The Race for Consciousness


There is a sense among scientists that the time is finally ripe for the problem of consciousness to be solved once and for all. The development of new experimental and theoretical tools for probing the brain has produced an atmosphere of unparalleled optimism that the job can now be done properly: The race for consciousness is on!

In this book, John Taylor describes the complete scene of entries, riders, gamblers, and racecourses. He presents his own entry into the race, which he has been working on for the past twenty-five years—the relational theory of consciousness, according to which consciousness is created through the relations between brain states, especially those involving memories of personal experiences. Because it is an ongoing and adaptive process, consciousness emerges from past brain activity. It is this highly subtle and delicate process of emergence that leads to the complexity of consciousness. Taylor does not just present another theory of consciousness, but makes comprehensible the nuts-and-bolts methodology behind the myriad attempts to win the race.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. I. Introduction to Consciousness
  4. 1. The Race Begins
  5. 2. The Nature of the Conscious Mind
  6. 3. The Racecourse of Consciousness
  7. II. Looking at Consciousness
  8. 4. New Windows on the Mind
  9. 5. Past Models of Consciousness
  10. 6. Relational Consciousness
  11. III. Building the Components of Consciousness
  12. 7. The Global Gate to Consciousness
  13. 8. Winning Control
  14. 9. Breakthrough to Awareness
  15. 10. Active Consciousness
  16. 11. The Emergence of Self
  17. IV. The Hard Problem of Consciousness
  18. 12. Return to Relational Consciousness
  19. 13. Where the Raw Feels Come From
  20. 14. How Does Consciousness Emerge?
  21. V. Aspects of Relational Consciousness
  22. 15. The Varieties of Consciousness
  23. 16. Philosophical Questions
  24. 17. A Scientific Model of the Mind?
  25. Notes
  26. References
  27. Index