Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
by Annaka Harris 2019
About the Author
Annaka Harris is an editor and consultant for science writers, specializing in neuroscience and physics, and her work has appeared in The New York Times. Visit her online at: http://annakaharris.com
About the Book
“Annaka Harris has a rare gift to breathe wonder into the familiar. In Conscious, her target is our very selves. She offers each reader the bracing pleasure of becoming an enigma, lucidly explains the experiments that underwrite her offer, and persuasively argues that one of the greatest mysteries of science may be sitting in your chair.” — Donald Hoffman, cognitive scientist and author of Visual Intelligence and The Case Against Reality
“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
“A beautiful, clear, and thoughtful examination of the imponderable topic of consciousness.” — Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary
As concise and enlightening as Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, this mind-expanding dive into the mystery of consciousness is an illuminating meditation on the self, free will, and felt experience.
What is consciousness? How does it arise? And why does it exist? We take our experience of being in the world for granted. 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 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 might possess it.
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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