After exploring the newest science of cultural evolution in her last book, The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore returns now with twenty interviews with some of the world’s biggest minds. What does one talk about with the world’s biggest minds? Well, minds of course.
Realizing and admitting up-front that I am biased (I run an interview-based website after all), I am intrigued by interview compilations. One has to agree that the opportunity to hear exactly how Daniel Dennett, John Searle, Ned Block, Francis Crick, David Chalmers, Roger Penrose, Francisco Varela, and Paul and Patricia Churchland, as well as Susan Blackmore herself feel about The Mind is a rare occasion indeed.
Is our sense of self an illusion? Do we have consciousness? Do bees have consciousness? Do we really have free will? Why is science full of gaps? Why does pain hurt? Are we all just packs of neurons? Why doesn’t John Searle just learn Chinese already? These questions and many, many more (well, all except maybe that last one) are addressed in the conversations in this book. Intellectually lively, sometimes whimsical, and often confounding, Conversations on Consciousness (Oxford University Press) is crib notes to your favorite cognitive science work, and damn good fun for your head.
I marshal the middle between Mathers and McLuhan.