Read Consciousness ExplainedAuthor Daniel C. Dennett –

Consciousness explained Well, no, not exactly But a brilliant book nonetheless, despite the audaciousness of the title though I must admit that Dennett concedes that his explanation is far from complete and that cognitive theory is really still in its infancy or at least it was when this book was written I only read it recently, and perhaps it is a bit outdated for a book about the ever changing fields of cognitive theory, neuroscience, and psychology, but, if anything, this book does a really good job of refuting the farcical traditional theories of consciousness goodbye Dualism, Cartesian Theater, Ghost in the Machine and presents a workable alternative theory the Multiple Drafts Model I won t attempt to explain this model here in just a few short sentences you ll have to read it for yourself Suffice it to say that not only does this book illuminate some of the darker aspects of our conception of the mind self consciousness, it is also well written, entertaining, and really not that difficult a read for such an esoteric, slippery thing as consciousness. I love love love this book so much that I am hoping that when I die, the crime scene investigators will find it clutched tightly in my hand and will all have to read it very carefully perhaps to get clues about who killed me and then they will forget completely about investigating the crime and start totally getting into this astonishing book instead and will tell all their crime scene investigator buddies who will read it and tell their buddies and then everyone in the world will read it and the whole world will be different for having read it and appreciated it except for like three or four chumbuckets in Duluth or Boise or wherever who don t read books and who will feel so left out and mope around saying things like oh dear, how come everyone else in the entire world is reading that amazing Dennett book on exactly how consciousness works and all we are doing is just chewing on these lousy grass stems and watching old Flipper reruns and what a crappy life we have, and by the way whatever happened to that guy who died under those mysterious circumstances a while ago, did they ever figure out who killed him or what is up with that Brilliantas Audacious As Its TitleMr Dennett S Exposition Is Nothing Short Of Brilliant George Johnson, New York Times Book Review Consciousness Explained Is A A Full Scale Exploration Of Human Consciousness In This Landmark Book, Daniel Dennett Refutes The Traditional, Commonsense Theory Of Consciousness And Presents A New Model, Based On A Wealth Of Information From The Fields Of Neuroscience, Psychology, And Artificial Intelligence Our Current Theories About Conscious Life Of People, Animal, Even Robots Are Transformed By The New Perspectives Found In This Book Is it possible Is this going to finally be the book that explains the mystery of consciousness No No it is not.What would it even mean to explain consciousness Reminds me of Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy where they build this ultra powerful supercomputer to finally answer the mystery of life, the universe and everything, only to then realize that they don t actually know what the question means. A hard book to plough through and one that is so careful and meticulous that it never reaches an interesting or clear cut conlusion Dennett takes hundreds of pages to refute the idea of consciousness as a sentient observer sitting inside man s brain a concept known as the Cartesian Theatre I could have agreed about that being untrue in half a page When Dennett has finally finished explaining what consciousness is not, he disappointingly admits that he does not have a good alternative either Ok, he tentatively puts forward an image of primitive man starting to utter noises to himself as a possible early start of conscious reflection But that theory is hardly impressive then the Cartesian Theatre that the rest of the book wanted to prove wrong Consciousness Explained is an academical book that is totally useless, since it doesn t deliver any of the promises contained in the title. Yes, the title is audacious Yes, it s not a perfect book Yes, the subject is extremely complex and really smart people fight about it in prestigious journals, etc.But Dennett has some fine ideas nonetheless I go through periods of swinging in one direction and back again when it comes to what I ll just call the consciousness wars But lately Dennett s ideas are striking me as and correct and I ve always leaned in his and the Churchland s direction since I first began looking into these issues, maybe about two years ago For some extremely brief, but exciting probably so to people already immersed in the field and the debate overviews of his position s check these short videos out 1 What is the Mind Body Problem 2 Can Brain Explain Mind 3 Why is Consciousness So Mysterious 4 How Do Persons Maintain Their Identity There were parts of this book that were quite difficult and that I would probably have to reread a few times to fully appreciate, but ovreall it was a lot easier to read than most works of philosophy and or science that deal with the same subject matter There was a lot to think about here Dennett may not be correct in his several models of how consciousness works, which he labels with colorful names, such as multiple drafts and pandemonium, but he is honest enough to admit that they are just models He gives solid reasons why his models or something very much like them could be correct, and he offers ideas for how his models could be tested in controlled experiments And in any event, I was completely convinced that the intuitive ideas that most of us have about how the mind works, which Dennett labels as the Cartesian Theater, are completely wrong Our comprehension of the world is not a visual story that plays out in our heads, even though it may sometimes seem that way And it takes very careful thinking to avoid falling back into that intuitive trap again and again in new and different ways I avoided reading Dennett for years, but that was a mistake I m looking forward to exploring of his works. I must say, The reason I m giving such a low score is because I expected much much from this book Instead I faced with explanations of phenomena that could have been explained much clearer And the lack of answer to my question being How neurons give rise to consciousness To be perfectly clear, I do not mean how the mind works or how mind and brain are related Rather, what gives rise to a cultivated sense, a feeling, a qualia And I expected a physical theory, instead, he apparently skipped the whole problem altogether. If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Icing on the Cake Consciousness Explained by Daniel C Dennett Original Review, 1992 10 25 I feel uncoupled.Who knows for certain their inner experience of sights, smells, emotions, and the rest And this is why I often find the discussion frustrating from my reading of his work, Dennett has never denied the experience of being conscious What he is saying is that if you create a zombie doppelganger that resembles you in every way then the zombie will by necessity be of such complexity that it gives rise to consciousness And it will do so from normal, physics obeying, materialistic processes It is in this way that we are all the zombies of the thought experiment not that we are all empty machines that experience nothing. A friend urged me to read this book I got a couple of chapters into it, and found the author was telling me that we are all novelists , and that a large part of consciousness was going to be explained in terms of the ongoing narrative we spin in our interior monologues Shortly before, another friend had persuaded me to read some Derrida, and Dennett s arguments sounded a bit familiar Oddly enough, the two people in question had been dating at one point I looked around in Dennett s book, and, as far as I could gather, he had developed his arguments without looking at Derrida at all, though at some point he had been told that he ought to do so there was a grumpy acknowledgment that there might be a connection It is of course notorious that the analytical and Continental schools of philosophy don t get on very well.I read the whole book, but with misgivings about the basic approach Even leaving aside the question of whether or not Dennett s work is related to Derrida s, I felt that this novelist idea oversimplifies the question OK, let s agree that everyone does have an interior monologue proceeding in their heads, and that it has something to do with consciousness But calling it a monologue is surely not quite right, since there must be to it than just language There s an episode in one of the Feynman books where someone asks him to visualize a complex piece of machinery He does so You see, his friend says, consciousness isn t just an interior monologue Or words to that effect So the monologue has components of visual images as well, and most likely other things too None the less, if Dennett had fully delivered on his promise to explain how the interior monologue part worked, and how it related to consciousness, I would in no way have felt cheated I never really thought he did, though He got to the point where I was expecting to get the explanation, and it degenerated into hand waving and unconvincing examples Well, philosophy is very often like that perhaps it s enough that he made me think about the issues.