As a global organisation, we, like many others, recognize the significant threat posed by the coronavirus. During this time, we have made some of our learning resources freely accessible. Our distribution centres are open and orders can be placed online. Do be advised that shipments may be delayed due to extra safety precautions implemented at our centres and delays with local shipping carriers. Conversations on Consciousness is just that - a series of twenty lively and challenging conversations between Sue Blackmore and some of the world's leading philosophers and scientists.
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Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Conversations on Consciousness by Susan Blackmore. In Conversations on Consciousness, Susan Blackmore interviews some of the great minds of our time, a who's who of eminent thinkers, all of whom have devoted much of their lives to understanding the concept of consciousness.
The interviewees, ranging from major philosophers to renowned scientists, talk candidly with Blackmore about some of the key philosophical issues confr In Conversations on Consciousness, Susan Blackmore interviews some of the great minds of our time, a who's who of eminent thinkers, all of whom have devoted much of their lives to understanding the concept of consciousness.
The interviewees, ranging from major philosophers to renowned scientists, talk candidly with Blackmore about some of the key philosophical issues confronting us in a series of conversations that are revealing, insightful, and stimulating. They ruminate on the nature of consciousness is it something apart from the brain? Some of these thinkers say no, but most believe that we will pierce the mystery surrounding consciousness, and that neuroscience will provide the key.
Blackmore goes beyond the issue of consciousness to ask other intriguing questions: Is there free will? A question which yields many conflicted replies, with most saying yes and no. If not, how does this effect the way you live your life; and more broadly, how has your work changed the way you live?
Paired with an introduction and extensive glossary that provide helpful background information, these provocative conversations illuminate how some of the greatest minds tackle some of the most difficult questions about human nature.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Conversations on Consciousness , please sign up. Who does she interview? Itwould be interesting to know as books here are very expensive. This is unlikely to be available through the Public book system here. See 1 question about Conversations on Consciousness…. Lists with This Book.
Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 09, David rated it it was ok. I finished reading Susan Blackmore's Conversations on Consciousness today aah, the benefit of being under the weather over shabbat. This book is definitely worth reading, because over the course of doing so, I became convinced that none of these thinkers are any closer to understand the central riddle of consciousness than the blind men grasping the elephant.
There is not widespread agreement on problem definitions, basic methodologies, or even what the known elements are. I wouldn't say that I finished reading Susan Blackmore's Conversations on Consciousness today aah, the benefit of being under the weather over shabbat. I wouldn't say that we've progressed much past the era of Plato's Cave in our thinking. I noticed something as I was reading this multiplicity of views on fundamental topics: Western religious thought was completely absent. The predominant viewpoint was functionally athiestic, and those who admitted any spiritual or religious thinking were either Buddhist or Hindu in their background or thinking.
Kabbalah was mentioned in a way which equated it with Eastern mysticism which shows a profound misunderstanding of both, honestly , and that was the closest to any Abrahamic tradition cited. It is a shame that no inspiration is drawn from the rationalist notions of the Talmud - there, the point-of-view is assumed, and the idea that one may witness event X in a reportable manner but witness event Y in a non-reportable manner is also a given.
The idea of a soul is pretty much derided by these thinkers, and that's unfortunate. I'm reminded of J. Michael Straczynski who said "faith and reason are shoes on your feet; you get much further with both than with just one. Blackmore is a good interviewer, and she asks interesting questions. Two she asks of all of her thinkers are "do you think you have free will?
This should not be confused with the zombies of either Jonathan Coulton or The Franchise fame Now, to my untutored eye, these questions are both ridiculous. Of course I have free will or at least "free won't" in the Hofstaderian sense - I can't will myself to fly around the room, but I can will myself not to get off the couch , and I would firmly place the burden of proof on anyone who would suggest otherwise - they should have to construct a testable hypothesis rather than a mere thought experiment, and once this has been done I'll entertain it.
Until then, I'll lump the "no free will" folks fit into the same category as the flat earthers and people trying to patent perpetual motion machines sidenote: the USPTO doesn't normally require working copies of patented machines, unless the stated claim violates the second law of thermodynamics But what about the Zombie? Um, what about him? I already can't know anyone else's internal state - this would speculate that there are beings with internal states which are qualitatively different from me who interact with me in ways where I can only experience their external actions?
That just described everyday existence. So to sum up, this book is a great review of where we stand in this field, and I would say that we're somewhere in the proto-phlogiston chemistry model of consciousness.
I suspect that in years, our descendants be deeply embarrassed by these ideas. View all 3 comments. Dec 14, Jon Stout rated it really liked it Recommends it for: robo-nerds and lotus-gazers. Shelves: philosophy. This collection of interviews served as a great opportunity to compare various points of view and professional approaches to the study of consciousness. Those interviewed fell into familiar categories: neuroscientists, philosophers, cognitive scientists, those interested in Buddhist meditation, and so forth.
Others had interesting ideas, that I might want to pursue, such as Chalmers and Wegner. Still others I co This collection of interviews served as a great opportunity to compare various points of view and professional approaches to the study of consciousness.
For example, even though I disagree with Dennett vehemently on many topics, I could appreciate his arguments against the Cartesian Theater, the idea that consciousness is a little theater inside of our heads in which we duplicate the world. The Cartesian Theater simply duplicates the problem of consciousness on a smaller scale, and thus begs the question. Some of the hardest headed scientific researchers seemed to fall into this error. I found Ramachandran particularly charming, because he was precise in his scientific observations and yet imaginative in his philosophical conclusions, and because he managed to integrate his scientific researches with a Hindu worldview.
Even though I would have liked to reread the interviews I liked best, I regretfully had to return the book, which I had obtained on an interlibrary loan. View all 7 comments.
Mar 17, Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it Recommends it for: those intrigued by consciousness, free will, and philosopher's zombies.
Shelves: science-mind-body. While the interviews are in part tailored to tap into the special insights of the given expert, a consistent series of questions is asked of each of the interviewees. This makes it easy for the reader to see not just differences in thinking across disciplines, but also different schools of thought within disciplines.
There is also a mix between individuals who have experience with meditation e. Ramachandran a neuroscientist famous for work on phantom limbs and behavioral neurology , and Roger Penrose a physicist who believes that quantum mechanics may prove crucial to figuring out consciousness.
The only back matter is a glossary, which is quite in-depth and which helps to clarify the many confusing concepts from various disciplines. There are a few cartoon drawings that lighten the tone, but serve no essential purpose. I enjoyed this book and found it thought-provoking. Sep 23, August Robert rated it really liked it. I'm so excited to learn more about what scientists know about consciousness! Neurons and synapses? Multiple drafts and heterophenomenology? Oh, okay.
Got it. No one really has any idea what consciousness is or how to study it. Jul 19, Todd Martin rated it it was ok Shelves: environment-science.
Topics discussed include: what consciousness is, where it resides, how it arises, whether it is separate from the brain, and the 'hard problem' of the existance of subjective experience in an objective world.
The answers are interesting, although the bottom line is that the science of consciousness is in its very early "Conversations on Consciousness" consists of a number of transcribed conversations which Susan Blackmore has had with scientists and philosophers on the question of consciousness. The answers are interesting, although the bottom line is that the science of consciousness is in its very early stages, and that there are more questions than answers and the answers that exist are loudly debated.
My main criticism of the book is that the questions are repetitious and that the answers are often incoherrent. In ancient Greece the best pathway to knowledge may have involved sitting around and thinking about stuff, but that is simply not the case today.
Conversations on Consciousness
Imagine sitting by a California swimming pool surrounded by flowers and hummingbirds and trying to interview the great biologist Francis Crick , writes Sue Blackmore. If it sounds peaceful, it wasn't. At the age of 78 and in failing health, Francis was more than a match for me. But what a treat it was to be able to delve into his theories of consciousness and discover the reasons why he thinks we'll one day find the neural basis for consciousness. My partner, Adam Hart-Davis , enjoyed the visit too. When we arrived at the door Francis greeted us warmly and then dismissed Adam instantly "You can go to the kitchen with Odile " he said, and Adam crept off like a lamb. This was one of the last interviews I did for my book " Conversations on Consciousness ".
Conversations on consciousness
Somewhat interesting, at least in bits. Reasonably accessible to the lay person. Susan Blackmore. In Conversations on Consciousness, Susan Blackmore interviews some of the great minds of our time, a who's who of eminent thinkers, all of whom have devoted much of their lives to understanding the concept of consciousness. The interviewees, ranging from major philosophers to renowned scientists, talk candidly with Blackmore about some of the key philosophical issues confronting us in a series of conversations that are revealing, insightful, and stimulating.
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