This volume offers an introduction to consciousness research within philosophy, psychology and neuroscience, from a philosophical perspective and with an emphasis on the history of ideas and core concepts. The book begins by examining consciousness as a modern mystery. Thereafter, the book introduces philosophy of mind and the mind-body problem, and proceeds to explore psychological, philosophical and neuroscientific approaches to mind and consciousness. The book then presents a discussion of mysterianist views of consciousness in response to what can be perceived as insurmountable scientific challenges to the problem of consciousness. As a response to mysterianist views, the next chapters examine radical approaches to rethinking the problem of consciousness, including externalist approaches. The final two chapters present the author’s personal view of the problem of consciousness.
Consciousness remains a mystery for contemporary science—a mystery raising many questions. Why does consciousness persist as a mystery? Are we humans not intelligent enough to solve the riddle of consciousness? If we can solve this mystery, what would it take? What research would we need to conduct? Moreover, the mystery of consciousness prompts the larger question of how well the cognitive sciences have actually advanced our understanding of ourselves as human beings. After all, consciousness is not just a minor part of our existence. Without consciousness, we would not be human beings at all.
This book aims to increase the accessibility of major ideas in the field of consciousness research and to inspire readers to contribute to the ongoing discussion of the place of consciousness in nature.