Consciousness: Creeping Up on the Hard Problem by Jeffrey Gray
Norman Bacrac becomes conscious of the merits of Jeffrey Gray’s new book.
Philosophy Now readers wishing to keep abreast of current thinking on the nature of consciousness will find this lavish book by psychologist Professor Jeffrey Gray, who sadly died shortly before its publication, to be full of diagrams, colour illustrations and crystal-clear expositions of the latest findings in neuroscience. The results of brain research, Gray rightly insists, should be known and taken into account by anyone philosophising on the mind. Some of these results call into question common intuitions concerning the active role consciousness plays in human activities.
For example, careful time measurements have shown that to return a fast serve, a good tennis player has unwittingly already judged the direction the ball will take and activated the appropriate muscles before the ball has even left the server’s racket. Laboratory experiments have shown that the brain may begin to give effect to a decision a quarter of a second before one is conscious of it as one’s free choice.