David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Columbia University Press (2008)
Reviewed in: The Journal of the History of the Neural Sciences, 2011 (vol. 20, no. 2) Consciousness and Mental Life by Daniel N. Robinson This book is a refreshingly philosophical treatise on a topic that frequently falls victim to the predatory nature of the scientist's red herring. Not to detract from the merit of this pervasive red herring, but many volumes ostensibly about consciousness end up being little more than books on “mental life.” Expounding on the anatomical and cognitive fascinations that lure so many into the various fields of the neurosciences, the discourses neglect to directly address “consciousness” itself in the process. By sticking to the realm of philosophy, Robinson successfully avoids this misrepresentation of the titular topic “consciousness.”...The author sets out to defend an elite selection of classical philosophers — including Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Dewey, Russell, Wittgenstein — while also introducing more contemporary theories and examples. Robinson is honorably unbiased through most of this pursuit. He defends ideas that have earned their place in history while accomplishing exactly what he sets out to accomplish...When he does build an argument on questionable basic tenets, he is unequivocal: Whether one agrees with Robinson or not, readers at the very least will know whether they agree or disagree. Robinson is quite clear about where he stands, and his arguments allow the reader to further develop their own stance, regardless of whether the reader and Robinson are standing on separate planes. One of the attractive features of this book, and perhaps the strongest bolster to Robinson's defense lies in his provision of background and zeitgeist information in the early chapters. For example, in a chapter devoted to Descartes and his influence, the reader is briefly presented with Descartes’ education and the intellectual culture surrounding his work. Because the absence of such information has often been the cause of misunderstanding and neglect, this remembrance is a good scaffold for Robinson's points that follow. As to the style of the writing itself, it is nonpedantic and includes passages of great prose...I would frequently read a couple paragraphs, already have a question forming in my mind, and then be delighted, even awed, that the next few paragraphs addressed the question I was evolving...The book is not meant to be a comprehensive evaluation of all the philosophical viewpoints or musings on consciousness. It is a refreshing look at ideas that are no longer fresh for most readers...For the expert or well-versed person in theories of consciousness, Robinson's book is an asset...It requires concentration. But the effort will be duly rewarded... Christy M. Kelley Department of Neurological Sciences Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
|Keywords||consciousness the gap Cartesianism|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Buy the book||$29.93 new (41% off) $30.19 used (40% off) $45.00 direct from Amazon Amazon page|
|ISBN(s)||0231141009 9780231141000 0231512805|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Richard N. Williams & Edwin E. Gantt (2012). Felt Moral Obligation and the Moral Judgement–Moral Action Gap: Toward a Phenomenology of Moral Life. Journal of Moral Education 41 (4):417-435.
Carol Frogley Ellertson, Marc-Charles Ingerson & Richard N. Williams (forthcoming). Behavioral Ethics: A Critique and a Proposal. Journal of Business Ethics.
Similar books and articles
C. N. (2002). Epistemic Consciousness. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):425-441.
W. D. Lighthall (1926). The Outer Consciousness, a Biological Entity. Montreal, Witness Press.
David M. Rosenthal (1986). Two Concepts of Consciousness. Philosophical Studies 49 (May):329-59.
Benj Hellie (2002). Consciousness and Representationalism. In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Macmillan
Simon Baron-Cohen (1999). Can Studies of Autism Teach Us About Consciousness of the Physical and the Mental? Philosophical Explorations 2 (3):175-188.
Andrea Borsato (2009). Ist das Erleben Teil des Erlebten? Phänomenologische Forschungen (2009):37-59.
Neil Manson (2002). Epistemic Consciousness. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 33 (3):425-441.
Andrew Brook (1997). Unity of Consciousness and Other Mental Unities. In Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Ablex Press
Antti Revonsuo (1993). Is There a Ghost in the Cognitive Machinery? Philosophical Psychology 6 (4):387-405.
Added to index2009-09-14
Total downloads25 ( #153,322 of 1,902,204 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #466,168 of 1,902,204 )
How can I increase my downloads?