The Ego Tunnel

The Ego Tunnel

The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
1
1
Rate this:
We're used to thinking about the self as an independent entity, something that we either have or are. In The Ego Tunnel , philosopher Thomas Metzinger claims otherwise: No such thing as a self exists. The conscious self is the content of a model created by our brain--an internal image, but one we cannot experience as an image. Everything we experience is "a virtual self in a virtual reality."

But if the self is not "real," why and how did it evolve? How does the brain construct it? Do we still have souls, free will, personal autonomy, or moral accountability? In a time when the science of cognition is becoming as controversial as evolution, The Ego Tunnel provides a stunningly original take on the mystery of the mind.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2009
ISBN: 9780465045679
0465045677
Characteristics: x, 276 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

c
callig
Aug 03, 2017

I had very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it's an excellent compilation of philosophical analyses of neurological experiments that pertain to consciousness, worth rolling up ones sleeves for a hard but rewarding slog.
One the other hand, it's thoroughly superficial. Consciousness, the quintessence of life, is a magic that doesn't fit into words, and correlation, despite the universal reductionist monism, doesn't prove causation.
What is consciousness? I'm not being coy here. Not, what is it equivalent to? That's what science does- tells you what how something relates to other factors. What's energy? MC2? That's what it's equivalent to, not what it IS. Nobody knows what energy is, or what consciousness is. So you won't learn what it is in this book. And the rest is only of specialist interest, surely.
If monism/reductionism is correct, if mind/consciousness is just the steam from the cooking pot of the brain, swell, this book is on the right track. That's a big if.
Consciousness studies have only recently been accepted into the fold of psychology so this book has the feel of a practitioner staking out his claim, to be a pioneer. I for one think life is a lot more complicated. Consider the case of the man who proved to be brainless... his only cerebral matter was a thin layer of tissue coating the interior of his skull. And he wasn't even retarded. This is utterly inexplicable by the theories and research propounded by Metzinger.
Even tho, admittedly, one can't blame a book on consciousness for not delving into how it manifests, that is, how crazy it gets, I'd like to recommend a book called Denial (..Self-Deception etc.) by Varki and Ajit, as the best book on this subject ever.
Still, lots of fun- engagingly written, as light as philosophical neuropsychology could hope to be- interviews, and even a mock interchange between a sentient AI and a human.
Plus the creepiest photo i've ever seen: of a cockroach with attached circuitry that steered the poor thing. As Frank Herbert ['Dune'] once said, "Love of progress is the method we use to mask our fear of the future.".
Finally, the best single source i've yet found for updates on the science of consciousness is the British New Scientist magazine. Its overall approach/writing style is a helluva lot more engaging than the remote nobody-in-here-but-us-godlike-impersonal-AI's style of Scientific American.

Age

Add Age Suitability

_
_wordsmythe_
Jun 17, 2016

_wordsmythe_ thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at WCLS

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top