, that's where the agreement ends. What can we say about the mind without fear of contradiction? Not much, and that's how the study of consciousness stands out from other scientific and philosophical endeavors--the field's great minds argue cogently with little common ground, and nothing is safe from questioning.
For the adventurous and thoughtful reader, this is a paradise on the frontiers of knowledge. The Nature of Consciousness presumes a basic familiarity with science and philosophy, as well as a willingness to think and read carefully. With articles by such bright lights as Daniel Dennett, John Searle, Patricia Smith Churchland, and even the great William James, it provides both a comprehensive overview of the field and in-depth analyses of such issues as the mind-body problem and how we can study a phenomenon that may not be observed directly. It is best read as an update on Western scientific and philosophical replies to one of the great questions: Who are we? Given the universal appeal of such a question, the reader will undoubtedly find much within to challenge, puzzle, frustrate, and delight. --Rob Lightner
--This text refers to the
The Nature of Consciousness
brings together 50 essays, mostly reprinted from other sources, and mostly by philosophers, on the problems of consciousness. The book contains a long, highly readable introduction by Guven Guzeldere and divides into ten sections on such subjects as the metaphysics of consciousness, consciousness and content (ie mental representation) and consciousness and science. One hundred pages are devoted to some useful survey articles from the psychological and neuropsychological literature. Many of the articles will be familiar to those working in the field, but they are helpfully arranged here, with responses and counter-responses following on from key articles. Without doubt, this is the biggest, and best, anthology of writings on the philosophy of consciousness available. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and research students. -- Tim Crane, Times Higher Education Supplement, JAN. 30, 1998