Consciousness

  • by Susan Blackmore
  • Narrated by Tamara Marston
  • 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"The last great mystery for science," consciousness has become a controversial topic.
Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction challenges listeners to reconsider key concepts such as personality, free will, and the soul. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Exciting new developments in brain science are opening up these debates, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers.
This audiobook clarifies the potentially confusing arguments and clearly describes the major theories. Topics include vision and attention, theories of self, experiments on action and awareness, altered states of consciousness, and the effects of brain damage and drugs.
This lively, engaging, and authoritative audiobook provides a clear overview of the subject that combines the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience - and serves as a much-needed launch pad for further exploration of this complicated and unsolved issue.

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Audible Editor Reviews

An ideal starting point for those interested in learning more about human consciousness, accomplished British author Susan Blackmore provides a cohesive, astutely written primer that addresses the neurological, psychological, and philosophical issues surrounding the increasingly popular and sometimes unclassifiable area of study, including, but not limited to, explorations of free will, self-awareness, obscure medical conditions, and drug-induced hallucinations.
Tamara Marston’s pleasant, energetic tone elevates Blackmore’s already accessible prose, making for an illuminating and informative listen.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Substantial, Thought-Provoking, Clear Introduction

This fascinating short book is nicely read. It introduces the most important major topics of debate and discussion in consciousness studies, a field whose many unresolved, complex questions pose an especially difficult challenge for the writer of an introductory text like this. Blackmore has a knack for framing her discussion by starting with strange aspects of consciousness that we can all identify with from our daily experience, such as our sneaking suspicion that those around us might be zombies, or wondering whether the smell of coffee is the same to me as it is to others. She provides the most important theories regarding the issues under discussion, drawing from philosophy and cognitive science, then clearly states her own conclusions regarding which theory is most convincing. The book is very well-organized, focused around the “hard problem” regarding consciousness, meaning how the material brain creates it. A common shortcoming of introductory accounts of consciousness is an over-reliance on an often-regurgitated set of case studies that many authors dutifully recite without following up on the implications. This book avoids that mistake. Blackmore is careful to make sure the reader is always aware of the larger significance of the discussion. I found the final chapter especially exciting, where she decisively refutes the intuitive delusions that (1) selfhood perseveres consistently over time, and (2) that consciousness is a stream of experience.
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- A. Yerkes

Fascinating

Really thought-provoking. It explores the relationship between the physio-chemical functions of the brain and the phenomenon of consciousness. The author draws on research in various fields to explore questions that have traditionally been discussed by philosophers and mystics: Is there an eternal, unchangeable "me" underneath the fluctuations of my day-to-day experiences? Or is the sense that "I exist" really just an illusion? And lots of other interesting discussions. There are chapters on mental illness, perception and memory, the effects of psycho-active drugs on consciousness, and the question of free will. An interesting read for scientific-types as well as those with philosophical or spiritual orientations.
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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-19-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios