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.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 528 pages  
ISBN: 0316180661
Salesrank: 35921
Published: 1992 Back Bay Books
Amazon price $10.84
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 528 pages  
ISBN: 0140128670
Salesrank: 33086
Weight:0.79 lbs
Published: 1993 Penguin
Amazon price £9.96
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 528 pages  
ISBN: 0316180661
Salesrank: 8914
Weight:1.25 lbs
Published: 1992 Back Bay Books
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Product Description
The national bestseller chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 1991 is now available in paperback. The author of Brainstorms, Daniel C. Dennett replaces our traditional vision of consciousness with a new model based on a wealth of fact and theory from the latest scientific research.