Exploring Consciousness

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University of California Press, 2002 - Medical - 320 pages
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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.
 

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User 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 consciousness

User 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 ... Read full review

Contents

1 A Stream of Illusion
9
Vision The Grand Illusion
14
The HigherOrder Thought Model of Consciousness
43
2 The Hard Problem
47
Facing up to Consciousness
48
Facing Backwards on the Problem of Consciousness
49
Solving the Hard Problem Naturally
68
A Quantum Description of Mind
72
What Do Robots Think About?
178
The Primordial SELF
184
7 The Conscious Self
207
Ownership and Agency
225
Predicting the Present
230
Meme Machines and Consciousness
239
Fractured Consciousness
245
9 A Conscious Universe?
275

3 The Old Steam Whistle Test
77
The Making of Mind
98
4 Making Consciousation
101
5 Consciousnes and the Brain
141
The Network Mind
164
6 The Conscious Body
175
Quantum Minds
296
References
306
Further Reading
311
Index
314
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About the author (2002)

Rita Carter is a science writer whose work has appeared in, among other publications, The New York Times, Washington Post, New Scientist, and Daily Telegraph. She has twice been awarded the Medical Journalists' Association prize for outstanding contributions to medical journalism. Her first book, Mapping the Mind, was shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc science prize.

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