Consciousness, "the last great mystery for science," remains a hot topic. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Exciting new developments in brain science are continuing the debates on these issues, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers. This controversial book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments, and the major theories, whilst also outlining the amazing pace of discoveries in neuroscience. Covering areas such as the construction of self in the brain, mechanisms of attention, the neural correlates of consciousness, and the physiology of altered states of consciousness, Susan Blackmore highlights our latest findings. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
WINNER OF THE 2014 BRAIN PRIZE From the acclaimed author of Reading in the Brain, a breathtaking look at the new science that can track consciousness deep in the brain How does our brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before. In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other cognitive neuroscientists worldwide have accomplished in defining, testing, and explaining the brain events behind a conscious state. We can now pin down the neurons that fire when a person reports becoming aware of a piece of information and understand the crucial role unconscious computations play in how we make decisions. The emerging theory enables a test of consciousness in animals, babies, and those with severe brain injuries. A joyous exploration of the mind and its thrilling complexities, Consciousness and the Brain will excite anyone interested in cutting-edge science and technology and the vast philosophical, personal, and ethical implications of finally quantifying consciousness. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Identifies literature as the richest record of human consciousness, revealing why it is not inconsistent with scientific knowledge and explaining through a series of essays on classic writers what novels can tell readers about the creative writing process. (Literature)
What is consciousness? The answer to this question has been pondered upon, grappled with, and argued about since time immemorial. There has never been an answer that achieved consensus; certainly philosophers have never agreed.In this book, William Lycan defends an original theory of mind that he calls "homuncular functionalism." He argues that human beings are "functionally organized information-processing systems" who have no non-physical parts or properties. However, Lycan also recognizes the subjective phenomenal qualities of mental states and events, and an important sense in which mind is "over and above" mere chemical matter. Along the way, Lycan reviews some diverse philosophical accounts of consciousness-including those of Kripke, Block, Campbell, Sellars, and Castañeda, among others-and demonstrates how what is valuable in each opposing view can be accommodated within his own theory. Consciousness is Lycan's most ambitious book, one that has engaged his attention for years. He handles a fascinating subject in a unique and undoubtedly controversial manner that will make this book a mainstay in the field of philosophy of mind. Consciousness, with these earlier works, is a Bradford Book.
From Perception to Reflection in the History of Philosophy
Author: Sara Heinämaa,Vili Lähteenmäki,Pauliina Remes
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
This collection represents the first historical survey focusing on the notion of consciousness. It approaches consciousness through its constitutive aspects, such as subjectivity, reflexivity, intentionality and selfhood. Covering discussions from ancient philosophy all the way to contemporary debates, the book enriches current systematic debates by uncovering historical roots of the notion of consciousness.
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: www.routledge.com/cw/blackmore ?
For two decades, students and instructors have relied on award-winning author Craig Smith’s detailed description and analysis of rhetorical theories and the historical contexts for major thinkers who advanced them. He employs key themes from important philosophical schools in this well-researched chronicle of rhetoric and human consciousness. One is that rhetoric is a response to uncertainty. The modern philosophers, like the naturalists of ancient Greece and the Scholastics who preceded them, tried to end uncertainty by combining the discoveries of science and psychology with rationalism. Their aim was progress and a consensus among experts as to what truth is. However, where modernism proved ineffective, rhetoric was revived to fill the breach. Another significant theme is that different conceptions of human consciousness lead to different theories of rhetoric, and for every major school of thought, another school of thought forms in reaction. Classic and contemporary examples demonstrate the usefulness of rhetorical theory, especially its ability to inform and guide. By providing probes for rhetorical criticism, discussions also demonstrate that rhetorical criticism illustrates, verifies, and refines rhetorical theory. Thus, the synergistic relationship between theory and criticism in rhetoric is no different than in other arts: Theory informs practice; analysis of successful practice refines theory. Smith’s absorbing study has been expanded to include thorough treatments of rhetoric in the Romantic Era, feminist and queer theory, and historical context for the creation of rhetorical theory and its use in public address.
The relation between subjective consciousness and the physical brain is widely regarded as the last mystery facing science. This book argues that there is no real puzzle here. Consciousness seems mysterious, not because of any hidden essence, but only because we think about it in a special way. David Papineau exposes the resulting potential for confusion, and shows that much scientific study of consciousness is misconceived. Modern physical science strongly supports a materialist account of consciousness. But there remains considerable resistance to this, both in philosophy and in the way most people think about the mind; we fall back on a dualist view, that consciousness is not part of the material world. Papineau argues that resistance to materialism is groundless. He offers a detailed analysis of the way human beings think about consciousness, and in particular the way in which we humans think about our conscious states by activating those selfsame states. His careful account of this distinctive mode of phenomenal thinking enables him, first, to show that the standard arguments against dualism are unsound, second, to explain why dualism is nevertheless so intuitively persuasive, and third, to expose much contemporary scientific study of consciousness as resting on a confusion. In placing a materialist account of consciousness on a firm foundation, this clear and forthright book lays many traditional problems to rest, and offers escape from immemorial misconceptions about the mind.
Walling and Hicks make a direct assault on the "Everest" of scientific mysteries. The authors trace the first glimmerings of consciousness in evolution and during emergence from anesthesia. There are no formulae or equations; all the difficult concepts have been presented as allegories and pictures. Unlike many philosophical books about consciousness, they have evidence to back up their ideas. This book is also an attempt to bridge the chasm between science and religion which the authors believe to be largely unnecessary.
Consciousness is perhaps the most puzzling problem we humans face in trying to understand ourselves. It has been the subject of intense study for several decades, but, despite substantial progress, the most difficult problems have still not reached any generally agreed solution. Future research can start with this book. Eighteen original, specially written essays offer new angles on the subject. The contributors, who include many of the leading figures in philosophy of mind, discuss such central topics as intentionality, phenomenal content, knowledge of mental states, consciousness and the brain, and the relevance of quantum mechanics to the study of consciousness.
What constitutes enjoyment of life? Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness offers a comprehensive survey of theoretical and empirical investigations of the "flow" experience, a desirable or optimal state of consciousness that enhances a person's psychic state. "Flow" can be said to occur when people are able to meet the challenges of their environment with appropriate skills, and accordingly feel a sense of well-being, a sense of mastery, and a heightened sense of self-esteem. The authors show the diverse contexts and circumstances in which flow is reported in different cultures (e.g. Japan, Korea, Australia, Italy), and describe its positive emotional impacts. They reflect on the concept of flow vis-à-vis modern social structures, historical phenomena, and evolutionary biocultural selection. The ways in which the ability to experience flow affects work satisfaction, academic success, and the overall quality of life are suggested; and the childrearing practices that result in the ability to derive enjoyment from life, considered.
The Origins and History of Consciousness is an important and wide-ranging interpretation of the relations between psychology and mythology. Erich Neumann undertakes to show that the individual consciousness passes through the same archetypal stages of development that marked the history of human consciousness as a whole. He draws upon the full range of world myth in the illustration of his thesis, and his account makes unexpectedly fresh and lively reading in a field not always notable for these qualities. Neumann ends the work with a trenchant commentary on contemporary society.
Experimental Insights into Meditation, Waking, Sleep and Dreams
Author: Dean Cvetkovic,Irena Cosic
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
In this accessible overview of current knowledge, an expert team of editors and authors describe experimental approaches to consciousness. These approaches are shedding light on some of the hitherto unknown aspects of the distinct states of human consciousness, including the waking state, different states of sleep and dreaming, meditation and more. The book presents the latest research studies by the contributing authors, whose specialities span neuroscience, neurology, biomedical engineering, clinical psychology and psychophysiology, psychosocial medicine and anthropology. Overall this anthology provides the reader with a clear picture of how different states of consciousness can be defined, experimentally measured and analysed. A future byproduct of this knowledge may be anticipated in the development of systematic corrective treatments for many disorders and pathological problems of consciousness.
Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one's environment. It is a subject of much research in philosophy of the mind, psychology, neurology, and cognitive science. This book presents a compilation of new and significant research on the many facets of consciousness. These include psychoenergetic studies, neurobiological hypothesis, theories on unconsciousness and psychoanalytic theories relating to sexual experiences.
Consciousness is undoubtedly one of the last remaining scientific mysteries and hence one of the greatest contemporary scientific challenges. How does the brain's activity result in the rich phenomenology that characterizes our waking life? Are animals conscious? Why did consciousness evolve? How does science proceed to answer such questions? Can we define what consciousness is? Can we measure it? Can we use experimental results to further our understanding of disorders of consciousness, such as those seen in schizophrenia, delirium, or altered states of consciousness? These questions are at the heart of contemporary research in the domain. Answering them requires a fundamentally interdisciplinary approach that engages not only philosophers, but also neuroscientists and psychologists in a joint effort to develop novel approaches that reflect both the stunning recent advances in imaging methods as well as the continuing refinement of our concepts of consciousness. In this light, the Oxford Companion to Consciousness is the most complete authoritative survey of contemporary research on consciousness. Five years in the making and including over 250 concise entries written by leaders in the field, the volume covers both fundamental knowledge as well as more recent advances in this rapidly changing domain. Structured as an easy-to-use dictionary and extensively cross-referenced, the Companion offers contributions from philosophy of mind to neuroscience, from experimental psychology to clinical findings, so reflecting the profoundly interdisciplinary nature of the domain. Particular care has been taken to ensure that each of the entries is accessible to the general reader and that the overall volume represents a comprehensive snapshot of the contemporary study of consciousness. The result is a unique compendium that will prove indispensable to anyone interested in consciousness, from beginning students wishing to clarify a concept to professional consciousness researchers looking for the best characterization of a particular phenomenon.
In Matter and Consciousness, Paul Churchland presents a concise and contemporary overview of the philosophical issues surrounding the mind and explains the main theories and philosophical positions that have been proposed to solve them. Making the case for the relevance of theoretical and experimental results in neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence for the philosophy of mind, Churchland reviews current developments in the cognitive sciences and offers a clear and accessible account of the connections to philosophy of mind.For this third edition, the text has been updated and revised throughout. The changes range from references to the iPhone's "Siri" to expanded discussions of the work of such contemporary philosophers as David Chalmers, John Searle, and Thomas Nagel. Churchland describes new research in evolution, genetics, and visual neuroscience, among other areas, arguing that the philosophical significance of these new findings lies in the support they tend to give to the reductive and eliminative versions of materialism.Matter and Consciousness, written by the most distinguished theorist and commentator in the field, offers an authoritative summary and sourcebook for issues in philosophy of mind. It is suitable for use as an introductory undergraduate text.
This, the second of three volumes of Susan Sontag's journals and notebooks, begins where the first volume left off, in the middle of the 1960s. It traces and documents Sontag's evolution from fledgling participant in the artistic and intellectual world of New York City to world-renowned critic and dominant force in the world of ideas with the publication of the groundbreaking Against Interpretation in 1966. As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh follows Sontag through the turbulent years of the 1960s—from her trip to Hanoi at the peak of the Vietnam War to her time making films in Sweden—up to 1981 and the beginning of the Reagan era. This is an invaluable record of the inner workings of one of the most inquisitive and analytical thinkers of the twentieth century at the height of her power. It is also a remarkable document of one individual's political and moral awakening.
What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? In Consciousness and the Social Brain, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano lays out an audacious new theory to account for the deepest mystery of them all. The human brain has evolved a complex circuitry that allows it to be socially intelligent. This social machinery has only just begun to be studied in detail. One function of this circuitry is to attribute awareness to others: to compute that person Y is aware of thing X. In Graziano's theory, the machinery that attributes awareness to others also attributes it to oneself. Damage that machinery and you disrupt your own awareness. Graziano discusses the science, the evidence, the philosophy, and the surprising implications of this new theory.
In the past two decades there has been considerable interest in the ways in which subjects are positioned in discursive practice. This interest has entailed a focus on the role of language and discourse in the processes in and through which subjects are constituted in discourse. However, questions of agency and how it relates to consciousness have received less attention. This book explores the ways in which agency and consciousness are created through transactions between self and other. The book argues that it is necessary to regard body-brain interactions in the context of the social and discursive practices which act upon human bodies. These issues of agency and individuation are explored in relation to infant semiosis, as well as in relation to children's symbolic play. Thibault looks at the importance of the self-referential moral conscience in relation to the interpersonal dimension of all acts of meaning-making. This conscience is also connected to the development of a self-referential viewpoint which the book argues is connected to the ecosocial semiotic systems of thinking about consciousness as a complex system operating on many different levels. The author discusses and evaluates the work of linguists, psychologists, biologists, semioticians, and sociologists such as Basil Bernstein, Mikhail Bakhtin, J. J. Gibson, M. A. K. Halliday, Walter Kauffman, Lakoff & Johnson, Jay Lemke, Jean Piaget and Stanley Salthe, to develop a new theory of agency and consciousness.