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Publisher's Summary

Consciousness, a unique and perplexing mental state, has been the subject of debate for philosophers and scientists for millennia. And while it is widely agreed within contemporary philosophy that consciousness is a problem whose solutions are likely to determine the fate of any number of other problems, there is no settled position on the ultimate nature of consciousness. This series of 12 penetrating and thought-provoking lectures by an acclaimed teacher and scholar approaches its subject directly and unflinchingly. Rather than trying to explain away consciousness, or hide behind convenient slogans like "it's all in your brain," Professor Robinson reviews some of the problems that philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and doctors face when taking on this vexing topic, addressing questions that include. What is the most promising way to study this subject? What are the implications that arise from the fact that we have consciousness? What are the ethical and moral issues raised by its presence - or absence?

Professor Robinson draws on the wisdom of the world's greatest thinkers to shed light on the ethical debates involved in any examination of consciousness, including John Locke, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Aristotle. And he also explores the impact of modern physics and medicine on our understanding of the self. Pondering questions from the most fundamental to contemporary quandaries about artificial intelligence, you'll gain new insights into the complexity of how great minds define consciousness.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Consciousness and Its Implications

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Profile Image for Alexander C. Eustice
  • Alexander C. Eustice
  • 14-02-2015

The Best

I love this lecturer. I've listened to all of his lectures, some of them more than once. He's a polymath and a teacher of the highest order.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Garvice Hattox
  • 25-03-2015

The title says it all.

Did you ever want to know what it is to be alive and concious? Have you ever wanted to prove the consciousness of others? These things and so much more are explored thoroughly in this amzing audio book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • M. Toomey
  • 15-09-2020

Like Listening to Sophocles

Daniel Robinson has solidified himself as my favorite Great Courses lecturer. Deeply thought provoking and engaging, the course adresses how we treat people who are not cognitively "all there".

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fred Stone
  • 22-12-2019

Changed the way I see the world

Learning from Dr. Robinson is a pleasure. Like his other great courses, this course provides Profound insights into the psychology of human behavior and philosophy. It is also a pleasure to listen to him talk and provide his insights into the subject

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  • Marcus Chacos
  • 10-09-2017

A good introduction

A good introduction to the philosophy of consciousness though needed more background to philosophy itself. Without a prior philosophy background the material was often a little inaccessible.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 30-05-2015

Weak course.

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Daniel N. Robinson?

A very weak "not so great" course. The lecturer does not go into enough detail and fails to use clear and concrete examples for rather complex issues. Take Searle's famous Chinese Room scenario or Turing's Imitation Game. Both of these merit a detailed explanation to make sense in the context of the speaker's conceptual system. However, I understood these two concepts only because I had listened to a much better philosophy of mind course (Philosophy of Mind by P. Grimm — a truly "great course"). Much of what professor Robinson says in this course may be quite worthwhile, but he does not make himself clear enough. The only worthwhile chapters are 1, 10 and 11.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Warren Collier
  • 28-10-2020

Falsely advertised as psychology

This course is categorized under psychology when it really should be under philosophy. Most of these heavily philosophical lectures are irrelevent or incomplete from a psychological POV on the issue of consciousness.

1 person found this helpful

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  • quinet
  • 20-11-2017

Excellent as usual

Get anything by Daniel N. Robinson - a witty and entertaining speaker and a very insightful scholar!

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  • Tommy D'Angelo
  • 26-10-2018

Great Topic, Poor Course

Philosophy of Mind is an intriguing topic: where does the mind and consciousness come from? Does something physical like the brain produce it or is it created some other way externally? Other courses from The Great Courses have tackled the topic and the debate got me hooked so much so that I finally ignored the poor reviews for Professor Robinson's "Consciousness and its Implications" as well as my poor experience with another of his courses ("American Ideals") and went ahead and purchased it.

Big mistake.

I love how philosophers remind us that the simplest of explanations should be used to demystify a "problem" vs. introducing complicated theories that may involve more than one external variable yet Professor Robinson takes great pains to ensure that every sentence he uses is in the most esoteric, complex terms using the largest words imaginable when simple explanations would've done just fine.

I'd like to think of myself as an educated learned individual but I honestly didn't understand anything he stated in the first nine lectures. I even tried ending all multi-tasking (pull that car over) and really concentrated on his every word but I still just couldn't make sense of almost all of his sentences. Maybe his friends from Oxford speak that way but to me it could've been in another language for all I knew.

Lecture 10 was the first one I could actually follow along and thought it was an interesting debate but at the end I was still left wondering exactly what his take/position was....I was beyond frustrated at that point wondering why he can't just speak in simple terms.

Unless if you have a PHD in this stuff please save your money. I would suggest these courses on Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness: "Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines" and "Exploring Metaphysics".

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  • Prairie D. Carney
  • 02-07-2021

I like that he starts off with zombies...

( ... )animation v. consciousness. it was interesting to ponder as I drifted off. ( I love lectures while we sleep. )
going to listen again tonight.

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  • Greg Gauthier
  • 17-04-2019

Another gem from Dr. Robinson

The first ten lectures are essential listening for anyone beginning an exploration into the philosophy of mind.

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  • N. M. Kosky
  • 09-03-2020

Excellent

Well structured, well argued and well performed. An excellent introduction, and all that most of us will need, to the subject. Any work that references a paper titled Zombie Killer is a must. Thoroughly recommended.

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  • Luuk
  • 26-11-2015

A little disappointing

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Change of title: "Philosophical Views of Consciousness (and Its Implications)"

What about Professor Daniel N. Robinson’s performance did you like?

Good

Any additional comments?

My expectations were probably all wrong, but I had hoped to learn more about self-consciousness and what I got was an interesting but ultimately somewhat disappointing series of lectures largely devoted to the various philosophical musings about consciousness. The implications of the title are only touched upon in the last lectures.

5 people found this helpful

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