The Conscious Mind
David J. Chalmers
In Search of a Fundamental Theory
From the Publisher
What is consciousness? How do physical processes in the brain give rise to the self-aware mind and to feelings as profoundly varied as love or hate, aesthetic pleasure or spiritual yearning? These questions today are among the most hotly debated issues among scientists and philosophers, and we have seen in recent years superb volumes by such eminent figures as Francis Crick, Daniel C. Dennett, Gerald Edelman, and Roger Penrose, all firing volleys in what has come to be called the consciousness wars. Now, in The Conscious Mind, philosopher David J. Chalmers offers a cogent analysis of this heated debate as he unveils a major new theory of consciousness, one that rejects the prevailing reductionist trend of science, while offering provocative insights into the relationship between mind and brain.
Writing in a rigorous, thought-provoking style, the author takes us on a far-reaching tour through the philosophical ramifications of consciousness. Chalmers convincingly reveals how contemporary cognitive science and neurobiology have failed to explain how and why mental events emerge from physiological occurrences in the brain. He proposes instead that conscious experience must be understood in an entirely new light--as an irreducible entity (similar to such physical properties as time, mass, and space) that exists at a fundamental level and cannot be understood as the sum of its parts. And after suggesting some intriguing possibilities about the structure and laws of conscious experience, he details how his unique reinterpretation of the mind could be the focus of a new science. Throughout the book, Chalmers provides fascinating thought experiments that trenchantly illustrate his ideas.For example, in exploring the notion that consciousness could be experienced by machines as well as humans, Chalmers asks us to imagine a thinking brain in which neurons are slowly replaced by silicon chips that precisely duplicate their functions--as the neurons are replaced, will consciousness gradually fade away? The book also features thoughtful discussions of how the author's theories might be practically applied to subjects as diverse as artificial intelligence and the interpretation of quantum mechanics.
All of us have pondered the nature and meaning of consciousness. Engaging and penetrating, The Conscious Mind adds a fresh new perspective to the subject that is sure to spark debate about our understanding of the mind for years to come.
"Certainly one of the best discussions of consciousness in existence."--The Times Higher Education Supplement
"A startling first book....Offers an outstandingly competent survey of the field."--The Economist
"Chalmers shakes up the reductionist world of neurological research by asserting that scientists need to approach the conscious experience as a basic, nonphysical component of the world, similar to time, space, and matter."--Science News
"David Chalmers is widely credited for posing the so-called hard problem of consciousness:...What is the nature of subjective experience? Why do we have vividly felt experiences of the world? Why is there someone home inside our heads?"--The New York Times
Yankee Doodle Dandy (Hardback)
The Life and Times of Tod Sloan
From the Publisher
In the 1890s, feisty Tod Sloan (1874-1933) abandoned the centuries-old jockey tradition of riding in a straight sitting position and instead crouched low on the neck of his horse. The result was not only a string of victories for young Sloan but also a revolution in horse racing. In this entertaining book, award-winning author John Dizikes recounts the remarkable story of the Indiana boy who rose from obscurity to become the most famous jockey in the United States and Great Britain at the turn of the century. Dizikes evokes the turbulent, colorful world of horse racing and gambling in which Tod Sloan rocketed to celebrity-and from which he was just as dramatically ejected.
Sloan's innovative riding style helped to transform horse racing into the first nationally popular spectator sport, drawing in huge crowds and vast amounts of betting money. But Sloan's career was crushingly ended by those who resented and envied him. A dandy, a big spender, a man whose company women loved, Sloan related to horses in an almost magical way, yet foundered in his dealings with people. This book is the biography of a diminutive man who lived in large style, and lives on in George M. Cohan's musical Little Johnny Jones and Ernest Hemingway's short story "My Old Man." The book is also much more-a fascinating cultural history that illuminates the history of horse racing and betting, the democratization of sport, changing conceptions of masculinity, the hypocrisy of Victorian morality, the lionizing and demonizing of celebrities, and a variety of other inviting topics.