Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness?
Or is consciousness itself an illusion?
Am I conscious now?
Now considered the 'last great mystery of science', consciousness was once viewed with extreme scepticism and rejected by mainstream scientists. It is now a significant area of research, albeit a contentious one, as well as a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience.
This edition of Consciousness, revised by author team Susan Blackmore and Emily Troscianko, explores the key theories and evidence in consciousness studies ranging from neuroscience and psychology to quantum theories and philosophy. It examines why the term ‘consciousness’ has no recognised definition and provides an opportunity to delve into personal intuitions about the self, mind, and consciousness.
Featuring comprehensive coverage of all core topics in the field, this edition includes:
- Why the problem of consciousness is so hard
- Neuroscience and the neural correlates of consciousness
- Why we might be mistaken about our own minds
- The apparent difference between conscious and unconscious
- Theories of attention, free will, and self and other
- The evolution of consciousness in animals and machines
- Altered states from meditation to drugs and dreaming
Complete with key concept boxes, profiles of well-known thinkers, and questions and activities suitable for both independent study and group work, Consciousness provides a complete introduction to this fascinating field. Additional resources are available on the accompanying companion website: www.routledge.com/cw/blackmore
Table of Contents
Introduction, Section One: The problem, 1. What’s the problem? 2. What’s it like to be…? 3. The grand illusion, Section Two: The brain, 4. Neuroscience and the correlates of consciousness, 5. The theatre of the mind, 6. The unity of consciousness, Section Three: Body and world, 7. Attention, 8. Conscious and unconscious, 9. Agency and free will, Section Four: Evolution, 10. Evolution and animal minds, 11. The function of consciousness, 12. The evolution of machines, Section Five: Borderlands, 13. Altered states of consciousness, 14. Reality and imagination, 15. Dreaming and beyond, Section Six: Self and other, 16. Egos, bundles, and theories of self, 17. The view from within?, 18. Waking up
Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, TED lecturer, and writer researching consciousness, memes, meditation, and anomalous experiences, and is Visiting Professor in Psychology at the University of Plymouth. The Meme Machine (1999) has been translated into 16 languages; more recent books include Zen and the Art of Consciousness (2011) and Seeing Myself: The New Science of Out-of-BodyExperiences (2017).
Emily T. Troscianko is a writer and researcher interested in mental health, readers’ responses to literature, and how the two might be linked – as well as what both have to do with human consciousness. She is a Research Associate at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford, writes the blog 'A Hunger Artist' for Psychology Today, and has published a monograph, Kafka’s Cognitive Realism (2014), exploring the strange phenomenon we call the ‘Kafkaesque’.
Competent, entertaining and accessible. It covers an enormous range of topics from machine consciousness to altered states and secular spirituality. This new edition is probably the best introduction to the exploding field of consciousness studies.
Thomas Metzinger, Philosophisches Seminar, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany
Blackmore and Troscianko’s book remains the best introduction to consciousness on the market. The sheer breadth of literature that is reviewed and evaluated will not only satisfy the most enquiring of academic minds, but also succeeds in delivering a great deal of academic content in an enjoyable, readable and accessible style for any interested reader. It provides a comprehensive introduction to so many relevant features of consciousness, making it the go-to book for anyone interested in the field. Blackmore and Troscianko have managed what might have seemed impossible: they’ve made a great book even greater.
Guy Saunders, Senior Lecturer in Consciousness Studies, University of the West of England, UK
Revised, updated, and supplemented with new perspectives, this third edition is a friendly and sure-footed guide through the dense forest of consciousness studies. Packing their text with activities, practice exercises, and quotations, the authors not only inform their readers about the science and philosophy of consciousness, but also teach them how to think about the topic for themselves. A superb introduction to a fascinating field.
Keith Frankish, Honorary Reader in Philosophy, The University of Sheffield, UK
What is consciousness, and how can it arise within the natural order? This remarkable book offers concise, colourful, and provocative windows into nearly every corner of this complex, multi-disciplinary debate. The result is a comprehensive, user-friendly guide to one of the most conceptually puzzling and scientifically challenging questions of our time.
Andy Clark FBA, FRSE, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, University of Edinburgh, UK
The Third Edition of Consciousness is choc a bloc with ideas, data and literary references. I am enjoying reading it from cover to cover.
Allan Hobson, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, USA
For anyone interested in plunging into the murky but entrancing depths of the psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience of consciousness, B&W’s book is the perfect place to start. Moreover, it is a stimulating and challenging resource for specialists in the field.
Nick Chater, American Journal of Psychology
Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.