Consciousness is arguably the most important interdisciplinary area in contemporary philosophy of mind, with an explosion of research over the past thirty years from philosophers, psychologists, and scientists. It is also perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the world despite the fact that it is familiar to each of us. Consciousness also seems resistant to any straightforward physical explanation.
This book introduces readers to the contemporary problem of consciousness, providing a clear introduction to the overall landscape and a fair-minded critical survey of various theories of consciousness. Beginning with essential historical background to the problem of consciousness, Rocco Gennaro explores the following key topics and debates:
- the metaphysical problem of consciousness, including varieties of dualism and materialism;
- consciousness and neuroscience, particularly the question of whether consciousness can be reduced to brain activity or attentional mechanisms;
- representational and cognitive theories of consciousness;
- consciousness and psychopathology;
- animals, machines, and consciousness.
Extensive use is made of interesting phenomena throughout the book, ranging from blindsight, synaesthesia, and change blindness to phantom limb syndrome, split-brain cases, and dissociative identity disorder (DID).
The inclusion of chapter summaries, annotated further reading, and a glossary make this book essential reading for anyone seeking a clear and informative overview of the problem of consciousness, not only in philosophy but related fields such as psychology and cognitive science.