The third edition of the beast of a textbook that is Consciousness: An Introduction came out in April 2018. Our intention with it is to introduce students to the mystery-filled world of consciousness research by 1) familiarizing them with the vast range of relevant evidence and arguments and 2) helping them understand that and why there are no meta-answers yet.
Where to explore/buy
View a preview on Google Books.
Buy it from the Routledge website, with a 20% discount flyer.
Buy it from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
Find out more (including via a range of specially created videos) on the companion website.
Download a PDF of the front matter and introduction.
Read a review by Nick Chater. (As well as our review of his 2018 book, The Mind Is Flat [see the PDF preprint here].)
The first and second editions were my mother Sue Blackmore‘s creations (back in 2003 and 2010), and she couldn’t quite face the task of updating it again alone (I have no idea how she ever dared create it alone in the first place). One afternoon in Oxford in the summer of 2014, we seemed simultaneously to arrive at the idea that the two of us might collaborate on the third edition, and just shy of four years later, it finally materialised.
Here’s a video of Sue and me talking to Adam Hart-Davis (her husband, my stepfather!) on how the third edition came about:
The companion website includes lots more videos Sue and I made about the writing of the book and how to use it, and many suggestions for further reading, watching, and listening.
Table of contents
The ToC gives a sense of the vast scope of what’s covered in the book itself:
Section One | The problem
1. What’s the problem?
2. What is it like to be…?
3. The grand illusion
Section Two | The brain
4. Neuroscience and the correlates of consciousness
5. The theatre of the mind
6. The unity of consciousness
Section Three | Body and world
8. Conscious and unconscious
9. Agency and free will
Section Four | Evolution
10. Evolution and animal minds
11. The function of consciousness
12. The evolution of machines
Section Five | Borderlands
13. Altered states of consciousness
14. Reality and imagination
15. Dreaming and beyond
Section Six | Self and other
16. Egos, bundles, and theories of self
17. The view from within?
18. Waking up
More to watch
If you want to get a taste of Sue and me doing other consciousness-related things, here are a few videos from the Science of Consciousness conference at Tucson in 2022.
First, our talk on “How and why to teach consciousness”, complete with gruesome baby doll and furry lobster. (We’re the first 30 minutes.)
Second, our interviews with Nick Day for Consciousness Central, filmed at the conference. (Contrary to appearances, Sue is the first 15 minutes, and I’m 7 minutes from 25:21.)
Third, the interesting debacle that was Sue’s “dialogue” with Deepak Chopra.