Rita Carter ponders the nature, origins, and purpose of consciousness in this fascinating inquiry into the toughest problem facing modern science and philosophy. Building on the foundation of her bestselling book Mapping the Mind, she considers whether consciousness is merely an illusion, a by-product of our brain's workings, some as yet inexplicable feature or property of the material universe or--as the latest physics may suggest--the very fundament of reality. Little, she discovers, is as it first seems.
Carter draws from a solid body of knowledge--empirical findings and theoretical hypotheses--about consciousness, much of it derived from recent discoveries about the brain. Her lively, accessible narrative ranges widely over new ways of thinking about the subject and what direction new research is taking. Leading scholars from a range of perspectives provide topical essays that complement Carter's account. The book also discusses how traditional approaches--philosophical, scientific, and experiential--might be brought together to create a more complete understanding of consciousness.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - fpagan - LibraryThing
Pretty meaty survey of the subject, despite the book's somewhat coffee-table-ish nature and the author's warning that she "... will not let you into the secret of consciousness, because I don't know ... Read full review
Exploring consciousnessUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Neuroscientists and philosophers refer to consciousness as "the hard problem." The most fundamental questions are still open to debate. What exactly is consciousness? How does a phenomenon that seems ... Read full review
1 A Stream of Illusion
Vision The Grand Illusion
The HigherOrder Thought Model of Consciousness
2 The Hard Problem
Facing up to Consciousness
Facing Backwards on the Problem of Consciousness
Solving the Hard Problem Naturally
A Quantum Description of Mind
What Do Robots Think About?
The Primordial SELF
7 The Conscious Self
Ownership and Agency
Predicting the Present
Meme Machines and Consciousness
9 A Conscious Universe?