Adam Zeman has given us an intriguing book, one that, on principle, eludes easy categorization. On the one hand, like any user’s guide, Consciousness provides information ranging from the most basic to the highly specialized , plus a fifteen page glossary of technical terms . Like any manual, Consciousness is no cosy cover-to-cover read; in a preliminary note, Zeman considerately suggests selective strategies. For all that, the User’s Guide is far from being a typical manual or, for that matter, a standard text of any sort. Zeman sees the study of consciousness as positioned on “a fault line in human thought...between the sciences and the arts” and hopes “to mediate between...scientists and philosophers [who have]...an interest in consciousness” . Beyond interpreting the work of each community to the other, Zeman wants to challenge their entrenched separation. Late in the book, he wistfully conjures up sophisticated alien intelligences who report with bemusement a “curious” division between arts and sciences observed among earthlings . Readers who pick up Consciousness: A user’s guide should be prepared for a highly personal vade mecum
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