Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self Paperback – July 27, 2010
See the Best Books of 2017 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Consciousness, mind, brain, self: the relations among these four entities are explored by German cognitive scientist and theoretical philosopher Metzinger, who argues that, in fact, there is no such thing as a self. In prose accessible mainly to those schooled in philosophy and science, Metzinger defines the ego as the phenomenal self, which knows the world experientially as it subjectively appear[s] to you. But neuroscientific experiments have demonstrated, among other things, that the unitary sense of self is a subjective representation: for instance, one can be fooled into feeling sensations in a detached artificial arm. So the author argues that the ego is a tunnel that bores into reality and limits what you can see, hear, smell and feel. Metzinger tests his theory by ranging over events of the consciousness such as out-of-body experiences, lucid dreaming and free will, and he concludes by probing ethical actions and what a good state of consciousness would look like. Most readers will have difficulty penetrating Metzinger's ideas, and those who do will find little that is genuinely new. (Apr.)
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.”
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
"The Ego Tunnel" is the fascinating book about the myth that is the self. Using modern philosophy and cognitive neuroscience, philosopher Thomas Metzinger shatters any notion of the self while making difficult concepts such as the nature of consciousness accessible to the masses. This book was a very educational and enlightening experience. This 288-page book is composed of the following nine chapters: 1. The Appearance of the World, 2. A Tour of the Tunnel, 3. Out of the Body and Into the Mind, 4. From Ownership to Agency to Free Will, 5. Philosophical Psychonautics, 6. The Empathic Ego, 7. Artificial Ego Machines, 8. Consciousness Technologies and the Image of Humankind, and 9. A New Kind of Ethics.
1. Great overall book. A treat to read, from cover to cover.
2. Great science writing. It's well written and accessible to the masses.
3. Fascinating topics of neuroscience and conveyed in a masterful manner.
4. Great use of diagrams that helps illustrate studies and concepts.
5. Relies on cutting-edge scientific studies to demonstrate his thesis.
6. Best explanation of the nature of consciousness that I have read. The "Ego Tunnel" is a clever and effective way to teach conscious experience.
7. Introduces new concepts that are helpful in understanding the overall thesis. As an example, the concept of phenomenal self-model (PSM).
8. Fabulous job of explaining out-of-body experiences (OBEs). What an OBE is. A real treat.
9. Defines all terms all terms used adequately. As an example, the ego, consciousness, etc...
10. A good balance of science and philosophy. "My interest in philosophy is nurtured by the evidence that progress in neurobiology will provide some answers to the classic questions treated in philosophy".
11. The author is very careful in establishing that the science of consciousness is in its early stages.
12. The author establishes the following six problems in defining a convincing theory of consciousness: One-World Problem, the Now Problem, the Reality Problem, the Ineffability Problem, the Evolution Problem and the Who Problem.
13. Evolution applied to the brain.
14. How humans became more intelligent over time.
15. Really clarifies how the brain works. Excellent!
16. The four main types of autoscopy (the experience of viewing your body from a distance: autoscopic hallucination, heautoscopy, out-of-body experience, and the "feeling of a presence".
17. Great quotes, "we must view the brain as a reality engine: It is a system that constantly makes assumptions about what exists and what doesn't, thereby creating an inner reality including time, space, and causal relations".
18. Our increasing knowledge of how are brain works has ethical implications.
19. Fascinating facts: "blind people are sometimes able to see in dreams".
20. Dreaming...lucid dreams.
21. The implications of mirror neurons.
22. The evolutionary precursor of language.
23. Some studies will amaze you..."cockroaches with surgically implanted backpacks".
24. An interesting look at artificial intelligence.
25. Debunks the Judeo-Christian image of a human being. No such thing as immortal souls.
26. The future of neuroscience. Neuroethics.
27. Links worked great on the Kindle!
28. Worthy of multiple reads.
1. Neuroscience is in fact a young science and as new findings emerge, some of the theories in this book will either be put aside or modified. As an example, fMRI does not reveal what is going on at the micro level of neurons.
2. Very little discussion on the impact of brain injuries.
3. If you can't comprehend the analogy of the tunnel, you will not get this book.
4. Neuroscience even at its most basic level will challenge the layperson.
5. Some theists may object to some of the conclusions of the book. Never let your faith get in the way of the facts.
In summary, I really enjoyed this book. I have read a number of books on neuroscience, the science of the mind, but this is one of my favorites because it gave me the best understanding on how our brains model the world. The author establishes early on his central claim of the book; the self-model theory of subjectivity and provides compelling arguments in its defense. In other words, he was able to explain the concept of consciousness in such a way that a layperson can understand it. Just being able to frame the question in a way that can be understood is an accomplishment. This is a thought-provoking book that mixes philosophical questions with scientific-based answers; in short, my kind of book. For an intellectual and accessible treat, I highly recommend this book.
Further suggestions: "The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths..." and "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time" by Michael Shermer, "Human" and "Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga, "SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable" by Bruce M. Hood, "The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life" by Jesse Bering. "Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There" by Professor Richard Wiseman, "The Myth of Free Will, Revised & Expanded Edition" by Cris Evatt, "Free Will" by Sam Harris, "The Brain and the Meaning of Life" by Paul Thagard, "Hardwired Behavior" by Laurence Tancredi, "Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality" by Patricia S. Churchland, "The Problem of the Soul" by Owen Flanagan, and "The Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker.
Metzinger talks about phantom limbs and really strange experiments that disturb, warp, or temporarily distort our sense of self. As long as we believe there is anything intrinsic to us, we are "naive realists". This may all sound overwhelmingly bleak to most readers, but Metzinger obviously isn't too disturbed by it.
People have been saying this since the dawn of time. Any Buddhist will say the self is a construct. Actually pretty much all spiritual traditions tell you to get away from your self, or that you are not "yourself". The idea of Kant's "Thing In Itself" could still be said to somehow be the root of all religion, somehow.
He is positing a well researched value judgment, albeit a value judgment that is very creative. A materialistic, ultra positivistic value judgment; but a value judgment nonetheless. What's the self in the first place according to science? The difference is that Metzinger never entertains the idea of a linked whole, or anything like that--he goes right for the most extreme reductionism possible.
Can we know this? People who have suffered a stroke or have Alzheimer's, for instance, differ greatly. Some retain their personalities to a large degree, while others are fragmented. Can it be said the self is an illusion because of one example vs. the other? Not really. It's not the case of "Ooga booga; the self is an illusion!", necessarily, so much as being able to enjoy these ideas-in-themselves, which I did with Metzinger. Paradoxical, that.
But more fundamentally, reading this I thought I finally understood what it must have been like to live through the revolution in thought that occurred with the advent of the heliocentric universe.....the understanding that earth (and man) were not at the center of what was believed to be god's creation. For most people - to grasp and understand that the sun revolved around the earth - all you had to do was look at it - it was obvious......and it was wrong!
Here we go again. The notion that the "self" exists and is real is so "obvious" that it seems we are headed for another revolution. No homonucleus, no self, and if no self then ideas like free will vanish in a puff of logic and with it the entire foundation of the judeo-christian world. That world has adapted and evolved before to accommodate scientific findings that would have appeared to shatter it so it will be interesting to watch the dance they do now.
Also another great book which is little known and much under appreciated that you might want to give a read if you are interested in the self, is Jean-Michel Terdjman entitled book: "Self gives meaning to things no self takes it away".