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Updated 21 September 2019
Books on consciousness

A list of books relating to the hard problem of consciousness. Regularly updated cos I keep finding new stuff all the time.


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Within author/title. Enter alphabets and spaces only. E.g., ramachandran brain


2019

Martina Reuter & Frans Svensson (eds.)
Mind, Body, and Morality: New Perspectives on Descartes and Spinoza
(Routledge 2019)

Descartes has recently been reinterpreted in important ways, specifically concerning his work on mind and body, objective and formal reality, and morality. This has coincided with a renewed interest in overlooked parts of the Cartesian corpus and the similarities between Descartes and Spinoza. The essays in this volume examine this new turn in Descartes and Spinoza scholarship. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Michael S. A. Graziano
Rethinking Consciousness: A Scientific Theory of Subjective Experience
(W. W. Norton 2019)

Scholars have traditionally assumed that something as amorphous and slippery as consciousness must be impossible to understand scientifically. In this book, written for the general reader, Graziano spells out a promising scientific theory of consciousness—the attention-schema theory—that can apply equally to biological brains and artificial machines. See W. W. Norton | Amazon | Google

Sam Coleman (ed.)
The Knowledge Argument
(Cambridge 2019)

Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument revolves around a scientist, Mary, forced to study human colour vision using only black and white resources. The argument was designed to show that the ‘physicalist’ picture of the mind is incomplete. This volume examines this powerful and controversial argument and its relevance for philosophy of mind today. See Cambridge | Amazon | Google

Joseph LeDoux
The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains
(Penguin Random House 2019)

Renowned neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux digs into the natural history of life on earth to provide a new perspective on the similarities between us and our ancestors in deep time. This page-turning survey of the whole of terrestrial evolution sheds new light on how nervous systems evolved in animals, how the brain developed, and what it means to be human. See Penguin Random House | Amazon | Google

Donald Hoffman
The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes
(W. W. Norton 2019)

Do we perceive the world as it truly is? Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman says no: while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. How can it be that the world we see is not objective reality? And how can our senses be useful if they do not tell the truth? Hoffman grapples with these questions and more in this eye-opening work. See W. W. Norton | Amazon | Google

James Kingsland
Am I Dreaming?: The New Science of Consciousness and How Altered States Reboot the Brain
(Atlantic Books 2019)

When a computer goes wrong, we turn it off and on again. Kingsland reveals how the human brain is similar. By ‘rebooting’ our patterns of thinking, we can gain new perspectives into the world around us. From shamans in Peru to tech workers in Silicon Valley, this is a fascinating tour through lucid dreams, mindfulness, hypnotic trances, virtual reality and drug-induced hallucinations. See Atlantic Books | Amazon | Google

Declan Smithies
The Epistemic Role of Consciousness
(Oxford 2019)

What is the role of consciousness in our mental lives? Smithies argues that consciousness is essential to explaining how we can acquire knowledge and justified belief about the world. On this view, unconscious beings cannot form justified beliefs and so cannot know anything at all. Consciousness is the ultimate basis of all knowledge and epistemic justification. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Harold W. Noonan
Personal Identity
(Routledge 2019, 3rd edition)

Who am I? What is a person? What does it take for a person to persist from one time to another? What is the relation between the mind and the body? Thoroughly reviewed in light of advances in the latest research, the third edition of this book is a clear and comprehensive introduction to the foregoing questions and more. Previous editions 1989, 2003. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Axel Seemann
The Shared World: Perceptual Common Knowledge, Demonstrative Communication, and Social Space
(MIT 2019)

What is the role of others in the perception and cognition of our surroundings? Seemann argues that creatures capable of joint attention operate in an environment that they, through their communication with each other, help constitute. He shows how this illuminates both the social aspect of the mind as well as the larger philosophical debate about the nature of the mind. See MIT | Amazon | Google

Cheng, Deroy & Spence (eds.)
Spatial Senses: Philosophy of Perception in an Age of Science
(Routledge 2019)

This collection of essays brings together research on sense modalities in general and spatial perception in particular in a systematic and interdisciplinary way. It updates a long-standing philosophical fascination with this topic by incorporating theoretical and empirical research from cognitive science, neuroscience, and psychology. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Han-Kyul Kim
Locke’s Ideas of Mind and Body
(Routledge 2019)

Modern commentators have generally missed the significance of Locke’s ‘mind-body nominalism.’ His nominal symmetry between mind and body is not a form of metaphysical dualism. It is a brand of naturalism that does not insist that the material is ontologically prior to the mental. A highly original interpretation of Locke’s position on the mind-body problem. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Annaka Harris
Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
(Harper Collins 2019)

What is consciousness? How does it arise? And why does it exist? In this wonderfully accessible book, Harris guides us through the evolving definitions, philosophies and scientific findings that probe our limited understanding of consciousness. A mind-expanding dive into the mystery of consciousness and an illuminating meditation on the self, free will and felt experience. See Harper Collins | Amazon | Google

Colombo, Irvine & Stapleton (eds.)
Andy Clark and His Critics
(Oxford 2019)

A range of high-profile researchers in philosophy of mind and cognitive science critically engage with Clark’s work across the themes of: Extended, Embodied, Embedded, Enactive and Affective Minds; Natural Born Cyborgs; and Perception, Action, and Prediction. With a foreword by Daniel Dennett and replies by Clark. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Ramesh Chandra Pradhan
Mind, Meaning and World: A Transcendental Perspective
(Springer 2019)

This book approaches mind, meaning and consciousness from a non-naturalist or transcendental point of view. The problem of mind cannot be solved within the naturalist framework, which has reached a dead end. This work reverses this trend and brings back the long neglected transcendental theory of Kant and Husserl in the West and Vedanta and Buddhism in India. See Springer | Amazon | Google

Michael D. Kirchhoff & Julian Kiverstein
Extended Consciousness and Predictive Processing: A Third-Wave View
(Routledge 2019)

The authors defend the controversial view that phenomenal consciousness may be realised by processes that extend across brain, body, and the social, material, and cultural world. They show how the view can be advanced by means of the increasingly influential cognitive notion of predictive processing. A state-of-the-art tour of the thesis of extended consciousness. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Chimakonam, Egbai, Segun & Attoe
New Conversations on the Problems of Identity, Consciousness and Mind
(Springer 2019)

This book involves three new theories – sense-phenomenalism, equi-phenomenalism and proto-phenomenalism – arising from a new methodological framework, ‘conversational thinking,’ developed in African philosophy. Two former students and their teacher use conversational thinking to settle differences of opinion on the nature of mind and consciousness. See Springer | Amazon | Google

Tom Cochrane
The Emotional Mind: A Control Theory of Affective States
(Cambridge 2019)

This book offers a new theory of emotions and related affective states. Grounded in the principle of negative feedback control, Cochrane proposes a new kind of mental content called ‘valent representation,’ upon which affective states may be modeled as increasingly sophisticated layers of regulative control, which underpin the architecture of the mind as a whole. See Cambridge | Amazon | Google

Christian List
Why Free Will Is Real
(Harvard 2019)

Many philosophers have suggested that we may be causally determined at the neurophysiological level, but not at the psychological. List offers a detailed proposal of how this might work, and of how it can underpin an account of free will. An incisive introduction to contemporary thinking about how we might be free in a causally-determined world. See Harvard | Amazon | Google

Jan Faye
How Matter Becomes Conscious: A Naturalistic Theory of the Mind
(Springer 2019)

This book offers a promising alternative to the major theories of the mind-body problem. The quality of our experiences should not be associated with subjectivity that is not open for scientific explanation, nor with intrinsic properties of the brain. Instead, mental properties are extrinsic properties of the brain caused by the organism’s interaction with its environment. See Springer | Amazon | Google

Luke Roelofs
Combining Minds: How to Think about Composite Subjectivity
(Oxford 2019)

Roelofs examines the idea of minds built up out of other minds, asks if this is possible, and considers its implications. He surveys many areas of philosophy and psychology and concludes that composite subjectivity may be more common than we think. This is also the first book-length defence of constitutive panpsychism against all aspects of the ‘combination problem.’ See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Brian Glenney & José Filipe Silva (eds.)
The Senses and the History of Philosophy
(Routledge 2019)

The study of perception and the role of the senses have recently risen to prominence in philosophy. However, the philosophical history of the senses remains a relatively neglected subject. Moving beyond the current canon, this volume offers a wide-ranging philosophical exploration of the senses from the classical period to the present day. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Stephen T. Asma & Rami Gabriel
The Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition
(Harvard 2019)

For nearly 200 million years before humans developed a capacity to reason, the emotional centers of the brain were hard at work. Drawing on data and insights from philosophy, biology, anthropology, neuroscience, and psychology, Asma and Gabriel argue that emotional systems are indeed central to understanding the evolution of the human mind. See Harvard | Amazon | Google

Larry M. Jorgensen
Leibniz’s Naturalized Philosophy of Mind
(Oxford 2019)

A systematic reappraisal of Leibniz’s philosophy of mind, revealing the full metaphysical background that allowed him to see farther than his contemporaries. In recent philosophy much effort has been put into discovering a naturalized theory of mind. Leibniz’s efforts to reach a similar goal offer a critical stance from which we can assess our own theories. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Paul Thagard
Brain-Mind: From Neurons to Consciousness and Creativity
(Oxford 2019)

The mind has been identified with a soul, computer, brain, dynamical system, or even a social construction. Thagard explains a mind in terms of interacting mechanisms operating at multiple levels, from the molecular to the social, and shows how the semantic pointer architecture of Chris Eliasmith can help explain consciousness, cognition and related concepts. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka
The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul: Learning and the Origins of Consciousness
(MIT 2019)

What marked the evolutionary transition from organisms that lacked consciousness to those with consciousness – to minimal subjective experiencing, or, as Aristotle described it, “the sensitive soul”? In this book, Ginsburg and Jablonka propose a new theory about the origin of consciousness that finds learning to be the driving force in the transition to basic consciousness. See MIT | Amazon | Google

Anil Gupta
Conscious Experience: A Logical Inquiry
(Harvard 2019)

Gupta presents a novel account of the relation between conscious experience and logical reasoning. According to Gupta, the role of experience in cognition is not to provide us with concepts, knowledge, or entitlement to judgments. Its role is rather to authorize transitions from prior views to new views, including transitions from views to judgments. See Harvard | Amazon | Google

Kevin Connolly
Perceptual Learning: The Flexibility of the Senses
(Oxford 2019)

Experts from wine-tasters to radiologists to bird-watchers have all undergone perceptual learning: long-term changes in perception that result from practice or experience. Philosophers have noticed and discussed such cases for centuries. This book offers a comprehensive empirically-informed account of the phenomenon and explores its nature, scope and theoretical implications. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Adam Pautz & Daniel Stoljar (eds.)
Blockheads!: Essays on Ned Block’s Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness
(MIT 2019)

Perhaps more than any other philosopher of mind, Ned Block synthesizes philosophical and scientific approaches to the mind; he is unique in moving back and forth across this divide, doing so with creativity and intensity. This volume offers eighteen new essays on Block’s work along with substantive and wide-ranging replies by Block. See MIT | Amazon | Google

Alan Millar
Knowing by Perceiving
(Oxford 2019)

Epistemological discussions of perception usually sidestep the notion of knowledge and ask how perceptual beliefs can be justified in terms of “sensory experiences.” In contrast, Millar argues that perceptual justification should be grounded in perceptual knowledge, which should in turn be explained in terms of recognitional abilities. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Manuel Heras-Escribano
The Philosophy of Affordances
(Palgrave Macmillan 2019)

The concept of affordance, coined and developed in the field of ecological psychology, describes the possibilities for action available in the environment. This work spells out the key philosophical features of affordances and analyzes the implications that a proper understanding of affordances has for the philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences. See Palgrave | Amazon | Google

Douglas S. Duckworth
Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy of Mind and Nature
(Oxford 2019)

This thematic study engages some of the most critical topics in Buddhist thought, such as the nature of mind and the meaning of emptiness, across a wide range of traditions, including the “Middle Way” of Madhyamaka, Yogacara (“Mind-Only”), and tantra. Duckworth provides a richly textured overview of the nature of mind, language, and world in Tibetan Buddhist traditions. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Kevin Morris
Physicalism Deconstructed: Levels of Reality and the Mind–Body Problem
(Cambridge 2019)

Contemporary forms of physicalism are typically non-reductive, levels-based positions, on which the physical domain is fundamental, while thought and consciousness are higher-level processes, dependent somehow on physical processes. Morris shows that it is hard to make sense of this idea and recommends instead a form of one-level, reductive physicalism. See Cambridge | Amazon | Google