The Science of Consciousness: Book overview

This page is about my book The Science of Consciousness (SOC), now published by Cambridge University Press (February, 2021). It's had a long gestation, so many thanks to my editors for their patience. It is at last out.

See on the lower left for a chapter listing. See here for a PDF of the detailed table of contents.

See below for a picture of the author, the book, and its star, Beau the Poodle, His Most Supreme Consciousness.

The emphasis of my book is as the title implies the science of consciousness, but I take an inter-disciplinary approach, looking at what several disciplines teach us about it - but particularly psychology and neuroscience.

The book is well illustrated. Personally I don't like books where the ilustrations are there just to make it look good - although it is of course important that a book looks good! I'm not too keen on cartoons either, because a sense of humour is such a personal thing. I hve tried to include illustrations with captions that add to the story, and enable the reader to identify and remember key points.

Ancillary materials (MCQs [multiple choice questions] and slides for every chapter) are available here from CUP. Many thanks to Siobhan MacAndrew for prepartion of the MCQs. Please email me any comments on the contents of these materials, but you do need to go through CUP and the link to get them.

Remember you can contact me at trevor.harley@mac.com. I welcome comments, suggestions, questions, requests for clarification, and details of anything that needs to be corrected, no matter how small (or big).


Please do check the chapters on this site listed here for corrections and clarifications.




What readers have said

'A remarkable achievement that is underwritten by an encyclopaedic knowledge of the field. I can see this being the Gray's Anatomy of consciousness studies - a book that every philosophy and psychology student will treasure for years.'

- Karl Friston, University College London


'Highlighting interdisciplinary approaches to the study of consciousness, this book provides a thorough, historical, and detailed study of the nature of the mind and consciousness. The wide variety of topics allow for a creative and unique exploration of the study of consciousness today.'

- Consuelo Preti, The College of New Jersey


'Finally, a brilliantly written, accessible, and accurate synthesis on one of science's biggest taboos: the study of consciousness. There is no topic avoided by Trevor Harley: animal versus machine consciousness, coma, psychedelics, meditation, our sense of self, even psychism, are all covered. It is the authoritative text all students and researchers have been waiting for.'

- Steven Laureys, University Hospital of Liège


'Everything, yes EVERYTHING you need to know about consciousness. An outstanding book. Wide-ranging and meticulous - the author is clearly excited by his subject and wants you to feel the same way. It is very accessible yet learned and authoritative. The book will be essential to readers in psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, cognitive science and AI, biology, medicine, psychiatry ... and the lay reader. In short, the only book you will ever need to understand and wonder at consciousness.'

- UK reviewer 22 March 2021 on Amazon


'When I taught this course at Berkeley, the required text was The Psychology of Consciousness (Prentice-Hall, 1992) by William G. Farthing.  Later, when a second edition of Farthing was not forthcoming, I supplemented the readings with Antti Revensuo's Consciousness: The Science of Subjectivity (Psychology Press, 2010).  If I were still teaching the course, I'd now choose The Science of Consciousness: Waking, Sleeping, and Dreaming (Cambridge, 2021) by Trevor A. Harley.  It's a great, comprehensive, textbook that covers the entire spectrum of consciousness studes -- not just sleep and dreams.'

- John Kihlstrom, University of California, Berkeley, at https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~jfkihlstrom/ConsciousnessWeb/index.htm