"Brilliant...as audacious as its title....Mr. Dennett's exposition is nothing short of brilliant." --George Johnson, New York Times Book Review Consciousness Explained is a a full-scale exploration of human consciousness. In this landmark book, Daniel Dennett refutes the traditional, commonsense theory of consciousness and presents a new model, based on a wealth of information from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Our current theories about conscious life-of people, animal, even robots--are transformed by the new perspectives found in this book.
Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness
Author: Allan Combs
Publisher: Paragon House
Consciousness Explained Better is a unique contribution. This compact volume represents thousands of years of humanity's struggle to understand consciousness from a wide variety of perspectives. It is an up-to-date digest of the search in bite-sized chapters. Allan Combs has managed to encapsulate and synthesize vast bodies of thought and research without dilution. He has made even the most mind-twisting arguments and questions comprehensible, and he has brought forward scholarship and rigorous inquiry in language that speaks to the heart as well as the head. This book satisfies with its comprehensiveness yet intrigues with all that still remains enigmatic. It brings forward the yearning, the brilliance, the awe, and the outrageous audacity of our search to understand conscious. It reminds us that, in a world where much of our lives on a mundane basis has been reduced to the trivial, the logistical, and the manageable, everything about that world and about ourselves is still completely beyond our grasp. We still live and move in the Great Mystery. --From the Foreword by Jenny Wade, author of Changes of Mind and Transcendent Sex
Consciousness Explained is a groundbreaking new theory that presents an entirely new understanding of consciousness. Based solidly in modern physical, cognitive, and information science and in carefully analyzed direct experience, it provides a convincing explanation of what consciousness really is. Concise, accessible, and to the point it clearly explains consciousness in the context of reality itself. Our consciousness in a present moment through which time flows is the fundamental experience of our existence. But exactly what consciousness is and how it can arise from a physical universe has long been an unsolved mystery that has baffled generation after generation of philosophers and scientists. Though many have tried science itself has ultimately had nothing meaningful to say about either the nature of consciousness or the present moment in which it occurs. The fundamental problem of consciousness is that it's obviously not physical in the traditional sense we ascribe to the universe, and in this contradiction is the key to explaining its true nature. But when we step back and carefully reconsider the fundamental nature of reality we quickly discover that it simply can't be physical in the ordinary sense. In fact all the evidence suggests that it's actually a computational structure and that its apparent physical nature is an adaptive interpretation of its true information nature produced by our mind's internal simulation of reality. Thus to solve the mystery of consciousness we must first demonstrate how and why the universe seems physical even though it's actually computational. And then we must discover a new model of the fundamental nature of reality that is naturally compatible with the observed nature of consciousness and from which consciousness naturally emerges. This book does just that. It offers a convincing science compatible explanation of consciousness with the added benefit of shedding light on the true nature of reality as well. And finally it explains how the true fundamental nature of reality is actually being experienced as consciousness in every moment of our lives and how we can realize this more deeply and completely. All and all this is a book impossible to ignore which is sure to have a lasting impact on the study of both consciousness and reality for years to come.
To give a book the subtitle "Consciousness Explained" in light of the many contemporary descriptions that hold the mysteriousness of Consciousness seems daring. And yet, the implications of the subtitle are true. To then say that this book will depict much more, such as how evolution actually happens, and what the meaning of life may be in light of our present understanding of the world might seem downright preposterous. And yet, this is also true. Without knowing how the book approaches these subjects, many people who are reading this short description will probably be quite skeptical as to the contents of this work at this point. This is not undesired, for like it is written in the book's introduction, its author hopes that such skepticism will fuel the fire which will allow you to better perceive whether (or perhaps the extent to which) these claims are valid or not.
Why doesn't all this cognitive processing go on "in the dark," without anyconsciousness at all? In this book philosophers, physicists, psychologists, neurophysiologists,computer scientists, and others address this central topic in the growing discipline ofconsciousness studies.
`This is surely the ultimate expression of the top-down approach to consciousness, written with Sommerhoff's characteristic clarity and precision. It says far more than other books four times the size of this admirably concise volume. This book is destined to become a pillar of the subject' -Rodney Cotterill, Technical University of Denmark The problem of consciousness has been described as a mystery about which we are still in a terrible muddle and in Understanding Consciousness: Its Function and Brain Processes, the author unravels this mystery through a clarification of the main concepts related to consciousness, followed by a comprehensive biological explanation. Consequently, this book will be ideal for a wide-range of upper-level undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The author interprets consciousness as a property that can also be possessed by creatures lacking a language faculty and comprises all of the following: awareness of the surrounding world; awareness of the self as an entity; and awareness of such things as thoughts and feelings. He argues that a biological approach can achieve both the necessary conceptual clarifications and a joint explanation of these divisions of awareness in terms of just two accurately defined concepts of 'internal representation' and two empirically supported assumptions about the functional architecture of a specific set of brain processes. Despite this striking simplicity, his model covers these divisions of awareness, both as objective faculties of the brain and as subjective experience. These conclusions are applied to a broad range of fundamental questions, including the biological rationale of subjective experience and where consciousness resides in the neural networks.
Symposium Daniel C. Dennett's Consciousness Explained
In this groundbreaking merge of philosophy, science and Eastern wisdom, Richard Sha creates a compelling landscape to help us grasp the true nature of reality. In a systematic, step-by-step manner, he walks us from the startling discoveries of quantum physics, to a philosophical revolution, to the heart and soul of the Buddhist Sutras. He shows us that by shifting our attention, perspective and identity to the source of existence, and embracing silence in deep meditation, we can realize the relative and ultimate truth of the universe, mitigating much suffering. Sha, who has a degree in philosophy and spent decades researching consciousness, considered himself an atheist and materialist for most of his life. But after a decade dedicated to studying Eastern wisdom, Sha went into an ascetic existence for three years, spending countless hours immersed in deep meditation. He now has one foot dipped simultaneously in divine consciousness and the other foot dipped in this dream we think is reality, allowing him to navigate and inspire others. Using a didactic approach through conversations with characters, named Henosis, Loka, The Doctor, The Professor and The Priest, Sha explains how this is the end of materialism, new age, self-help propaganda, and other fantasies about consciousness. He details how waking up to the divine nature we all have access to, will ease suffering, the fear of death, and bring an abundance of higher love into our everyday lives. This book acts as a guide to find our true Self that for too long monotheistic religions have claimed as their own God in some other realm. He explains how consciousness is itself God, not something outside, but within ourselves. In essence, he shows us how we are all God, pure consciousness.