Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Danny Yee
George Johnson
Kevin B. Korb

Daniel C Dennett

Consciousness explained

The nature of consciousness is one of the 'hard' problems of philosophy. In Consciousness Explained, Daniel C Dennett tackles the problems head on, arguing that one doesn't need the mysteries of dualism in order to make sense of consciousness. The book is in three parts. The first introduces Dennett's arguments, as well as heterophenomenology - how our minds makes sense of experiences which include other minds. The second part describes Dennett's multiple drafts model, as well as looking at the evolution of mind and the relationship between language and consciousness. The third part looks at other philosophies of mind, with, of course, plenty of attacks on dualism.

In the chapter 'Qualia disqualified', Dennett says that if you're kite string gets too tangled, it's better to replace it than try to untangle it, and that it's much the same with trying to make sense of qualia. I can't help feeling that Dennett doesn't follow his own advice - much of his writing is trying to untangle the knots of dualism, and show that consciousness can be explained in a much more straightforward way. Indeed, sometime I wished that he could just let go - state his case and leave it, rather than worrying away at dualism for pages and pages. But the book does have plenty of examples of how the mind plays tricks on itself in order to invent this thing called consciousness, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to try to make sense of the subject. info
Paperback 528 pages  
ISBN: 0316180661
Salesrank: 104335
Published: 1992 Back Bay Books
Amazon price $12.98
Marketplace:New from $8.01:Used from $1.49
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Paperback 528 pages  
ISBN: 0316180661
Salesrank: 57862
Weight:1.25 lbs
Published: 1992 Back Bay Books
Amazon price CDN$ 17.75
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 17.75:Used from CDN$ 2.90
Buy from

Product Description
" audacious as its title....Mr. Dennett's exposition is nothing short of brilliant." --George Johnson, New York Times Book Review

Consciousness Explained is a a full-scale exploration of human consciousness. In this landmark book, Daniel Dennett refutes the traditional, commonsense theory of consciousness and presents a new model, based on a wealth of information from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Our current theories about conscious life-of people, animal, even robots--are transformed by the new perspectives found in this book.