The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates Block, N., O. Flanagan, and G. Güzeldere 1998
Almost everyone agrees that we possess consciousness, but as this book demonstrates, that’s where the agreement ends. What can we say about the mind without fear of contradiction? Not much, and that’s how the study of consciousness stands out from other scientific and philosophical endeavors—the field’s great minds argue cogently with little common ground, and nothing is safe from questioning.

For the adventurous and thoughtful reader, this is a paradise on the frontiers of knowledge. The Nature of Consciousness presumes a basic familiarity with science and philosophy, as well as a willingness to think and read carefully. With articles by such bright lights as Daniel Dennett, John Searle, Patricia Smith Churchland, and even the great William James, it provides both a comprehensive overview of the field and in-depth analyses of such issues as the mind-body problem and how we can study a phenomenon that may not be observed directly. It is best read as an update on Western scientific and philosophical replies to one of the great questions: Who are we? Given the universal appeal of such a question, the reader will undoubtedly find much within to challenge, puzzle, frustrate, and delight.—Rob Lightner

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