- A Study in Consciousness
- Narrated by: Howard Ellison
- Length: 2 hrs and 36 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 09-21-12
- Language: English
- Publisher: University Press Audiobooks
Regular price: $6.95
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Nicholas Humphrey begins this compelling exploration of the biggest of big questions with a challenge to the reader, and himself. What's involved in "seeing red"? What is it like for us to see someone else seeing something red?
Seeing a red screen tells us a fact about something in the world. But it also creates a new fact - a sensation in each of our minds, the feeling of redness. And that's the mystery. Conventional science so far hasn't told us what conscious sensations are made of, or how we get access to them, or why we have them at all. From an evolutionary perspective, what's the point of consciousness?
Humphrey offers a daring and novel solution, arguing that sensations are not things that happen to us, they are things we do - originating in our primordial ancestors' expressions of liking or disgust. Tracing the evolutionary trajectory through to human beings, he shows how this has led to sensations playing the key role in the human sense of Self.
The Self, as we now know it from within, seems to have fascinating other-worldly properties. It leads us to believe in mind-body duality and the existence of a soul. And such beliefs - even if mistaken - can be highly adaptive, because they increase the value we place on our own and others' lives.
"Consciousness matters," Humphrey concludes with striking paradox, "because it is its function to matter. It has been designed to create in human beings a Self whose life is worth pursuing."
The book is published by Harvard University Press.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By T. J. Stephenson on 05-25-18
Excellent contribution to the debate around Consciousness
It’s short but definitely worth buying. Narration very listenable. Anyone liking Daniel Dennett’s book Consciousness Explained will like this.