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Consciousness Explained (Penguin Science)
Consciousness Explained (Penguin Science)
by Daniel C. Dennett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars missing two letters - "un", 21 July 2013
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This book would be better titled as "Consciousness Unexplained". Dennett has a genial and engaging, chatty manner which is good in talks (does he avoid debates ?) but doesn't quite work in print. The subject matter is technical and that fact is - despite his claim to be flying the flag for science and precision, he is even vaguer and less precise than the dualists he claims to be displacing.

His prose is prone to descend into techno-waffle, dragging in terms fromm computer science here, and philosophy there, whilst lacking any particular determination to achieve the goal of the title, namely to "Explain Consciousness". He spends pages and pages doing precisely NOT that, but engaging in a chatty discourse about how funny mental phenomena are. We know that - believe it or not - which is why we want some kind of explanation. This book doesnt' do it.

The gist of the book seems to be that although Dennett - to his credit - does not pretend that mental phenomena and consciousness do not exist ( a lot of the charlatans in Cognitive Science do ), he claims that it is some kind of illusion, a trick played by time and evolution. That seems to me to be probably the least satisfying explanation of the entire field, not least for its implicit anti-scientific claim that 'illusions' actually exist, and aren't simply phenomena capable of being investigated like any other.

I still can't fathom why so many people take his writing on this subject seriously. He has nothing really to say about consciousness at all, because like a lot of cognitive scientists, he spends all his time rationalising reasons for ignoring it. This is not serious academic thinking. Ironically, Dennett drive to please his anti-religious audience makes him colossally, religiously irrational about consciousness.

Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians
Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians
by Ilan Pappé
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get informed, 4 Nov. 2012
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Its incredibly difficult to get a handle on what's happening in Palestine because of the media's pro-European (hence pro-Israeli) bias - that, and coupled with ongoing guilt for the Holocaust - something to which Europeans have a great deal to feel guilty about but about which the Palestinian people should have no remorse whatsoever. Nonetheless, the victims of post-Holocaust Israeli expansionism have not been the perpertratos of the crimes agains the Jews, the Europeans, but the arabic indigenous settlers of the land now known as Israel, the Palestinians.

Pappe maps this crisis over the years and shows how US/Israeli media bias has perpetuated gross myths about Israel, particularly the Nakbah, or palestinian holocaust, of 1948. The denial of the war crimes of the Israelis stems from refusing to acknowledge the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that started then, in 1948. An excellent book

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