Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness? Or is consciousness itself just an illusion? The "last great mystery of science", consciousness is a topic that was banned from serious research for most of the 20th century. It is now a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy and neuroscience, capturing growing popular interest.
This text brings together all the major theories of consciousness studies, from those based on neuroscience to those based on quantum theory or eastern philosophy, in a format specifically designed to support structured learning.
The book examines topics that include:
• How subjective experiences arise from objective brain processes
• The basic neuroscience and neuropathology of consciousness
• Altered states of consciousness; mystical experiences
• The effects of drugs, dreams and meditation
• The nature of self
• The possibility of artificial consciousness in robots
• The question of whether animals are conscious
All topics are supported not only by self-assessment questions and extensive further reading suggestions at the end of each chapter, but by practical exercises that help bring the subject to life and that could radically transform each reader's understanding of his own consciousness.