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The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1405160001
ISBN-10: 1405160004
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This outstanding collection of new essays, many by major figures, covers virtually every important topic in current research on consciousness, often in illuminating depth. Nobody interested in current thinking about consciousness will want to be without this volume.”
David M. Rosenthal, City University of New York, Graduate Center


“The list of contributors reads like a roll-call of the best modern studies of consciousness: they have contributed some of the best philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of consciousness. The chapters of this companion show that consciousness has moved on from being a set of interesting problems towards being a topic of systematic, interdisciplinary scientific investigation.”
Patrick Haggard, University College London

“An absolutely indispensable resource for anyone interested in the study of consciousness. The major philosophical positions and controversies and all the latest scientific research are surveyed in 55 accessible, yet in-depth, essays.”
Robert Kane, University of Texas at Austin

"This is an outstanding book that anyone interested in consciousness really needs to read and absorb."
The Psychologist<!--end-->

"A valuable record of some of the best contempory thinking on consciousness."
The Journal of Consciousness Studies

Review

“This outstanding collection of new essays, many by major figures, covers virtually every important topic in current research on consciousness, often in illuminating depth. Nobody interested in current thinking about consciousness will want to be without this volume.”
David M. Rosenthal, City University of New York, Graduate Center<!--end-->

"This is an outstanding book that anyone interested in consciousness really needs to read and absorb."
The Psychologist

"The editors can be congratulated on achieving such a generous spread of high-quality chapters by a surprising number of eminent contributors. So this book is valuable as a record of some of the best contemporary thinking on consciousness. It is perhaps especially useful as a text for postgraduate and maybe final-year undergraduate students... It is impossible, in a brief review, to give an idea of the richness of this collection... I believe this volume makes a valuable sourcebook for scholars from all sides of the consciousness community."
The Journal of Consciousness Studies


“The list of contributors reads like a roll-call of the best modern studies of consciousness: they have contributed some of the best philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of consciousness. The chapters of this companion show that consciousness has moved on from being a set of interesting problems towards being a topic of systematic, interdisciplinary scientific investigation.”
Patrick Haggard, University College London

“An absolutely indispensable resource for anyone interested in the study of consciousness. The major philosophical positions and controversies and all the latest scientific research are surveyed in 55 accessible, yet in-depth, essays.”
Robert Kane, University of Texas at Austin

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Blackwell Publishing; 1st edition (January 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405160004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405160001
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #902,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Richard G. Petty on March 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a typical example of the best type of Blackwell Companion Book. In various incarnations over the years, Blackwell has remained one of the most revered of publishing houses. Their books are written by world experts in their respective fields and something unusual: each chapter or book is heavily peer-reviewed. This is important: so many books appear to be promising, only for us to discover that they are full of mistakes: error of omission or commission, or errors in citations and attributions. I have found very few errors at all in this enormous tome.

Blackwell also produce their books on high quality paper using well-drawn and appropriate illustration. This book is a perfect example.

After an introduction by the editors - Susan Schneider from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and Max Velmans from Goldsmiths College, University of London, the 700 plus pages are divided into five parts and 55 chapters:

Part I: Problems of Consciousness:
1. A Brief History of the Scientific Approach to the Study of Consciousness: Chris Frith (University College London) and Geraint Rees (University College London)
2. Philosophical Problems of Consciousness: Michael Tye (University of Texas, Austin)

Part II: The Domain of Consciousness: Origins and Extent of Consciousness:
3. Consciousness in Infants: Colwyn Trevarthen (University of Edinburgh) and Vasuvedi Reddy (University of Portsmouth)
4. Animal Consciousness: Colin Allen (Indiana University) and Mark Bekoff (University of Colorado)
5. Rethinking the Evolution of Consciousness: Thomas Polger (University of Cincinnati)
6. Machine Consciousness: Igor Aleksander (Imperial College, London)
Some Varieties of Conscious Experience:
7.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Published in 2007 and edited by Velmans and Schneider `The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness' is a collection of papers from leading contemporary philosophers and scientists working in the area of consciousness studies, contributors include; Levine, Searle, Koch, Kim, Chambers, Fontana and Stapp to name a few (the table of contents is available on-line).

In recent decades the study of consciousness has blossomed into a truly exciting and dynamic area of scientific research and philosophical thought; a multidisciplinary field which includes philosophy, psychology, neuroscience and artificial intelligence. The articles in the text provide an excellent survey of work within these various fields. And as such is a helpful resource for readers seeking to say abreast consciousness studies. In addition to the excellent material, surveys such as this are also valuable in introducing readers to new thinkers and ideas that they may wish to pursue further.

The nature of these short contributions is such that they can, at times, be somewhat terse. While generally accessible many of the papers presuppose a degree of familiarity with the subject matter. Two course available on-line through itunes UC Berkeley, Spring 2011, that may be worthwhile for readers seeking background information in this area are John Searle's Philosophy of the Mind and John Kihlstrom's Cognitive Science (or it could be Cognitive Psychology). Both men are leaders in their respective fields and outstanding lecturers (they are also contributors to this volume).

Overall this is another excellent instalment in the Blackwell Companions series. I highly recommend it for readers interested in an overview of current consciousness studies.
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When I got interested in consciousness theory, I bought four recent books on the subject, by some of the well-known authors. I dipped into them, but didn't really get traction. I found David Chalmer's website on consciousness, and downloaded a dozen papers by various authors. Some interesting insights, but again, nothing really engaged. Academic papers tend to be arcane.

Then I bought this Blackwell Companion. This is more like what I had in mind. I can read this and get something out of it. The style is a little simpler than your average scholarly paper, but still aiming at precision of expression, enough to make you follow closely.

I read all 55 chapters of the book. (Where is my gold star?) Some typical philosophical nuisances - pebble-in-the-shoe things - appear repeatedly, like: color spectrum inversion speculations, philosophical zombies, and color-deprived Mary. But I just plowed ahead when I encountered these.

Of the 62 contributors, 54 are authors or co-authors of related books appearing on Amazon. This is not surprising, and the opportunity to increase one's name recognition is probably a draw for becoming a contributor to a book like BCTC. I took a look at a number of these books, and actually did order two, one by John Searle and one featuring Wolf Singer.

Before the BCTC gets too dated, I think I can forgo a lot of book ordering and just re-read the interesting chapters in BCTC.
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Format: Paperback
The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness is an excellent collection of writings. Lead researchers and philosophers in their areas of cognition cover all contemporary views of consciousness. This book is packed with material that is excellent for class discussions. Don't go for a too-easy 'Intro to Consciousness' text, but instead get to the meat of the views and debates with something like this which will spark ideas. Also it is considerably cheaper than the average textbook and that saves the students money they need.
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