The Very Short Intro …

Sue Blackmore’s latest and briefest “Introduction to Consciousness”, in the “Very Short” series reviewed positively here in the Grauniad. The Full “Introduction” was a great book. [here], [here], [here] and [here]. Not read this abridgement myself, yet. Glad to see the reviewer finds the idea of “I” as a temporary fiction as disconcerting as … well … “I” do.

8 thoughts on “The Very Short Intro …”

  1. I’m finally reading “the Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins. EC recommended it and although I am familiar with Dawkin’s way of thinking, there is always something new and a new way of looking at the conundrum of figuring this whole thing out.

    People like Dawkins, I have found, seem compelled to address the question of consciousness, at the same time stating that the findings sre not in.

    He says this, “Perhaps consciousness arises when the brain’s simulation of the world becomes so complete that it must include a model of itself.”

    It looks like Blackmore is someone I should check out.

  2. “at the same time stating that the findings are not in.”

    Better to say “the findings are not conclusive.”

  3. “the reason you will probably get there … is that a lot of western scientifically trained engineers have got their sums right.?

    I remember this quote from the faith vs belief post on Enlightened Caveman. Was it your quotation?

    At any rate, it seems that your main problem with Dawkins is his use of metaphors and the inadequecy of them. I think he acknowledges this weakness throughout “the Selfish Gene”. And further you dislike his dismissive attitude towards what you believe could be credible interpretations of phenomenon.

    Fair enough, I sometimes find myself struggling so hard to digest the ideas that I suspend disbelief or criticism. But I am improving. Every once in a while I say “not so fast, mr. author”.

    At this point, I find it useful to discuss with others the things I read and get their take on them. You are a useful resource for that endeavor.

  4. Alice, I don’t have a problem with metaphors – it’s all metaphors after all, just some have been “dead” longer than others.

    Caveat Metaphor is simply not forgetting that your metaphor, which might signify one aspect of what you’re talking about, might be quite misleading about an other. But that is not Dawkins main problem, that’s quite general.

    The problem with that quote is quite different – Dawkins thinks all science and technology is hard facts about the material world. Getting your sums right is only a small part of getting any human enterprise (like an aeroplane) working. My point with Dawkins is his exclusively objective hyper-rationalism – to the exclusion of any other kinds of rationality – subjective, spiritual, etc.

  5. Ian, I like your new digs. Not having read Dawkins, I’ve nothing to contribute to this, but I have read your other posts…I’m not offended 😉

  6. Intuitive ? I dunno, that’s why I’m here, if I knew already, etc …

    … the point is the fact that it’s hard to answer, doesn’t mean we should do only the easy thing and do only the objective maths / logic based reasoning.

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