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Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind Hardcover – 4 Jun 2019


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"The AI quest for artificial minds has transformed the mystery of consciousness into philosophy with a deadline. In this gem of a book, Annaka Harris tackles consciousness controversies with incisive rigor and clarity, in a style that's accessible and captivating, yet never dumbed down."--Prof. Max Tegmark, MIT, author of Life 3.0: Being Human in the age of AI

"A user's guide to the scientific thinking on consciousness--delivering an assumption-shattering take on how we think about our mind, our self, and this very moment."--Daniel Goleman, author of NYT bestseller Emotional Intelligence

"Wild ideas are on the table--you'll come away with an appreciation of the major conflicts and the high stakes that come with any attempt to understand how consciousness really works."--Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist and author of The Big Picture

"There is a profound intellectual adventure awaiting the reader of this exquisite book."--Rebecca Goldstein, philosopher and author of Plato at the Googleplex

"Annaka Harris expertly and eloquently explores one of the deepest questions the
human mind has ever grappled with: itself. Harris turns the light inward, encouraging us to reflect on how we reflect as she clearly presents the prevailing theories of consciousness."--Dean Buonomano, neuroscientist and author of Your Brain is a Time Machine

"Conscious offers the clearest, most compelling explanation that I've seen of consciousness. If you've ever wondered how you have the capacity to wonder, some fascinating insights await you in these pages."--Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B

"Harris holds a mirror up to ourselves and the reflection she casts is wondrously unfamiliar. In salient prose that intertwines science and philosophy, Harris turns her joyful curiosity on the nature of awareness. Every sentence of this book works upon the next, delving the reader deeper into an exploration of consciousness. While most books that contemplate the mysteries of the universe make one feel small in comparison, Conscious gives the reader an undeniable sense of presence."
--Nathalia Holt, author of New York Times bestseller Rise of the Rocket Girls

"A remarkably focused, concise and provocative overview of the 'problem of Mind.' Written with great clarity, she gives readers unfamiliar with the debate a chance to see the fault lines defining modern discussions about the nature of consciousness."--Adam Frank, astrophysicist and author of About Time and Light of the Stars

"I have read many, many great books on consciousness in my life as a neuroscientist. Conscious tops them all, hands down. It deals with unsolved questions and dizzying concepts with a graciousness and clarity that leaves the reader deeply satisfied."--Marco Iacoboni, neuroscientist and author of Mirroring People

"A delectable introduction to a fundamental mystery that science has been struggling with since antiquity."--Christof Koch, neuroscientist and author of The Quest for Consciousness

From the Back Cover

What is consciousness? How does it arise? And why does it exist?

We take for granted our experience of being in the world. But the very existence of consciousness raises profound questions: Why would any collection of matter in the universe be conscious? How are we able to think about this? And why should we?

In this wonderfully accessible book, Annaka Harris guides us through the evolving definitions, philosophies, and scientific findings that probe our limited understanding of consciousness. Where does it reside, and what gives rise to it? Could it be an illusion, or is it a universal property of all matter? As we try to understand consciousness, we must grapple with how to define it and, in the age of artificial intelligence, who or what may possess it.

An illuminating meditation on the self, free will, and felt experience, Conscious offers lively and challenging arguments that alter our ideas about consciousness--allowing us to think freely about it for ourselves, if indeed we can.


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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 46 reviews
A Kelley
4.0 out of 5 starsGreat introduction to panpsychism
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2.0 out of 5 starsConscious fails to meet the lofty goal of accessibility
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4.0 out of 5 starsA Useful Introduction
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