In brief: Locating Consciousness

Locating Consciousness
April 5, 1996

The "problem of consciousness" is at last emerging from the shadows of philosophy into the full glare of scientific day. The signs are everywhere - why, even that scientific holy book, Nature, now regularly publishes articles using the hitherto taboo word. But philosophical issues still cling to this lusty new field of scientific inquiry, like almost outworn swaddling clothes. So, to orient us to this emerging field, we need a guide as well versed in philosophy as in the relevant sciences. Valerie Gray Hardcastle fits the bill admirably: I cannot tell whether she is a philosopher turned scientist or the reverse, she seems so equally at home with both. She steers an expert course through the contending views of the relations between brain and mind that come from philosophy, but refuses to be tempted by any of them away from the key new understanding: that the problem of consciousness is one to be solved by the normal methods of empirical research and theory construction that make up the natural sciences, not by the purely conceptual analysis of philosophy. She sketches out the major areas of relevant knowledge gleaned from difficult and ingenious experiments in both psychology and neurophysiology. But she is not content merely to rehearse the views and findings of others; on the contrary she comes up with some novel scientific hypotheses of her own, which are likely, I believe, to be taken seriously.

Locating Consciousness

Author - Valerie Gray Hardcastle
ISBN - 90 2 5124 X
Publisher - John Benjamins
Price - $34.95
Pages - 264

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