Review of Journal of Consciousness Studies [Book Review]

Times Literary Supplement (1994)
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Abstract

How does conscious experience emerge from a physical basis? At a first glance, this is the question about the mind that most needs answering. So it is curious that those who study the mind professionally have often avoided the question entirely. In psychology, the cognitive revolution did not make consciousness respectable: most cognitive psychologists have stuck to subjects such as learning, memory, and perception instead. Neuroscientists have been known to speculate on the topic, but usually only late at night, after a few drinks. Even philosophers have been curiously diffident. Some have been exercised by the fact that there is a problem, others have been concerned to deny the problem entirely, but the focus of inquiry has remained elsewhere. As in all these fields, serious theories of consciousness have been hard to come by.

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David Chalmers
New York University

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