- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc (31 Oct. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195105532
- ISBN-13: 978-0195105537
- Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.6 x 24.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
896,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1831 in Books > Science & Nature > Medicine > Medical Sciences A-Z > Neurology
- #2071 in Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry > History & Philosophy
- #2776 in Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Medical & Healthcare Practitioners > Internal Medicine > Neurology & Clinical Neurophysiology
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (Philosophy of the Mind) Hardcover – 31 Oct 2004
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"The book is very well argued, thorough, sophisticated, honest, stimulating... It is certainly one of the best discussions of consciousness in existence, both as an advanced text and as an introduction to the issues." -- Times Higher Education Supplement
About the Author
About the Author: David J. Chalmers is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Born in Sydney, Australia, he has been a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford and a McDonnell Fellow at Washington University. His article "The Puzzle of Conscious Experience" appeared in the December 1995 issue of Scientific American.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some functionalists attempt to make the problem go away simply by declaring conscious states a matter of definition -- "pain" is some set of states of an information processing system, "pleasure" is some other, etc. Thus whether a robot that makes a convincing whine when you hit it actually experiences pain is a matter of definition.Read more ›
There is something useful to be found in this work for many people, from the interested general reader to the academic. The arguments are persuasive, clear, and so helpfully laid out - at no point was I lost, or seeking extra clarification. Chalmers is an extremely gifted writer, and the cohesion and exposition of his views are astounding. Here is a brief synopsis of the book:
- CHAPTERS 1 AND 2 - Chalmers introduces the mind as having, simply put, two aspects - the psychological (desires, beliefs), and the phenomenal ('feels', and the 'what it is like' element). The two categories may overlap, with the latter including some of the former. The phenomenal aspect of mind is what poses the hard questions about consciousness. Chalmers cashes out his notion of 'supervenience', which he uses to define physicalism and dualism. The reductive physicalist position is that the mental (inc. the phenomenal aspects) logically supervene on the physical.
- CHAPTERS 3, 4 AND 5 - Chalmers argues, persuasively, that the logical supervenience required for reductive physicalism fails. The arguments presented are a mix of new and previously existing ones, all presented clearly and forcefully. Chalmers proposes his view - naturalistic property dualism - using primarily the argument from the logical possibility of zombies: physically identical beings to us that nevertheless lack qualia. The possibility of such entities is hard to rule out, and that is all Chalmers needs for his argument to go through.Read more ›
Chalmers is a genuine metaphysician desperately trying to understand consciousness. He is very patient and modest in addressing materialism and has a high respect for it as a framework, especially in physics. He clearly understands how materialism is incredibly useful at accounting for the emergence of biochemical phenomena from low-level mechanics. He is not in anyway hostile to science he does not jump to conclusions without careful consideration and analysis of arguments and he has no affiliation with being anti-materialistic insofar as the traditional biological mechanics are concerned. He has no bias nor religious agenda and does not deny the success of mainstream, reductionist science. It is very comfortable to read and has a pleasant tone, just as Chalmers does in his interviews.
It is interesting to see someone finally address qualia and phenomenality as a real problem. It is probably the best explication of consciousness I've ever read insofar as it helps us define and understand the nature of what-it's-like-to-be-sentient, even though it doesn't provide an explanation for how or why phenomenality exists - still it is the best explication.
Nevertheless it is the best philosophy of mind literature I have read so far.
Great book 5/5.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Chalmers is first rate in this area of philosophy: willing to stick his neck out with some improbable conclusions, but these are his genuine deductions from awkward facts about... Read morePublished on 30 Dec. 2013 by Jonathan Whitaker
Came on time, (which is great because i needed this for a deadline) and good content though I knew what to expect as I had already read extracts.Published on 19 Dec. 2012 by D. Perquel
This is the definite treatment of the physicalism vs dualism question, in which David Chalmers develops his famous Zombie argument against physicalism. Read morePublished on 10 April 2012 by David
Philosopher and author David J. Chalmers makes an ambitious, daring attempt to expand the understanding of consciousness. Read morePublished on 30 Jun. 2006 by Rolf Dobelli
The book starts off very well; the first section on fundamentals is very well explained and is useful to anyone studying philosophy. Read morePublished on 26 Feb. 2002 by Amazon Customer
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the philosophy of mind or even for anyone who has ever puzzled over the phenomenon of consciousness. Read morePublished on 15 Sept. 1997
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