The Nature of Consciousness

The Nature of Consciousness

Philosophical Debates

Edited by Ned Block, Owen Flanagan and Güven Güzeldere

A Bradford Book





Intended for anyone attempting to find their way through the large and confusingly interwoven philosophical literature on consciousness, this reader brings together most of the principal texts in philosophy (and a small set of related key works in neuropsychology) on consciousness through 1997, and includes some forthcoming articles. Its extensive coverage strikes a balance between seminal works of the past few decades and the leading edge of philosophical research on consciousness.As no other anthology currently does, The Nature of Consciousness provides a substantial introduction to the field, and imposes structure on a vast and complicated literature, with sections covering stream of consciousness, theoretical issues, consciousness and representation, the function of consciousness, subjectivity and the explanatory gap, the knowledge argument, qualia, and monitoring conceptions of consciousness. Of the 49 contributions, 18 are either new or have been adapted from a previous publication.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262023993 885 pp. | 6.8 in x 8.9 in


$65.00 X ISBN: 9780262522106 885 pp. | 6.8 in x 8.9 in


Ned Block

Ned Block is Silver Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at New York University and was Chair of the Philosophy Program at MIT from 1990 to 1995. He is a coeditor of The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (MIT Press, 1997).

Owen Flanagan

Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. He is the author of Consciousness Reconsidered and The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World, both published by the MIT Press, and other books.

Güven Güzeldere

Güven Güzeldere is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Duke University. He is coeditor (with Ned Block and Owen Flanagan) of The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical and Scientific Debates (MIT Press, 1998) and a founding associate editor of Psyche: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness.


  • This is a very impressive volume—a comprehensive and superbly edited collection of essays on the hottest topic in the philosophy of mind. It will be the standard text for undergraduate and graduate courses dealing with consciousness.

    Stephen P. Stich

    Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Rutgers University & CUNY Graduate Center

  • This book has been worth waiting for. It is the first, and the only, comprehensive collection of contemporary writings on the topic of consciousness. If anyone needed a proof that consciousness has returned—and regained its rightful place—as a fundamental problem in the philosophy and science of the mind, here it is. The book brings to us, in one satisfyingly hefty volume, the classic papers of the past three decades that have shaped the current debates on consciousness, together with more recent, 'state-of-the-art', discussions of all the major approaches and positions in this area. The familiar primary contributors to the field are represented here as well as many fresh voices with interesting things to say. The reader will get from this volume not only a full picture of the current state of the field but also a good sense of where the debates are headed. The appearance of this volume is a significant landmark: it both demonstrates the philosophical maturity of the field and lays out its problematic for the future. The three editors deserve our congratualations and gratitude for a job well done. Their book not only gives us a comprehensive coverage of the field but also, in an important way, helps to define the field itself.

    Jaegwon Kim

    Professor of Philosophy, Brown University

  • A grand tour of the best of the exploding literature on consciousness. This indispensible collection covers a wide range of topics, from metaphysics to methodology, neuropsychology and more. The papers are well-chosen: diverse, multi-faceted yet without exception substantial. A rock crusher!

    Andy Clark

    Professor of Philosophy and director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology Program, Washington University

  • A broad set of essays on consciousness, many of which deal with foundational issues in Psychology and Philosophy of Psychology.They should be of interest to cognitive psychologists in general, including those doing cognitive neuroscience since many of the essays feature results and ideas from neuroscience.

    Edward E. Smith

    Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan

  • This comprehensive collection brings together all the materials needed for an upper division or graduate level course on consciousness. It should greatly enhance both the teaching and the study of this most important and puzzling phenomenon.

    Patricia Kitcher

    Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of California