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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most comprehesive book out there on the topic., June 30, 2002
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This review is from: The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (Paperback)
This book is easy to review, and a no-brainer for people interested on consicousness studies. It is quite simply the most complete anthology on the philosophy of consciousness out there. Papers from William James, to Dennett, Searle, Block, Naegel, and over 50 others. Qualia, explanatory gaps, zombies, inverted qualia, some scientific papers, one of the best intoductions to the field out there.....700+ pages of consciousness, consciousness, consciousness....this is essential reading, and having for anyopne interested in philosophy of mind, and scientists of mind too...the fastest way to familiarize with the vast literature on the subject. The table of contents is reason enough to buy this book, and I will not bore you with more.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of course, this is a must for those studying cogsci, August 16, 2000
This review is from: The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (Paperback)
It's a thick book and has lots of stuffs in it. Nearly all of most important philosophical works on consciousness in recent years are brought together in this single volume. Naturally, this is a textbook for graduate-level courses in cognitive science or philosophy of mind. And makes a quite nice source book for those who want to further their studies in artifical intelligence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT COLLECTION OF ARTICLES ON THIS TOPIC, August 13, 2013
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This review is from: The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (Paperback)
This 1997 book contains an amazing and diverse collection of essays, articles and excerpts, from such philosophy of mind "heavyweights" as Daniel Dennett [Consciousness Explained]], Owen Flanagan [Consciousness Reconsidered], Patricia Churchland [Neurophilosophy], Ned Block [Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, Volume I], Bernard Baars [In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the Mind], Francis Crick [Astonishing Hypothesis], David Chalmers [The Conscious Mind], John Searle [The Mystery of Consciousness], Thomas Nagel, David Lewis, David Rosenthal, etc.

The Preface states, "These are exciting times for thinking about consciousness, and this book represents the cornerstones of contemporary philosophical thinking on the subject. Also included is a small corpus of articles representative of current psychology and neuropsychology research on consciousness that has given rise to fruitful discussions in the philosophy of mind. We hope that this book will be useful for philosophers in presenting a structured overview of the relevant literature on consciousness... We are witnessing an upsurge of interest in consciousness concurrently in several disciplines---most notably, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience." (Pg. xi)

One essayist wrote, "In order to get into some of the inner structure ... consider the following five questions... 1. What are the media and mechanisms of consciousness? Can consciousness occur in any type of material substance, or does it have to have a specific kind of underpinning (e.g., a carbon-based molecular structure)?... 2. Where is, if anywhere, the locus of consciousness? Can consciousness be localized in a specific organ... 3. Who can be said to be a conscious being?... 4. Why is there consciousness at all, and what is the role it plays in the general scheme of mental life and behavior of an organism?... 5. How does consciousness arise in, or emerge from, its underlying substance, structure, and mechanism, in the way it does?" (Pg. 31)

Owen Flanagan observes, "There are... no very good theories about why conscious experientially hominids should have been favored over merely informationally sensitive ones, and although it is pretty clear that sensational consciousness... comes with the human genome, it is not clear that, for example, moral self-consciousness does. Moral self-consciousness, like the ability to play chess or basketball, is allowed by our genes, but it was hardly selected for." (Pg. 101)

John Searle provides an illustration of a brain made out of silicon chips, then admitting, "I hasten to add that I don't for a moment think that such a thing is even remotely possible. I think it is empirically absurd to suppose that we could duplicate the causal powers of neurons entirely in silicon. But that is an empirical claim on my part. It is not something that we could extablish a priori. So the thought experiment remains valid as a statement of logical or conceptual possibility." (Pg. 493)

Nagel's famous article, 'What Is It Like to Be a Bat?' is included, wherein he says, "Conscious experience is a widespread phenomenon. It occurs at many levels of animal life... But no matter how the form may vary, the fact that an organism has conscious experience AT ALL means, basically, that there is something it is like to BE that organism.... fundamentally an organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that it is like to BE that organism---something it is like FOR the organism." (Pg. 519) He adds, "It will not help to try to imagine that one has webbing around one's arms... that one has very poor vision, and perceives the world by a system of reflected high-frequency sound signals... Insofar as I can imagine this ... it tells me only what it would be like for ME to behave as a bat behaves. But that is not the question. I want to know what it is like for a BAT to be a bat." (Pg. 520-521)

This collection of articles will be "must reading" for anyone seriously studying the philosophy of mind, or consciousness studies.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy buy, January 9, 2012
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This review is from: The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (Paperback)
This book was a present and it shipped soon after I placed the order and came to me right on time.
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The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates
The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates by Ned Block (Paperback - August 8, 1997)
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