Who are we? What is consciousness and how does it relate to what goes on in the brain? What is it to be a unique individual? These are some of the most hotly contested questions in science and philosophy today and they have a direct bearing on the way we understand ourselves. Looking at the subject from a refreshingly new angle, Mel Thompson argues that while traditional questions about how mind relates to the body go some way to explaining who we are, ultimately they fail to reveal the heart of the matter - the self that we experience.
In a world where events can alter our lives in the blink of an eye, is it possible to have a fixed idea of "me"? Can we ever really know our friends and family and, likewise, can they truly know us? If we want to know another person, would a biography or a brain scan be more useful? These are just some of the questions that are examined in this fascinating and thought-provoking book.
Drawing on writings from philosophy, science, religion and literature, Thompson explores the idea that the self is not a fixed entity, but a process by which our senses and memory work together to create a unique and personal map of the world around us - a map that enables us to feel "at home", to relate to others and to give value and meaning to our lives. While acknowledging that we cannot give a definitive answer to the question "Who am I?", Thompson shows that the process that develops the illusion of a separate "me" not only gives character to characterless neurons, but also transforms the external world of physical matter into one that is mapped out with value, beauty, friendship, meaning and significance. For anyone who has ever tried to make sense of theirlife and wondered how we are who we are, Me will be enthralling reading.
About the Author
Mel Thompson has a PhD in theology and is a full-time writer. His books include Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics and Philosophers Behaving Badly.
Table of Contents
1 Getting beyond our neurons 8
2 The mind goes hunting 26
3 Roads to success? 40
4 The temptations of integrity 54
5 Living in cyberspace 69
6 Mapping one to one 81
7 Letting go 97
8 The illusion of "me" 110
Postscript: where does that leave "me"? 121
Further reading 129