A blissful marriage of philosophy and literature,
This review is from: The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul (Penguin Press Science) (Paperback)
The "Fantasies" are selections from all sorts of literature dealing with the mind, consciousness and personal identity. The writers are people whose minds play on the border of art and science, from novelist Jorge Luis Borges to logician Raymond Smullyan. We get many bizarre thought experiments as well as science-based speculation, including Alan Turing's classic paper on machine intelligence.
The "Reflections" are companion essays by a hugely influential computer scientist and arguably the world's most prominent philosopher of mind, in which they draw together these thoughts into a long, sustained argument for a particular view of the relations between matter, mind and personality. Opposing views are aired and discussed at length.
The total effect is top-notch brain candy and a wonderful starting point for anyone who wants to think seriously about the mind. It was very useful for me to read before interviewing to study Philosophy at university. The thought experiments provided by the authors include a conversation with a self-aware ant colony, a book that preserves Einstein's consciousness by encoding all the patterns of his brain and the distorted sense of place felt by someone whose brain communicates with his body by long-distance radio link.