Consciousness: An Introduction

Front Cover
Routledge, Apr 27, 2018 - Psychology - 618 pages

Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness?

Or is consciousness itself an illusion?

Am I conscious now?

Now considered the 'last great mystery of science', consciousness was once viewed with extreme scepticism and rejected by mainstream scientists. It is now a significant area of research, albeit a contentious one, as well as a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience.

This edition of Consciousness, revised by author team Susan Blackmore and Emily Troscianko, explores the key theories and evidence in consciousness studies ranging from neuroscience and psychology to quantum theories and philosophy. It examines why the term ‘consciousness’ has no recognised definition and provides an opportunity to delve into personal intuitions about the self, mind, and consciousness.

Featuring comprehensive coverage of all core topics in the field, this edition includes:

  • Why the problem of consciousness is so hard
  • Neuroscience and the neural correlates of consciousness
  • Why we might be mistaken about our own minds
  • The apparent difference between conscious and unconscious
  • Theories of attention, free will, and self and other
  • The evolution of consciousness in animals and machines
  • Altered states from meditation to drugs and dreaming

Complete with key concept boxes, profiles of well-known thinkers, and questions and activities suitable for both independent study and group work, Consciousness provides a complete introduction to this fascinating field. Additional resources are available on the accompanying companion website:


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The unity of consciousness
Section Three Body and world
Conscious and unconscious
Agency and free will
Evolution and animal minds
The function of consciousness
Reality and imagination
Dreaming and beyond

The grand illusion 3 1 Ramachandran 3 1 Magic 3 2 Seeing or 3 1 How much am I seeing now?
Section Two The brain
Altered states of consciousness
Neuroscience and the neural correlates of consciousness 4 1 Koch 4 1 Mapping the brain 4 2 Phantom
The theatre of the mind
The theatre of the mind 5 1 Dennett 5 2 Baars 5 1 Seeing blue 5 1 What is it that is conscious? 5 1 Cartesian
The unity of consciousness 6 1 Tononi 6 1 Synaesthesia 6 2 Orwellian and 6 1 Is this experience 6 1 Are you
Section Six Self and other 16 Egos bundles and theories of self
The view from within?

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About the author (2018)

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, TED lecturer, and writer researching consciousness, memes, meditation, and anomalous experiences, and is Visiting Professor in Psychology at the University of Plymouth. The Meme Machine (1999) has been translated into 16 languages; more recent books include Zen and the Art of Consciousness (2011) and Seeing Myself: The New Science of Out-of-BodyExperiences (2017).

Emily T. Troscianko is a writer and researcher interested in mental health, readers’ responses to literature, and how the two might be linked – as well as what both have to do with human consciousness. She is a Research Associate at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford, writes the blog 'A Hunger Artist' for Psychology Today, and has published a monograph, Kafka’s Cognitive Realism (2014), exploring the strange phenomenon we call the ‘Kafkaesque’.

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