The Mystery of Consciousness Searle, J.R. 1997
The Wall Street Journal, Jim Holt
For sheer intellectual brio, it would be hard to beat John R. Searle’s The Mystery of Consciousness. Mr. Searle, a philosopher at Berkeley, casts a critical eye on recent attempts to solve the mind-body problem—how it is that the lump of gray meat in your skull produces consciousness—by eminent thinkers like Daniel Dennett, Roger Penrose and Francis Crick. Often he gives a clearer account of their ideas than can be found in their own books. With vigorous logic, he teases out the contradictions of dualism, materialism and computer-inspired “artificial intelligence,” which denies the very existence of consciousness. For evidence to the contrary, he urges the reader to pinch himself—which is the only thing that might detract from the pleasure of this book.