Conversations on Consciousness: What the Best Minds Think about the Brain, Free Will, and What It Means to Be Human

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Oxford University Press, Jan 1, 2006 - Philosophy - 288 pages
In Conversations on Consciousness, Susan Blackmore interviews some of the great minds of our time, a who's who of eminent thinkers, all of whom have devoted much of their lives to understanding the concept of consciousness. The interviewees, ranging from major philosophers to renowned scientists, talk candidly with Blackmore about some of the key philosophical issues confronting us in a series of conversations that are revealing, insightful, and stimulating. They ruminate on the nature of consciousness (is it something apart from the brain?) and discuss if it is even possible to understand the human mind. Some of these thinkers say no, but most believe that we will pierce the mystery surrounding consciousness, and that neuroscience will provide the key. Blackmore goes beyond the issue of consciousness to ask other intriguing questions: Is there free will? (A question which yields many conflicted replies, with most saying yes and no.) If not, how does this effect the way you live your life; and more broadly, how has your work changed the way you live? Paired with an introduction and extensive glossary that provide helpful background information, these provocative conversations illuminate how some of the greatest minds tackle some of the most difficult questions about human nature.
 

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User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

Somewhat interesting, at least in bits. Reasonably accessible to the lay person. But there are *no* answers, not even anything approaching a consensus on whether the problem is one for philosophers or ... Read full review

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User Review  - EmreSevinc - LibraryThing

The study of consciousness is a kind of singularity in science, because you’re studying precisely the most cherished quality of what it is to be alive. — Francisco Varela As I was reading your book I ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Bernard Baars
11
Ned Block
24
David Chalmers
36
Patricia and Paul Churchland
50
Francis Crick
68
Daniel Dennett
79
Susan Greenfield
92
Thomas Metzinger
149
Kevin ORegan
160
Roger Penrose
173
Vilayanur Ramachandran
186
John Searle
198
Petra Stoerig
213
Francisco Varela
222
Max Velmans
233

Richard Gregory
104
Stuart Hameroff
115
Christof Koch
125
Stephen LaBerge
137
Daniel Wegner
245
Glossary
258
Index
269
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Page 9 - All theory is against the freedom of the will ; all experience is for it ', a judgment repeated in our time by Henry Sidgwick.

About the author (2006)

Susan Blackmore is a freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Her research interests include memes and the theory of memetics, evolutionary theory, consciousness, and meditation. She is author of The Meme Machine, as well as over seventy academic articles.

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