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Consciousness: An Introduction / Edition 1

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Overview

Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness? Or is consciousness itself just an illusion? The "last great mystery of science," consciousness was excluded from serious research for most of the last century but is now a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience. Recently the topic has also captured growing popular interest. This groundbreaking book is the first volume to bring together all the major theories of consciousness studies -- from those rooted in traditional Western philosophy to those coming out of neuroscience, quantum theory, and Eastern philosophy. Broadly interdisciplinary, Consciousness: An Introduction is divided into nine sections that examine such topics as how subjective experiences arise from objective brain processes, the basic neuroscience and neuropathology of consciousness, altered states of consciousness, mystical experiences and dreams, and the effects of drugs and meditation. It also discusses the nature of self, the possibility of artificial consciousness in robots, and the question of whether or not animals are conscious. Enhanced by numerous illustrations and profiles of important researchers, the book also includes selfassessment questions, further reading suggestions, and practical exercises that help bring the subject to life.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
How can the subjective feelings of consciousness arise from the firing of synapses? Is there an "added something" that causes us to be self-aware? Or could it be that consciousness is just an illusion or an ephemeral byproduct? We don't know the answers-indeed, we are only beginning to formulate the questions, even though philosophers have been considering these issues for centuries. Though this work is intended as a college textbook, Blackmore (The Meme Machine) makes accessible to general readers the evolution of consciousness, machine intelligence, dreams, and the paranormal, drawing on philosophical, neuroscientific, and quantum theory perspectives from both the West and the East. The author, also a practitioner of Zen meditation, ends with chapters on Buddhism, which, she claims, explores these questions from an experiential perspective. The explanations of abstruse arguments are clear, and the writing is livelier than is the norm in textbooks. Recommended for all academic and large public libraries; Rita Carter's equally fine Exploring Consciousness is another good choice that covers the same core material in a less expensive hardcover format.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"The main strength of Consciousness is that it covers all the cool stuff, all the consciousness phenomena that really capture the imagination. A great virtue is that the book is current; there hasn't been anything I wanted to talk about that isn't in it. You bet I will adopt the second edition."--William Lycan, University of North Carolina

"A strong virtue of Consciousness is that it is thoroughly interdisciplinary. Terrific coverage of attention and memory, empirical stuff, the unity of consciousness, damaged brains, hallucinations, and dreams--really first-rate material."--Andrew Pessin, Connecticut College

"Consciousness is an excellent companion to a primary source reader in a philosophy of mind course, or a stand-alone text in an introductory course on consciousness."--Lisa Portmess, Gettysburg College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195153439
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/16/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Blackmore is a writer, lecturer, and Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth, UK. She is the author of Conversations on Consciousness (2006), A Very Short Introduction to Consciousness (2005), and The Meme Machine (1999), all published by Oxford University Press.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
Sect. 1 The problem
1 What's the problem? 7
2 What is it like to be ...? 22
3 What does consciousness do? 36
Sect. 2 The world
4 Attention and timing 51
5 The theatre of the mind 64
6 The grand illusion 78
Sect. 3 The self
7 Egos, bundles and multiple selves 94
8 Theories of self 109
9 Agency and free will 123
Sect. 4 Evolution
10 The evolution of consciousness 139
11 The function of consciousness 152
12 Animal minds 166
Sect. 5 Artificial consciousness
13 Minds and machines 181
14 Could a machine be conscious? 197
15 How to build a conscious machine 211
Sect. 6 The brain
16 The neural correlates of consciousness 226
17 The unity of consciousness 242
18 Damaged brains 257
Sect. 7 Borderlands
19 Unconscious processing 272
20 The paranormal 288
21 Reality and imagination 304
Sect. 8 Altered states of consciousness
22 Drugs and altered states 321
23 Sleep, dreams and hypnotic states 338
24 Exceptional human experience 354
Sect. 9 First-person approaches
25 The view from within 370
26 Meditation and mindfulness 385
27 Buddhism and consciousness 401
References 415
Index 443
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