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Consciousness Explained (Penguin Science) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 530 pages|
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Top Customer Reviews
A large portion of the book is dedicated to dismantling ideas that are built on this model, I found the non-linear, revisionist perception of time to be one of the most powerful and thought provoking revelations.
Drawing from many fields of science (computing, psychology, neurology and evolutionary biology to name a few) he then goes on to describe his alternative model for consciousness. His multiple drafts theory is empirical, making falsifiable scientific predictions and I believe his description to be an accurate one.
The book is sometimes quite difficult to follow, philosophy is rarely an easy read but I've come to expect popular science writers to speak plainly, where Dawkins coins snappy and self-explanatory words such as "meme" or "concestor" Dennett's "heterophenomenology" is a nine syllable monster. Also it is not a riveting read, it has taken me almost a year to finally finish this book. I enjoyed the experiments, anecdotes, evolutionary biology and computer science much more than the reams of prelude and philosophical reasoning. In my opinion it would have been better as two books, one a highly technical exploration of the philosophy of mind and another popular science for the layman. I would have enjoyed the latter much more.
Finally I think that the title is misleading, it did transform my understanding of human consciousness but it raised as many new questions as it answered. I am no closer to understanding what consciousness is, what it means to be, or whether consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe or an emergent pattern in matter. Perhaps "Consciousness Described" would have been a more fitting title.
After discussing consciousness with various people, some well educated in philosophy and science, others who are insightful and others who are just regular guys, I have come to a conclusion. There are some people who do know what is meant by consciousness and there are others who just don't. Even some of the quite clever people. It's not about explaining it, I mean just knowing what is meant by consciousness as a word when used in a normal sentence. Daniel Dennett, unfortunately doesn't seem to know.
The trouble is, all of the brilliant explanations of what happens inside a brain make you forget that the initial problem wasn't to do with how the brain can process information. It was, how can we be _aware_ of information. Or indeed, _aware_ at all. If you can see the difference then you know what the word consciousness refers to.
It's a bit like if Newton had written a book called Forces Explained. Newton deduced that forces exist and elegantly expressed their interactions with matter. However, he was well aware that he didn't actually know what forces were. He was just very good at dealing with their consequences in terms of mathematical descriptions. D.D. explains many of the consequences and issues of having consciousness but fails to understand that these don't explain consciousness itself at all.
I'm rating it high because it's a good book. Just don't be misled by the title.
This is a great book, for making up your own mind. Dennett brilliantly takes us through all the contemporary findings and investigations of cognitive science without offering a solution to the "explanatory gap". The fact that he moved on to the subject of evolutionary biology in his subsequent books suggests he feels the gap is unbridgeable with present knowledge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting start to the book, but after a while it becomes apparent that Dennett is not going to explain consciousness at all. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
While I don't deny that Dennet's book is interesting and contains original ideas (I like his notion of heterophenomenology dispite its paradoxical appearance) the central notion is... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Martin
An outrageous Title....when he clearly doesn't prove anything,...of course Science shouldn't be based on magic or faith but neither should it make claims it can't prove .... Read morePublished 5 months ago by ColinDowson
I am not a fan of complicated words when having complex ideas explained - it gets in the way of the comprehension.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Worth reading twice. Very insightful and mind expandingPublished 6 months ago by William Baker Morrison
Tough going ... don't read it if u r sleepy ..... but well worth the effortPublished 6 months ago by bargain betty
This book is a really good read but also gives you a massive headache. Dennet's theory's are interesting but like many other reviews on amazon, the actual consciousness isn't fully... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Scott.A.H
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