New York Times Books of the Century[The] book can be tough reading, but [the] writing is incisive, bright and often humorous....[T]he best example in many years of science aimed with wonderful accuracy both at scientists and at general readers.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyTufts University cognitive scientist Dennett claims to have developed a major new theory of consciousness, yet his view of the brain as a massive parallel processor is a familiar one. What is different in his counter-intuitive theory is the claim that human consciousness, rather than being ``hard-wired'' into the brain's innate machinery, is more like software ``running on the brain's parallel hardware'' and is largely a product of cultural evolution. Author of Brainstorms, Dennett leads the adventurous gently through thought experiments, metaphors and diagrams in a treatise keyed to the serious, diligent reader. He presents a plausible evolutionary scenario of how consciousness could have emerged from the hominid brain. Dennett's audacious, tantalizing foray into the mind's inner workings ties up loose ends at the interface of cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience and biology.
Kevin B. KorbAll in all Dennett's book is annoying, frustrating, insightful, provocative and above all annoying. Unfortunately---in this age of academic overproduction---I must conclude that for now Consciousness Explained is unavoidable reading for those who intend to think seriously about the problems of consciousness. Psyche
- Little, Brown and Company
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Consciousness Explained based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
This book has incited some of the most violent debates among my friends and colleagues. Yet, I think the controversy boils down to this: some people will unavoidably hate this book; others will see it as an epiphany, as I did. If you believe that there is some sort of spiritual world 'out there' not governed by and external to the laws of physics, you will see this book as horrible and possibly evil. And, that's just fine. I mean no disrespect here. If, on the other hand, you believe that, ultimately, the answers lie in science, then this book is absolutely wonderful. It provides answers to questions about consciousness that make you feel good at having placed your trust in science. Best of all, he provides a path to understanding the mysteries still plaguing those studying consciousness. Put differently, the magic of consciousness is reduced to mere slight of hand (and possibly camera tricks, too). I recommend the title even to the spiritualist. It may well be a little annoying, but you might as well know the competition better. As for the materialist, sit back and enjoy!