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Sydney Shoemaker

Tim Bayne

The Unity of Consciousness

In The Unity of Consciousness Tim Bayne argues that if you have two conscious experiences at the same time, then it is necessary to think of them as unified, rather than as two separate events.

The book is in three parts. The first goes in to detail of what precisely the 'The Unity of Consciousness' means. The second part examines non-standard conscious states, such as schizophrenia, mutiple personalities, hypnotism, and that of split brain patients. Although some of these might seem to imply two or more separate streams of consciousness in the same person, Bayne argues that they do not - that the unity of consciousness is always preserved. The final part of the book looks at some of the implications of the unity thesis, such as the nature of the self, and the atomism vs holism argument.

Its definitely a book for philosophers rather than the general reader. I found some of the material in parts 2 and 3 of interest, but there was too much wordy philosophising to wade through, and in the end I began to think 'Is the Unity of Consciousness really that important an idea'. But if you think that it is then you're likely to find this book a valuable discussion of the topic.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews