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In The Times

I thought you might be interested to see philosopher Ned Block’s review of Damasio’s Self Comes to Mind in The New York Times, along with Siri Hustvedt’s response.

Did they read the same book?

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2 Responses to In The Times

  1. Jason Tougaw says:

    You’re onto something. Part of what Block does in his review is evaluate Damasio’s argument through the lens of Block’s own definitions of consciousness. We are at a funny historical moment, when many different thinkers have divided consciousness up into categories in order to explain its various origins and functions. They all agree that consciousness is not a single entity or phenomenon, but they don’t necessarily agree about what its components are. The result is a mind-boggling array of terminology.

  2. As we discussed in class, Damasio’s definitions are important to his framework. and maybe Block isn’t relying on them as much as he could (in his review) as insights to Damasio’s points about things on the border between neuroscience and philosophy. As a philosopher, maybe Block is even a bit put off that Damasio is a neuroscientist touching so much upon philosophy? I think Hustvedt’s point in her response that Damasio’s self is multilayered as proto, core, and autobiographical, is an important one. After reading Noe, I’m getting more concerned about everyone’s individual definitions–of self, consciousness, self-consciousness, experience, feeling, mind, and brain, at the least–and how these definitions affect their individual points and arguments, as well as the overall conversation (and our connecting the conversations as readers–especially if approaching these subjects as a novice–between different ideas, theories, and questions). Now that we have read Damasio, Hustvedt, and Noe, I feel like it’s a good time to go back and review their core definitions (individually and vis-a-vis one another) to try and find the similarities and differences (where they overlap and diverge, etc.), as well as to try and pinpoint some of their core questions and answers in hopes of getting a better grasp on things to this point.

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