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The Mystery of Consciousness [Paperback]

John R. Searle
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 Nov 1998
An examination of the arguments of prominent thinkers in the field of human consciousness, incorporating issues surrounding artificial intelligence and the afterlife. The thinkers include: Francis Crick; Gerald Edelman; Roger Penrose; Daniel Dennett; and Israel Rosenfield.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (12 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862071225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862071223
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 476,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable insight into "The Mystery" 18 Mar 2001
John Searle's "The Mystery of Consciousness" is a wholly remarkable achievement. Materialists and Dualists alike will find it an intriguing work, as it not only gives Searle's own opinion, but also examines the work of many of the other leading philosophers and scientists in the field. The result, is a thorough dosage of a wide range of opinions.
For those unfamiliar with the philosophy of consciousness and the science of the brain, this book is simply an excellent starting point. Through this book, one feels free to make their own decisions about modern theories and has a wide range of options on how to proceed with their discovery of our consciousness. It is written with all levels of readership in mind, without being patronistic, which some books intended for "the lay population" can be.
For those already attune with the field, purchase this book from Amazon, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. It may even change some of your "concrete" opinions!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent review of thinking on consciousness 24 May 2002
By A Customer
The book is well written and not too hard for the non-specialist. It provides an excellent introduction to approaches to the study of consciousness, with some witty exchanges to boot. Top notch, much more accessible than Dennett and of manageable length.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete and accurate roundup. 5 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book flies through all the contemporary thinking about consciousness. It summarises and then unpicks all the arguments presented by Dennett, Crick, Penrose, Edelman, Chalmers, etc.
The unpicking is very good and readable (even if I disagree with some of it).
All in all a solid and thought provoking round up.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A punch-up in print. 6 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a solid round-up of most of the conteporary thinking about consciousness. Searle summarises each aspect and picks over it pointing out difficulties and 'absurdities' where hew disagrees.
Anyone reading this book will agree with some of the points on each side, disagree with others, and probably form a conclusion that there is a frenzied world of public argument and abuse between different philosophers out there. A world of argument that is only thinly masked by the pretty book covers and attempts to focus on subject matter.
Anyone who has read widely enough on the subject of consciousness will undoubtedly be annoyed by the 'isms and other jargon of philosophy of consciousness. This book is less "-ism'istic" than some, but at times it does descend into picking over aspects of arguments that (arguably) are not the main point.
Enough! - I'd better go and write my own book some more now.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a brilliant achievement 31 Jan 2007
John Searle's 'The Mystery of Consciousness", while a decent introduction to contemporary philosophy of mind's obsession with the 'problem of consciousness' is really little more than a poor defence of his own position by process of elimination: no-one else's theory is correct, either because it doesn't fit in with his own conception of consciousness or because it is openly hostile to it, so his own must be correct.

Having said that I found the book fairly entertaining, not least because of the way in which Searle and Dennett, for example, get personal about each other.

In all I'd say don't buy this book if you want to know anything about the details of contemporary debate about philosophy, but do buy it if you want to know how confused that debate has become. It is an admirable illustration of how philosophy of mind has become so mired in terminology that attempts to reach a conclusion are just impossible.
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