Consciousness book FAQs

Here are some questions I have frequently been asked about consciousness, and my replies. Please feel free to email me at [email protected].

When will the book be published?

It is out! Available from all good book stores and sites. See the bottom of the book page for details about ISBN and formats.

Where do I find updates and corrections?

In the material for each chapter on this site, which is indexed here. If you think you have found a mistake could you please check in the relevant chapter, and if I don't already mention it, please email me. I'm keen to correct all errors, no matter how small

I'm an instructor and I'd like to use slides and multiple choice questions based on the book. Are any available?

Yes, they are. Ancillary materials (MCQs and slides for every chapter) are indeed available. Details of how to obtain them can be found on this CUP web page. Please don't ask me for them because I don't have them; you must go through the publisher and demonstrate that you an instructor (for obvious reasons).

What's your personal opinion about what's going on?

Writing the book made me appreciate that the problems are even more difficult than I thought. I went through phases when I would be a Mysterian, thinking that it's all just too complicated for the human mind to understand, but I've become more optimistic. I sometimes worry that the problem is with science - consciousness is outside the realms of what can be understood with the current scientific method. At times I think the answer is some kind of monism, based a substance that is neither mind nor matter. I find it difficult to see what an answer to the "hard problem" would look like (I'm not at all satisfied with an answer that says there is no real hard problem). I think it's easy to get carried away with chipping away at a particular problem and then missing the big picture (to mix meaphors). I would love to come back in five hundred years and see what science and technology will look like then - I think it will take that long to make progress, but I hope I'm wrong. I feel similarly about free will: my mind tells me there is no such thing, but my heart tells me there must, and I just end up with a spinny head. But no one every got anywhere by mocking everyone else and just giving up. Many people have written to me arguing for the existence of parapnormal phenomena and for survival (the persistence of something of us after death), which has shaken my confidence in materialism somewhat.