Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction
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"The last great mystery for science," consciousness has become a controversial topic. Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction challenges readers to reconsider key concepts such as personality, free will, and the soul. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Exciting new developments in brain science are opening up these debates, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers. This book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments and clearly describes the major theories, with illustrations and lively cartoons to help explain the experiments. Topics include vision and attention, theories of self, experiments on action and awareness, altered states of consciousness, and the effects of brain damage and drugs. This lively, engaging, and authoritative book provides a clear overview of the subject that combines the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience--and serves as a much-needed launch pad for further exploration of this complicated and unsolved issue.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
them. This objection is worth exploring a little more deeply. The natural way to think about the half-second delay is probably something like this. A touch on the arm (or any other stimulus) causes signals to pass along the nerves of the arm, and into the brain, where the information is processed in the relevant areas until it ﬁnally arrives in consciousness and the person feels the touch. On this view, there are two different kinds of phenomenon, each with their own timing. First, there are
or the brain – other than by magic. Theories based in modern physics take a different approach. Some liken the non-locality and peculiar behaviour of time found in 43 Time and space Dualism (the idea that mind and body are separate) is always tempting because it ﬁts so well with the way our consciousness feels, but there are very few philosophers or scientists who think it could be true. Almost the only modern example is the dualist interactionism proposed by Popper and Eccles in the 1970s.
the world. Vision is about mastering the sensorimotor contingencies – that is, knowing how your own actions affect the information you get back from the world, and interacting with the visual input to exploit the way it changes with eye movements, body movements, blinks, and other actions. In other words, seeing is action. On this view, vision is not about building representations of the world; instead seeing, attending, and acting all become the same thing. On this view, what you see is those
meaning of the term consciousness is also called phenomenality, or phenomenal consciousness, terms coined by American philosopher Ned Block. Block compares phenomenal consciousness, which is what it is like to be in a certain state, with access consciousness, which refers to availability for use in thinking, or guiding action and speech. Phenomenal consciousness (or phenomenality, or subjectivity) is what Nagel was talking about and is the core of the problem of consciousness. With these ideas in
WORLD WAR Michael Howard FUNDAMENTALISM Malise Ruthven HIROSHIMA B. R. Tomlinson HUMAN EVOLUTION Bernard Wood INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Paul Wilkinson MANDELA Tom Lodge THE MIND Martin Davies NATIONALISM Steven Grosby PERCEPTION Richard Gregory PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION Jack Copeland and Diane Proudfoot PHOTOGRAPHY Steve Edwards RACISM Ali Rattansi THE RAJ Denis Judd THE RENAISSANCE Jerry Brotton SARTRE Christina Howells TRAGEDY Adrian Poole THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION Amrita Narlikar For more