A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind

Book - 2019
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"What is consciousness? How does it arise? And why does it exist? We take our experience of being in the world for granted. But the very existence of consciousness raises profound questions: Why would any collection of matter in the universe be conscious? How are we able to think about this? And why should we? In this wonderfully accessible book, Annaka Harris guides us through the evolving definitions, philosophies, and scientific findings that probe our limited understanding of consciousness. Where does it reside, and what gives rise to it? Could it be an illusion, or a universal property of all matter? As we try to understand consciousness, we must grapple with how to define it and, in the age of artificial intelligence, who or what might possess it. Conscious offers lively and challenging arguments that alter our ideas about consciousness--allowing us to think freely about it for ourselves, if indeed we can."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780062906717
Branch Call Number: 153 HARRI
Characteristics: 130 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm


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Feb 03, 2020

A very interesting topic but a very disappointing book. Fortunately it is a very quick and easy read. Unfortunately many of the key terms, like "consciousness" are plastic words, in that they mean different things in different contexts and to different people. The definition proposed by the author is not well explained and on the surface seems to be totally meaningless. Moreover, the author doesn't seem to take a scientifically informed, or even intellectually rigorous approach. While many other authors are quoted, giving the appearance of a serious effort, and a few of them are even serious scientific studies (which seem to be willfully misinterpreted), this book is nevertheless heavily weighted on supporting a pseudo-scientific idea which as a scientist I find frustratingly absurd and perhaps more than a little insulting. The author does touch on some serious ideas along the way that would have been far more fruitful to explore, but discounts them for no valid reason. Perhaps the author is trying to be controversial? If you are seriously interested in consciousness, I would highly recommend the Aeon article by a serious scientist, Professor Anil K. Seth: "The Real Problem" 2 Nov 2016, which is available online at

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