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Last revised 20 August 2018
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.

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


Paul Broks
The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Stars: A Neuropsychologist’s Odyssey Through Consciousness
(Allen Lane 2018)

When celebrated neuropsychologist Paul Broks’ wife died of cancer, he found himself plunged into the world of the bereaved. As he experienced the alienation and suffering that make us human, his clinician-self watched on with keen interest. The result is a journey through grief, philosophy, consciousness, humanity and magical thinking - seen through the prism of a lifetime’s work in neuroscience. See Amazon | Google

Marcello Massimini & Giulio Tononi
Sizing Up Consciousness: Towards an Objective Measure of the Capacity for Experience
(Oxford 2018, trans. Frances Anderson)

Using the Integrated Information Theory as a guiding principle, Massimini and Tononi take the reader along a fascinating journey from the cerebral cortex to the cerebellum, from wakefulness to sleep, anesthesia, and coma, supercomputers, octopuses, dolphins, and much more besides. Originally published in Italian in 2013. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

D. Bain, M. Brady & J. Corns (eds.)
Philosophy of Pain: Unpleasantness, Emotion, and Deviance
(Routledge 2018)

Pain has received increasing attention as philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists try to answer deep and difficult questions about it. What is pain? What makes pain unpleasant? How is pain related to the emotions? This volume provides a rich and wide-ranging exploration of these questions and important new insights into the philosophy of pain. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Mark Eli Kalderon
Sympathy in Perception
(Cambridge 2018)

This wide-ranging study presents multiple perspectives on the phenomenon of perception, discussing touch and hearing as well as vision. Drawing on the rich history of the subject, Kalderon shows how analytic and continental approaches to it are connected and argues for new orientations when thinking about the presentation of perception. See Cambridge | Amazon | Google

Elizabeth Schechter
Self-Consciousness and “Split” Brains: The Mind’s I
(Oxford 2018)

In the first full philosophical treatment of the issue, Schechter argues that there are in fact two minds, subjects of experience, and intentional agents inside each split-brain human being: Right and Left. Nonetheless, each split-brain subject is one of us. The key to reconciling these claims is to understand the ways in which each of us is transformed by self-consciousness. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Fiona Macpherson & Fabian Dorsch (eds.)
Perceptual Imagination and Perceptual Memory
(Oxford 2018)

Ten new essays on perceptual imagination and perceptual memory. How do perceptual imagination and memory resemble and differ from each other and from other kinds of sensory experience? What role does each play in perception and in the acquisition of knowledge? These are the two central questions addressed in this volume. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Fabian Dorsch & Fiona Macpherson (eds.)
Phenomenal Presence
(Oxford 2018)

Many features of reality figure consciously in perceptual experience: from colours and shapes to volumes and backsides; from natural or artifactual kinds to reasons for perceptual belief; from the existence of objects to the relationality of our awareness of them. This volume explore various interesting and unobvious cases of such phenomenal presence. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Nancy J. Holland
Heidegger and the Problem of Consciousness
(Indiana U Press 2018)

Holland turns to Heidegger to help understand an age-old question: Is there a split between body and mind? Arguing against positions that define consciousness as an overarching phenomenon or reduce it to the brain or physicality, she contends that consciousness is relational and it is this relationship that allows us to inhabit and negotiate the world. See Indiana | Amazon | Google

R. Copenhaver & C. Shields (eds.)
The History of the Philosophy of Mind (Six Volume Set)
(Routledge 2018)

A major six-volume reference collection covering the key topics, thinkers and debates within the philosophy of mind from antiquity to the present day. Each volume is edited by a leading scholar in the field and comprises chapters written by an international team of specially commissioned contributors. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

J. Christopher Maloney
What It Is Like To Perceive: Direct Realism and the Phenomenal Character of Perception
(Oxford 2018)

Maloney argues that, unlike other cognitive modes, perception is immediate acquaintance with the object of thought. Although all mental representations carry content, the vehicles of perceptual representation are the very objects represented. The perceiving mind is an extended mind: perception is unbrokered cognition of what is real, exactly as it really is. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

José Luis Bermúdez
The Bodily Self: Selected Essays on Self-Consciousness
(MIT 2018)

Nine substantially revised and expanded articles and a brand new chapter explore how the rich and sophisticated forms of self-consciousness with which we are most familiar—as philosophers, psychologists, and as ordinary, reflective individuals—depend on a complex underpinning that has been largely invisible to students of the self and self-consciousness. See MIT | Amazon | Google

Sebastian Rödl
Self-Consciousness and Objectivity: An Introduction to Absolute Idealism
(Harvard 2018)

Rödl undermines a foundational dogma of contemporary philosophy: that knowledge, in order to be objective, must be knowledge of something that is as it is, independent of being known to be so. This profound work revives the thought that knowledge, precisely on account of being objective, is self-knowledge: knowledge knowing itself. See Harvard | Amazon | Google

Frédérique de Vignemont
Mind the Body: An Exploration of Bodily Self-Awareness
(Oxford 2018)

Our own body seems to be the object that we know the best yet bodily awareness has attracted little attention in the literature. De Vignemont provides the first comprehensive treatment of bodily awareness and of the sense of bodily ownership, combining philosophical analysis with recent experimental results from cognitive science. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Tim Parks
Out of My Head: On the Trail of Consciousness
(Penguin 2018)

The gripping, highly personal, often surprisingly funny, story of the author’s quest to discover more about the fascinating topic of consciousness. Framing metaphysical considerations and laboratory experiments in terms we can all understand, it invites us to see space, time, colour and smell, sounds and sensations in an entirely new way. See Penguin | Amazon | Google

Sean Enda Power
Philosophy of Time and Perceptual Experience
(Routledge 2018)

Power illustrates how the metaphysics of time can be applied to thinking about perceptual experience. He examines how time structures perceptual experience and how such structuring can make experience trustworthy or erroneous. The book will appeal to those interested in the philosophy of time and debates about the trustworthiness of experience. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Rowland Stout (ed.)
Process, Action, and Experience
(Oxford 2018)

Experiences and actions are usually treated as completed events rather than ongoing processes. But only ongoing processes can be present to a subject in the way required for conscious experience and practical self-knowledge. This volume asks if we should take processes rather than events to be the proper subject matter of the philosophy of mind and action. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

K. Michaelian, D. Debus & D. Perrin (eds.)
New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory
(Routledge 2018)

Although philosophers have explored memory since antiquity, recent years have seen the birth of philosophy of memory as a distinct field. This volume—the first of its kind—consists of seventeen newly-commissioned chapters by leading researchers in the philosophy of memory and charts emerging directions of research in the field. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Susan Blackmore & Emily T. Troscianko
Consciousness: An Introduction
(Routledge 2018, 3rd edition)

Revised, updated, and supplemented with new perspectives, this third edition of this classic book is a sure-footed guide through the dense forest of consciousness studies. The authors not only inform us about the science and philosophy of consciousness, but also teach us how to think about the topic. Previous editions 2003, 2010. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

D. M. Hutchinson
Plotinus on Consciousness
(Cambridge 2018)

Plotinus is the first Greek philosopher to hold a systematic theory of consciousness. Its key feature is that it involves multiple layers of experience: different layers of consciousness at different levels of self. This yields a rich experiential world and a robust notion of subjectivity, one remarkably different from that found in the Post-Cartesian tradition. See Cambridge | Amazon | Google

Andreas Elpidorou & Guy Dove
Consciousness and Physicalism: A Defense of a Research Program
(Routledge 2018)

Although physicalism has traditionally been understood as a metaphysical thesis, Elpidorou and Dove argue that there is an alternative and indeed preferable understanding of physicalism that both renders physicalism a scientifically-informed explanatory project and allows us to make progress on the ontological problem of consciousness. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Loose, Menuge & Moreland (eds.)
The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism
(Wiley 2018)

Substance dualism has been dismissed as an archaic and defeated position in philosophy of mind, but in recent years, the topic has experienced a resurgence and has been restored to contemporary prominence by a growing minority of philosophers prepared to interrogate the core principles upon which past objections and misunderstandings rest. See Wiley | Amazon | Google

Thomas Natsoulas
States of Consciousness: The Pulses of Experience
(Cambridge 2018)

This book extends Natsoulas’ development of the psychology of consciousness by giving sustained attention to the stream of consciousness and its component ‘pulses of experience.’ His unrivalled scholarship across psychology, philosophy and cognate fields results in an in-depth analysis of sophisticated psychological accounts of consciousness. See Cambridge | Amazon | Google

Michael S. Gazzaniga
The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind
(Macmillan 2018)

How do neurons turn into minds? How does physical “stuff”—atoms, molecules, chemicals, and cells—create the vivid and various worlds inside our heads? Gazzaniga puts the latest research in conversation with the history of human thinking about the mind, giving a big-picture view of what science has revealed about consciousness. See Macmillan | Amazon | Google

Gregg D. Caruso (ed.)
Ted Honderich on Consciousness, Determinism, and Humanity
(Springer 2018)

Fourteen original essays provide a comprehensive critical treatment of Ted Honderich’s philosophy, focusing on three major areas: (1) his theory of consciousness, (2) his extensive work on determinism and freedom, and (3) his views on right and wrong, including his Principle of Humanity and his judgments on terrorism. See Springer | Amazon | Google

Marc Champagne
Consciousness and the Philosophy of Signs: How Peircean Semiotics Combines Phenomenal Qualia and Practical Effects
(Springer 2018)

It is often thought that consciousness has a qualitative dimension that cannot be tracked by science. Recently, however, some have argued that this worry stems not from an elusive feature of the mind, but from the nature of the concepts used to describe conscious states. Champagne draws on the philosophy of signs or semiotics to develop a new take on this strategy. See Springer | Amazon | Google

Joseph Levine
Quality and Content: Essays on Consciousness, Representation, and Modality
(Oxford 2018)

Joseph Levine draws together a series of essays in which he has developed his distinctive approach to philosophy of mind. All of the essays in some way respond to various materialist attempts to close the “explanatory gap” as well as outline a different conception of conscious experience that would accommodate the gap. See Oxford | Amazon | Google

Rocco J. Gennaro (ed.)
The Routledge Handbook of Consciousness
(Routledge 2018)

Given the explosion of work on consciousness in the last 30–40 years from philosophers, psychologists, and neurologists, there is a need for an interdisciplinary, comprehensive volume that brings together contributions from a wide range of experts on fundamental topics. This volume of 34 chapters fills this need. See Routledge | Amazon | Google

Galen Strawson
Things That Bother Me: Death, Freedom, the Self, Etc.
(New York Review of Books 2018)

Galen Strawson is the Montaigne of modern philosophers: endlessly curious, enormously erudite, unafraid of provocative propositions, and able to describe them clearly. He also shares with Montaigne a fascination with the elusive natures of self and consciousness. The essays collected here draw on life, literature and philosophy. See NYRB | Amazon | Google

John Smythies & Robert French (eds.)
Direct versus Indirect Realism: A Neurophilosophical Debate on Consciousness
(Elsevier 2018)

The dominant view of philosophers of perception is “direct realism,” on which the immediate objects of perception are distal physical objects. In contrast, those working in the neurosciences are persuaded that conscious experiences consist of reconstructions from information encoded in neural states and is hence indirect. This volume debates the issue. See Elsevier | Amazon | Google

Dale Jacquette (ed.)
The Bloomsbury Companion to the Philosophy of Consciousness
(Bloomsbury 2018)

From Descartes and Cartesian mind-body dualism in the 17th century through to 21st-century concerns about artificial intelligence programming, this volume presents a compelling history and up-to-date overview of this burgeoning subject area. An authoritative guide for studying the past, present and future of consciousness. See Bloomsbury | Amazon | Google

Antonio Damasio
The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures
(Penguin Random House 2018)

For too long we have thought of ourselves as rational minds inhabiting insentient mechanical bodies. Damasio shows instead how our minds are rooted in feeling, a creation of our nervous system with an evolutionary history going back to ancient unicellular life that enables us to shape distinctively human cultures. See Penguin | Amazon | Google | Siri Hustvedt review | Damasio interview