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Alva NoÃ« is one of a new breedâpart philosopher, part cognitive scientist, part neuroscientistâwho are radically altering the study of consciousness by asking difficult questions and pointing out obvious flaws in the current science. In Out of Our Heads, he restates and reexamines the problem of consciousness, and then proposes a startling solution: Do away with the two hundred-year-old paradigm that places consciousness within the confines of the brain.
Our culture is obsessed with the brainâhow it perceives; how it remembers; how it determines our intelligence, our morality, our likes and our dislikes. Itâs widely believed that consciousness itself, that Holy Grail of science and philosophy, will soon be given a neural explanation. And yet, after decades of research, only one proposition about how the brain makes us consciousâhow it gives rise to sensation, feeling, and subjectivityâhas emerged unchallenged: We donât have a clue.
In this inventive work, NoÃ« suggests that rather than being something that happens inside us, consciousness is something we do. Debunking an outmoded philosophy that holds the scientific study of consciousness captive, Out of Our Heads is a fresh attempt at understanding our minds and how we interact with the world around us.