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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life affirming?, 6 Jan 2006
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This review is from: CONSCIOUSNESS - AN INTRODUCTION (Hardcover)
The presentation of this book will irritate traditionalists (There are lots of cartoons, and GCSE textbook style 'question boxes'), but this should not detract from an what is an excellent introduction to a highly complex topic. Blackmore excels in making very abstract and hypothetical ideas about human consciousness accesible to almost anyone.
In effect the book provides the reader with a 'jumping off point', suggesting that the only way in which you will gain insight into matters related to consciousness is by introspection. In other words, no theory will do the trick - the answers lie in analysing your own subjective experience. What Blackmore does is lay out the key points of various theories through all the relevant disciplines: psychology, philosophy, religion and science.
Of course, this approach does have its weakness - and this is true of any kind of popularisation of a subject. No doubt some would complain that Blackmores approach amounts to 'dumbing down'. However, this is exactly why the book is referred to as an 'introduction', and those looking for a new take on the subject will end up disappointed. However, there are ample references, enabling the reader to pick up on the leads Blackmore gives. As Blackmore writes, studying consciousness completely changes your view of the world, and its something you have to be ready for. Another guarantee is that you will end up more confused than you begun: consciousness can demystify far more than it can explain. However, if you want an intellectual challenge that will change your life this book is worth every penny.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lecturer's textbook - or state-of-art review ?, 4 Aug 2003
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C R Pearce (Bedfordview South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: CONSCIOUSNESS - AN INTRODUCTION (Hardcover)
I have really been looking forward to Susan Blackmore's latest book. Her previous "Meme Machine" was an absolutely pleasureable read, and resulted in much 'putting down a while and thinking about what one has just read'. A stimulating read.
This new book is modestly subtitled, "An Introduction" - but I suppose many definitive works on a particular subject are thus categorized. There is little doubt that the author covers the field thoroughly and meticulously, with some references as recently published as 2003.
What is a surprise is that the book is laid out for class study, with suggested activities, comprehension questions and further reading listed with every chapter. But thumbnail biographies of relevant personages also accompany each chapter, and pithy to-the-point quotations are dotted in the margins. Susan's son contributed cute little cartoons here and there, also relevant to the context. All in all, a well thought-out presentation which succeeds admirably.
As to actual content, this fuzzy science of human consciousness doesn't lend itself to breakthrough pronouncements - the 'Illusion of consciousness' and 'No free will' concepts are well covered in previous books.
Once again, the punting of Ms. Blackmore's personal Buddhist views are a little jarring - which she admits - but they do tend to detract from the overall scientific approach to the subject.
I recommend this book to laypeople such as myself who have an interest in this 'last great mystery of science ' - but don't expect a final word on the subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hugely exciting book!, 4 Sep 2009
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P. A. Tonkin (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: CONSCIOUSNESS - AN INTRODUCTION (Hardcover)
I had already read and very much enjoyed Sue's "Conversations on consciousness" - so this book seemed the natural progression. I adored the book. As ever, Sue writes with such flair & clarity on what is such a hugely puzzling but important subject. There is a great logical flow from the early ideas of Descartes, upto the conflicting ideas of the key modern thinkers such as; Chalmers, Dennet & Searle. I thought the self assesment tasks at the end of each chapter were a great way of checking how much of the material you had really taken in. It forced me to do several re-reads! My only wish perhaps, as a fairly mature student, was that Sue was still running such courses. City Lit in London, for example run some excellent Philosophy of mind courses - but nothing which really covers this area specifically!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brave and exciting book, 12 Nov 2004
This review is from: CONSCIOUSNESS - AN INTRODUCTION (Hardcover)
I agree with the other reviewiers - this is a well written and informative book especially given the subject. It can be used in class as a text book but also lends itself equally well to self learning.
I challenge any one not to be more intrigued by life after reading this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting and informative, 13 Aug 2013
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R. A. Blackwell "Poet Bob" (South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: CONSCIOUSNESS - AN INTRODUCTION (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the read, it was written in an understandable way, this it made for easy reading. It has increased my interest in the subject of Consciousness and I would recommend it to anyone with a similar interest.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super book!, 12 July 2010
This review is from: CONSCIOUSNESS - AN INTRODUCTION (Hardcover)
This has been written as a course text-book, with self assessment questions and exercises, but don't be put off by that. It is a superb introduction to a fascinating subject. I also suggest you ignore the reviewer who claims to know more about the subject than Dennett, and all the other experts quoted in the book, who says the book is all wrong. It isn't, he is.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll never be the same again..., 14 Dec 2007
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This review is from: CONSCIOUSNESS - AN INTRODUCTION (Hardcover)
Ooooh! This will really get you thinking about all sorts of things. Like, when exactly do you truly consciously make a decision to get off the toilet seat (try it next time!).

A brilliant book that can be picked up at any point and still remain comprehensible.

Definitely one for the shelf!
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CONSCIOUSNESS -                                                         AN INTRODUCTION
CONSCIOUSNESS - AN INTRODUCTION by Susan Blackmore (Hardcover - 30 May 2003)
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