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Consciousness: An Introduction

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  311 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness? Or is consciousness itself just an illusion? The "last great mystery of science," consciousness was excluded from serious research for most of the last century but is now a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience. Recently the topic has also captured growing popul ...more
Paperback, 1st edition, 460 pages
Published October 16th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Georgia They should now be separated into 'Consciousness - An Introduction' - the Routledge et al textbook, and OUP's 'Consciousness - A Very Short…moreThey should now be separated into 'Consciousness - An Introduction' - the Routledge et al textbook, and OUP's 'Consciousness - A Very Short Introduction'(less)

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Tyson Schindler
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler alert! Consciousness, and it's by-product, free will, are mere illusions. But, useful and (somewhat) necessary ones. A great introductory (i.e. short and written for the layperson) exposition into human ("is there any other kind?" is a topic included) consciousness...
Morteza Ansarinia
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not a one-shot reading book, as in a single day. I was usually reading a chapter or two in a day and leaving the rest of the day mumbling new words and thinking about them. Chapters are all short and can be read in a half of an hour or less.

Also it is not that hard-reading book written for cognitive science or philosophy students, but a thought provoking and easy to read one for all. To be specific I've liked these sections (each consists of 3 or more chapters): Artificial Consciousness whi
Kayson Fakhar
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
کاملاً مختصر مفید.
احتمالاً یه ادیشن دیگه بود ولی فارسیش ۲۰۰ صفحست.
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is very much like a textbook, and the best textbook I've read. What a great book!
I have to read this for one of my university classes and actually finished reading the entire book before the course even started. (Never thought that would happen to me).

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Consciousness is one of the most fascinating mysteries of science and the combination of science and philosophy to address this phenomenon was captivating. My favorite section by far was the one on artificial consciousness.
However, toward the end of the book the chapters seem to be less
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is definitely an introduction, but over 450 pages is not "very short." The main concern in this book lies with the chasm between material brain and immaterial consciousness. It is written as a textbook, embraces many aspects of human consciousness, explains theories and introduces ideas. The jorgon demands some gnawing through, especially when one meets the words "homunculus," "skein," and "phlogiston" in the same sentence and does not happen to have a dictionary at hand. The best bits, I thi ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though merely an introduction, Susan Blackmore's CONSCIOUSNESS is surprisingly thorough. So thorough, in fact, that one occasionally wishes she'd just get on with it. This book is full to the brim with theories, hypothesis and potential explanations – which are all interesting, especially in light of the fact that consciousness is very difficult even to define.

I give this book high marks, especially due to its logical and clear structure. I imagine that it can be used as a reference work, and in
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbooks
Not a very good textbook. Way too informal and disorganized. A lot of the content was interesting, but there was an awful amount of filler - I felt like it could have been edited down to a quarter of its size easily. Sometimes it felt like a book for early high school students, but at the same time contained upper level university content. I also would have liked to see a whole lot more science/psychology and a whole lot less opinion.
Azaïs Hunter
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As the title would indicate this book introduces consciousness.
It is well written and neutral, and covers many competing theories from a scientific point.
If you follow the exercises, then this will probably change the way you think about many of the problems and experiences raised by consciousness.
But as the author had warned, the book will leave you perplexed about consciousness at the end.

A very good read and highly enlightening.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Superb. Actually a text book for graduate psychology students, but eminently readable and truly makes you think about what consciousness is (?), and what it is not, which is what most role believe!
Am I conscious now? I believe I'm conscious but I'm not so sure about you.
Read it with Steven Pinker, 'How the Mind Works'.
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  • Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings
  • The Mystery Of Consciousness
  • The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
  • The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans
  • Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist
  • Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind
  • A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination
  • The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self
  • Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind
  • The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview
  • A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness
  • The Illusion of Conscious Will
  • Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions
  • The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology
  • Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind/Brain
  • Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness
  • Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness
  • The Problem Of The Soul Two Visions Of Mind And How To Reconcile Them
Susan Jane Blackmore is a freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She has a degree in psychology and physiology from Oxford University (1973) and a PhD in parapsychology from the University of Surrey (1980). Her research interests include memes, evolutionary theory, consciousness, and meditation. She practices Zen and campaigns for drug l ...more
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