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Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness (2009)

by Alva Noë

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277696,175 (3.11)10
Alva Noë is one of a new breed—part philosopher, part cognitive scientist, part neuroscientist—who are radically altering the study of consciousness by asking difficult questions and pointing out obvious flaws in the current science. In Out of Our Heads, he restates and reexamines the problem of consciousness, and then proposes a startling solution: Do away with the two hundred-year-old paradigm that places consciousness within the confines of the brain.   Our culture is obsessed with the brain—how it perceives; how it remembers; how it determines our intelligence, our morality, our likes and our dislikes. It’s widely believed that consciousness itself, that Holy Grail of science and philosophy, will soon be given a neural explanation. And yet, after decades of research, only one proposition about how the brain makes us conscious—how it gives rise to sensation, feeling, and subjectivity—has emerged unchallenged: We don’t have a clue.   In this inventive work, Noë suggests that rather than being something that happens inside us, consciousness is something we do. Debunking an outmoded philosophy that holds the scientific study of consciousness captive, Out of Our Heads is a fresh attempt at understanding our minds and how we interact with the world around us.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
Possibly the single worst book I have ever read. I only have myself to blame. I should have been more careful to investigate beyond the intriguing title and realized it was a philosophy book. On the bright side, maybe somebody will use it successfully as evidence to end the charlatanism of offering a degree in such a "discipline". ( )
  rosechimera | Mar 16, 2018 |
Possibly the single worst book I have ever read. I only have myself to blame. I should have been more careful to investigate beyond the intriguing title and realized it was a philosophy book. On the bright side, maybe somebody will use it successfully as evidence to end the charlatanism of offering a degree in such a "discipline". ( )
  rosechimera | Mar 16, 2018 |
His arguments that consciousness doesn't reside in your brain just didn't convince me. I gave up on it after 50 pages. ( )
  jjwilson61 | Mar 27, 2013 |
I thought I'd like this much more, but I was disappointed. Noë's premise is a philosophical examination of the science of the mind and posits that we should no longer accept the belief that consciousness resides in the brain. Basically he's arguing the opposite of the Free Will chapter in 13 Things That Don't Make Sense. While it's an argument I'd like to accept, I feel that Noë never really shows evidence for his thesis and that a lot of the complex language he uses serves to obfuscate rather than illuminate. It's just as likely that most of this went over my head though, so maybe I'm not the best person to review this book. ( )
  Othemts | Oct 17, 2010 |
Wish I'd known about LT member WANACK's rule before reading this one. It had some interesting sections, and some that challenged me to re-read and understand, but overall it was not worth the time spent in reading it. ( )
  SharronA | Sep 7, 2010 |
Showing 5 of 5
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To the memory of Susan L. Hurley
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We live in a time of growing excitement about the brain.
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Alva Noë is one of a new breed—part philosopher, part cognitive scientist, part neuroscientist—who are radically altering the study of consciousness by asking difficult questions and pointing out obvious flaws in the current science. In Out of Our Heads, he restates and reexamines the problem of consciousness, and then proposes a startling solution: Do away with the two hundred-year-old paradigm that places consciousness within the confines of the brain.   Our culture is obsessed with the brain—how it perceives; how it remembers; how it determines our intelligence, our morality, our likes and our dislikes. It’s widely believed that consciousness itself, that Holy Grail of science and philosophy, will soon be given a neural explanation. And yet, after decades of research, only one proposition about how the brain makes us conscious—how it gives rise to sensation, feeling, and subjectivity—has emerged unchallenged: We don’t have a clue.   In this inventive work, Noë suggests that rather than being something that happens inside us, consciousness is something we do. Debunking an outmoded philosophy that holds the scientific study of consciousness captive, Out of Our Heads is a fresh attempt at understanding our minds and how we interact with the world around us.

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