Bridget's Reviews > Consciousness Explained

Consciousness Explained by Daniel C. Dennett
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's review
Nov 03, 2011

Dennett does a great job of addressing a lot of different arguments in presenting his own ideas and does so pretty thoroughly. He comes from an entirely materialistic perspective and his goal is to basically not so much "explain" as "explain away" (in the words of a different reviewer) consciousness as a conceptual construct. In another of his books he describes the self as the "narrative center of gravity" - an analogy I like and which I think ties in well with the concepts he presents here.

Even though he is very thorough, I would argue he leaves something wanting as (and I can't remember if the book addressed this or not) he - necessarily, as he is completely materialistic - does not really satisfactorily address epiphenominal qualia or the ineffability of personal experiences. He explains *why* (on a physical, necessarily not a teleological level) we experience what we do, but not what such experiences really are (such as the experience of the color red, etc.).

Even if you don't agree with him or think he is complete, he presents a very thorough review of a great many issues and makes a good argument for his position.

I haven't actually finished the book yet, but I got through a great deal of it, discussed it in class a lot, and I won't get a chance to finish it for a while.

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