Review - “The Conscious Mind”

“The Conscious Mind” by David Chalmers is one of the most wonderful, observant, and profound books I’ve read. Whether the hard problem of consciousness exists is for some reason controversial, but it’s something I’ve thought about most of my life. Why is it that we experience reality? Could not this exact universe, as it is physically, have existed without conscious observers experiencing it? As Chalmers puts it, consciousness is both intimate and mysterious. It is the means by which we experience reality, and yet we do not know why we do at all. That said, while I agree that the hard problem of consciousness and interpretations of quantum mechanics are two hard problems whose solutions might overlap in a unifying relief, I am not sure I agree that the Everett interpretation, also known as the many-worlds interpretation, is our best choice. I think other interpretations of quantum mechanics are more plausible and also have potential for illuminating how we think about the hard problem of consciousness as well. Other than this, I am mostly in agreement with Chalmers when it comes to the hard problem. Philosophical zombies can safely skip this one, but certainly for anyone else who is conscious, this is a must-read.

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