Item description for Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem by David Ray Griffin...
The mind-body problem, which Schopenhauer called the "world-knot," has been a central problem for philosophy since the time of Descartes. Among realists--those who accept the reality of the physical world--the two dominant approaches have been dualism and materialism, but there is a growing consensus that, if we are ever to understand how mind and body are related, a radically new approach is required. David Ray Griffin develops a third form of realism, one that resolves the basic problem (common to dualism and materialism) of the continued acceptance of the Cartesian view of matter. In dialogue with various philosophers, including Dennett, Kim, McGinn, Nagel, Seager, Searle, and Strawson, Griffin shows that materialist physicalism is even more problematic than dualism. He proposes instead a pan-experientialist physicalism grounded in the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Answering those who have rejected "pan-psychism" as obviously absurd, Griffin argues compellingly that pan-experientialism, by taking experience and spontaneity as fully natural, can finally provide a naturalistic account of the emergence of consciousness--an account that also does justice to the freedom that we all presuppose in practice.
Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at promiseangels.com!
Studio: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.88" Width: 6.24" Height: 0.57" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2008
Publisher Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN 1556357559 ISBN13 9781556357558
Availability 0 units.
More About David Ray Griffin
David Ray Griffin is Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the School of Theology at Claremont. He is also Executive Director of the Center for Process Studies and founding president of the Center for a Postmodern World in Santa Barbara.
Reviews - What do customers think about Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem?
The Panexperientialist Solution to the Mind-Body Problem Jan 27, 2009
In this book, David Ray Griffin tackles the mind-body problem - a problem that neither materialism nor dualism has hitherto been able to fully resolve. In order to accomplish this task, he first defines the problem and what he calls "wishful-and-fearful thinking." He then proceeds to outline his "regulative principles" and then differentiates between "soft-core commonsense" and "hard-core commonsense." Hard-core commonsense are those commonsense notions that we must inevitably presuppose in practice even if we deny them in theory ("free will" being the primary example). Griffin makes a compelling argument that a metaphyiscal position must account for our hard-core commonsense notions. Accordingly, he shows how Whitehead's process metaphysics (which he refers to in this book as "panexperientialism") can account for our hard-core commonsense notions. Moreover, he argues that panexperientialism has more explanatory power than materialism, especially concerning our present scientific knowledge (e.g. quantum theory).
I thought "Unsnarling the World-Knot" was a very good read (I have read many books by Griffin and he is always good). That being said, I do feel that the book had several short-comings:
1) I don't feel that Griffin fully explained (at least to my satisfaction) how an objective "actual occasion of experience" causes a new subjective "actual occasion of experience" to emerge - an emergence that somehow enables the new momentary actual occasion of experience to have the capacity for partial self-determination. The "somehow" is the operative term here. How exactly does this happen?
2) I don't feel he adequately explained why moral responsibility requires freedom. If free will is, given the same situation and circumstances, simply the ability to choose otherwise, then why does this "random choice" imply moral responsiblity? IOW, if I had known better (meaning if I had had better information), then I would have made a better choice. Having better information is the key, not making a "random choice." Therefore, I don't really see how this is an improvement over causal determinism. If we can't hold an individual morally responsible because all his choices are predetermined, then why should we hold an individual morally responsible simply because he has the capacity to make "random choices?"
3) Although he dismantles eliminative materialism (which is not very difficult to do...after all, the proponents of this form of materialism deny the existence of consciousness!) and supervenient theory (which basically entails epiphenomenalism), he never addresses "type identity" (or "token identity") theories of mind. IOW, if mental states are identical to physical states, then how does this invalidate materialism?
4) I wished he would have explained in more detail what he meant by the terms "idealistic realism" and "realistic idealism." (He seemed to indicate that these views are compatible with our hard-core commonsense notion that there exists a real world independent of our perception of it.)
Life-changing work in philosophy of mind and ontology Jul 20, 2008
Books like this don't come along too often. I've been reading about consciousness and physics for about twenty years as an adult and this work was life-changing for me. This is the case because it presents the most thoughtful, non-paradoxical and commonsensical approach to the "hard problem" of consciousness that I have yet to encounter. It also inspired me to start work on my own book on similar (but broader) topics, with the panexperientialism paradigm as my foundation.
David Chalmers' own wonderful work, The Conscious Mind, first introduced me to the notion of panpsychism. Yet, as another reviewer points out, Chalmers does not focus on this discussion and I am not aware of him having returned to it since.
Griffin's work is, while fairly difficult itself, a great introduction to the staggering works by Alfred North Whitehead, which are generally extremely difficult to read and comprehend. Whitehead famously did not spend much time editing or re-working his own drafts and it shows. While he has a knack for one-liners at times, he was certainly not writing for easy comprehension. Griffin and his colleagues in the "process philosophy" school of thought have done much over the last 80 years to make Whitehead's ideas more accessible.
With Griffin's own body of work growing quite large, I am at a loss to explain why he is not better known. He certainly deserves more recognition and I am very happy to see this new paperback of a book that was heretofore practically impossible to find since its original 1997 publication.
For anyone with a serious interest in the philosophy of mind and ontology (metaphysics), this book is a must-read. And I hope others are inspired enough to put pen to paper and start spreading the panexperientialist worldview because it is a much grander, welcoming and compassionate worldview than the current physicalist/scientistic worldview.
Spectacular Solution to a Knotty Problem Apr 7, 2008
UNSNARLING THE WORLD-KNOT by David Ray Griffin is a superb, path-breaking book on the mind-body problem, one of the central and most intractable issues in modern philosophy. Called the "world-knot" by Arthur Schopenhauer, the mind-body problem has defied unsnarling from its inception in the 17th Century as a result of the work of Descartes. In essence, the mind-body problem is the question of the relationship between the mind or the mental, and the body or the physical. Is mind as "real" as body, or is it an "epiphenomenon?" Descartes proposed that mind and body are both real, but composed of fundamentally different "stuffs." His dualism, however, creates the difficult problem of explaining how the two different types of stuff can interact with or influence each other. The other major approach is that of the "materialists" (sometimes called "physicalists"), who argue that there is only one stuff, matter. Their view leads to insoluble difficulties by denying the reality of the mind or reducing it to some kind of unexplained "epiphenomenon."
Exponents of these two dominant approaches, modern materialism and modern dualism, have succeeded in spotlighting fatal flaws in each other's attempts but have failed to defend themselves against these critiques. Recently they have begun to admit that mainstream modern philosophy has reached an impasse. Griffin takes advantage of this admission to propose that a solution to the problem can be found with a third version of realism, called panexperientialism. Building on and developing the radical insights of the process philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, Griffin approaches the mind-body problem from a new direction and with new tools of thought, and blazes a new way forward.
Griffin's subtitle indicates his focus on the two major domains of significance of the problem, for consciousness and freedom. His book systematically identifies the weaknesses of the dualist and materialist approaches and then builds a substantive alternative to them. In the first seven chapters he lays out seven separate problems which have comprised the "snarls" of the world-knot, and untangles them one by one, so that he can then in the last three chapters provide his panexperientialist solution.
In Chapter 1 Griffin shows that one major snarl has been insufficient clarity about exactly what problem is being addressed. Discussants have often treated two or more of six related problems without sufficiently careful distinction between them, leading to confusion. The most serious impediment to clarity has been the prevailing metaphysical assumption that experience (whether conscious or not) arises out of non-experiencing things.
In Chapter 2 Griffin shows that tendencies in human thought, even philosophical thought, which he terms "paradigmatic" and "wishful-and-fearful" thinking, have influenced the discussion of the mind-body problem because they have not been sufficiently attended to and corrected for. Griffin sketches the origins of both the dualistic and the materialistic paradigms in wishful-and-fearful thinking about the ideas advanced by various schools of "Renaissance naturalism" which held that all entities in nature are "self-moving." For different reasons both the dualist and the materialist camps preferred a view of nature in which matter is essentially inert. Their modern descendants have maintained this metaphysical view without consideration of alternatives, such as panexperientialism.
In Chapter 3 Griffin explicates the failure of modern philosophy to distinguish between two kinds of common sense, "soft core" and "hard core". Soft-core (or weak) commonsense ideas are those held to consciously by some people, which are often shown by science to be false. Hard-core (or strong) commonsense notions are those that all people assume in practice, even if they may deny them consciously. Science cannot show hard-core commonsense notions to be false, for they underlie all human activity, including science. Whitehead, Griffin shows, pioneered a rigorous distinction between the two types of common sense in his "metaphysical rule of evidence", which he defined as the imperative "that we must bow to those presumptions which, in despite of criticism, we still employ for the regulation of our lives." Griffin argues that this means "that the ultimate criteria for theoretical thought [including science] are those notions that all human beings inevitably presuppose in practice, even if and when they deny them verbally" (p. 18). Among the hardcore commonsense notions denied by scientists and philosophers in the debate over the mind-body problem are "freedom and the reality and efficacy of conscious experience." He concludes that "soft-core common sense should never be allowed to trump the hard-core variety" (p. 21).
In Chapter 4 Griffin argues that discussants of the mind-body problem have not achieved sufficient clarity about the formal and substantive "regulative principles" that should be exemplified if a theory is to be considered a serious candidate for acceptance. An example of a "formal" regulative principle is adherence to the distinction between hard-core and soft-core common sense. An example of a substantive regulative principle is "that a theory should be compatible with the evolutionary origin of human beings" (p. 22). Because most of the debate has centered on details of proposed theories, rather than on the regulative principles underlying them, much confusion has resulted and there has been a general failure to make progress. To correct this serious situation Griffin, in the bulk of the chapter, proposes eleven formal and six substantive regulative principles that should govern the discussion of the mind-body problem.
In Chapter 5 Griffin argues that there has been insufficient clarity about the data to which an adequate theory must do justice. "One reason that contemporary theories of mind vary so greatly is that different theorists are presupposing greatly different ideas about the kinds of data to which a theory must be adequate. Data that one theorist considers fundamental, perhaps devoting a hundred pages to defending, will be dismissed in a sentence by other theorists, if mentioned at all. ... But the formal principle of adequacy [introduced in Chapter 4] should lead us to resist systematizing until we have tried to assemble the various kinds of data that need to be unified" (p. 33).
Griffin then lays out the types of data that need to be assembled before adequate theory construction can begin: I. Hard-core commonsense notions, which include: 1. The reality of "the external world"; 2. The reality of efficient causation understood as the real influence of one thing (or many things) on another; 3. The reality of the past and the future and therefore of time; 4. The reality of our conscious experience with its emotions, pains, pleasures, perceptions, purposes, decisions, memories, anticipations; 5. Bodily influence on conscious experience; 6. The unity of our experience; 7. The efficacy of conscious experience for bodily behavior; 8. Freedom, in the sense of self-determination; 9. Our awareness of norms. II. Evidence for the evolution of life in general and of human beings, especially the human brain, in particular. III. Evidence for the dependence of (at least some) conscious states on brain states. IV. The apparent capacity of the mind for nonsensory perception, including perception of mathematical and logical entities, values, norms, principles, forms, counter-factual possibilities, memories, transcendent religious experiences, telepathy, and clairvoyance. V. Altered states of consciousness. VI. The apparent capacity of human experience to exert extraordinary causal efficacy, including placebo effects and the power of mental attitudes to contribute to physical illnesses, hypnotic impacts on the body, faith healing, stigmata, effects of meditation and biofeedback, and psychokinesis.
In Chapter 6, Griffin argues that it is seldom realized that the mind-body problem is rooted even more deeply in the "Cartesian intuition" about the body than in that about the mind. According to Descartes, "matter is completely different in kind form mind. Matter is spatially extended, mind is not. Mind has temporal duration, matter does not (in the sense that it can exist at an `instant', not requiring any temporal duration to be what it is). Mind has an `inside,' consisting of thoughts, desires, feelings and volitions, and thereby has intrinsic value; it is something for itself. Matter is all `outside' and is therefore devoid of any value for itself; ... Matter exerts causal efficacy only by efficient causation ... mind exercises final causation or self-determination" (p. 46-7). Although they differ over Descartes' ideas of mind, both dualists and materialists in the mind-body debate accept these Cartesian characterizations of matter. They assume that most physical things are not also mental. "It is precisely this assumption ... that creates the insuperable problems of the various dualisms and materialisms alike" (p. 47).
In Griffin's usage, the term "dualism" refers to ontological dualism. "This doctrine contains a double thesis: (1) that the mind is an actuality numerically distinct from the brain ... and (2) that it is ontologically different in kind from the entities of which the brain consists." By "materialism", Griffin refers to materialistic monism, "which contains the double thesis (1) that all actual things are material and (2) there is no mind or soul in the sense of an actuality numerically distinct from brain. In fact, it is a threefold thesis, because the statement that `all actual things are material' must be specified to mean that at least most actual things, certainly the fundamental ones, are devoid of any experience" (p. 47-8).
On the basis of these careful distinctions Griffin then proceeds in the bulk of Chapter 6 to lay out in detail the problems inherent in the two approaches which have confounded a solution. In this exceptionally incisive overview of all the relevant literature from both camps he identifies three problems unique to dualism, seven problems unique to materialism, and four further problems both approaches share. Griffin's trenchant critique cuts through masses of confusion and questionable assumptions, notably loosening the world-knot.
In Chapter 7 Griffin begins to present his case for panexperientialism, a third form of realism or naturalism which has been ignored or dismissed without substantive discussion by most modern philosophers. "In spite of widespread agreement (especially by nondualists) that `mind should be naturalized,' the two fundamental features of mind, experience and self-determination, have generally not been taken to be fully natural. This has led to the false conclusion that dualism and materialism provide the only realistic options (with `realism' understood as the view that the physical universe really exists, independently of human perception and thought)" (p. 7). Griffin calls the long debate between dualists and materialists a "family quarrel. It is a squabble, apparently interminable, among those who have accepted early modernity's absolute exclusion of all experiential features from the basic units of nature. ... [T]he way forward ... would seem to be obvious: Let's try out the version of realism that is excluded from the family, ... panexperientialism." (p. 77-8). Panexperientialism is "the only form of realism that truly regards the mind as natural" (p. 79).
After documenting the systematic exclusion of this robust form of realism from the modern debate, Griffin presents nine reasons for philosophers to consider it more seriously, and then surveys common objections to the doctrine which have caused it to be summarily dismissed. The concluding section of the chapter, "Are We Incapable of Radical Conceptual Innovation?", addresses the widespread modern position which has resulted from the failure to unsnarl the world-knot, which is that the human mind is simply incapable of providing a constructive solution to the problem. Griffin locates the roots of this intellectual demoralization in modern philosophy's restriction of all perception to sensory perception. This restriction is arguably false because it ignores proprioception (perception originating in internal receptor cells) and nonsensory perception (obvious, well-attested examples of which are telepathy and clairvoyance). Griffin's detailed discussion of perception shows that it is has been premature to deny that there is a way to unsnarl the world-knot. "[I]n fact ... Whitehead has already blazed the trail" (p. 115).
Having loosened all the tangled strands of the problem, Griffin is ready to move forward along the promising path provided by panexperientialism. In Chapter 8, the key chapter of the book, he presents an exposition of Whitehead's thought, which he views as "an extended solution to the mind-body problem" (p. 119). He begins with Whitehead's "fallacy of misplaced concreteness," that is, the "error of mistaking the abstract for the concrete." This error occurs in the dominant modern view of nature as "simply located" matter (i.e., without essential reference to other regions of space-time), that can exist at an instant (i.e., without duration), and with no intrinsic value. The fundamental units of nature, in this modern view, are "vacuous actualities," completely devoid of experience. They are, therefore, "totally different from our conscious experience as we know it immediately" (p. 120). The primary paradox of the mind-body problem, how our experience could arise out of such fundamental natural units, only arises because of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.
Griffin then goes on to demonstrate that just as it is necessary to overcome this fallacious view of matter to understand the mind, it is also essential to have a correct understanding of mind, especially the status of sensory perception and consciousness, to overcome the fallacious view of matter. Whitehead contended that, in Griffin's words, "we can generalize from our own experience to understand what matter is in itself" (p. 124). Griffin lays out six dimensions to this task of generalization: 1) the status of human experience in nature; 2) the status of consciousness in human experience; 3) the status of sensory perception in human experience; 4) the spatializing nature of sensory perception's presentational immediacy; 5) implications of the bodily origin of sensory perception; and 6) information about nature derived from direct "prehension" of our bodies.
Griffin then elaborates a series of nine "subjective universals" utilized by Whitehead's analysis, which are meant to apply to all subjects, "understood as momentary occasions of experience, from the human level to the actualities studied by physics" (p. 151). The subjective universals only apply to genuine individuals (whether simple, as a subatomic particle, or compound, as a human being), not aggregational entities without subjective unity, like rocks or computers.
He then reverses the direction of generalization, from the entities studied by physics to our minds. Here he discusses Whitehead's understanding of the world studied by physics as composed of spatio-temporal events, with inherent duration (there is no such thing as "nature at an instant"). Apparently enduring things are really temporally ordered societies of events. Whitehead generalizes this physical insight to, in Griffin's words, "our own stream of experience, concluding that the apparently continuous stream actually comes in drops, or occasions, of experience" (p. 157).
This understanding allows a solution to the fundamental philosophical question of how efficient and final causation are related. Thus the "vicious dualism" of two sundered stuffs dissolves; the only valid dualism is that which distinguishes between the subjective and objective modes of existence of each actual occasion. "Qua subject, an actual occasion enjoys duration; qua object for later subjects, it is purely spatial, with no duration left. We know ourselves from within, as having duration, and other things from without, hence as devoid of duration. To translate this epistemic duality into an ontological dualism between two different kinds of actualities ... is to commit a category mistake" (p. 161).
In Chapter 9 Griffin takes up the hard-core commonsense notion that is most often denied, freedom. He lays out five principles that are presupposed in the standard denial of freedom by materialists, and then argues in detail why they should be rejected, utilizing Whitehead's concept of the compound individual, "in which there are experiences of a higher and more inclusive type that give ... experiential unity. ... The idea that human behavior must, against all appearances, be as determined as that of a billiard ball has arisen because of the assumption that their respective organizations are analogous. Given a panexperientialist ontology, however, in which more complex experiences can be emergent out of myriad less complex ones, we can develop a position consistent with those principles we presuppose in practice", specifically, the hard-core commonsense notion of freedom (p. 186-7).
Griffin then examines the question of whether there is a higher-level form of compound individual than the human being. Is there a "cosmic mind?" Is the universe actually one compound individual? One of the questions answered by the notion of a cosmic mind is how abstract entities or possibilities, revealed by nonsensory perceptions, such as logical, mathematical, ethical and esthetic forms, could exist. The influence of the mind of the universe would be a fully natural part of the normal causal processes of nature. "This is a broader naturalism than that of materialism, to be sure, but it is a naturalism. As a broader naturalism, it can be more empirical, because it can accommodate types of data that from a materialist standpoint would require either supernaturalism or a priori denial" (p. 206). Panexperientialism's broader naturalism can also accommodate nonsensory perceptions such as telepathy and clairvoiyance. Griffin concludes the chapter with a defense of his claim that moral responsibility implies metaphysical freedom.
In the last chapter, Griffin makes the nature and adequacy of the panexperientialist position clearer by means of a detailed critique of "materialistic physicalism," as articulated in Jaegwon Kim's influential Supervenience and Mind.
David Ray Griffin's UNSNARLING THE WORLD-KNOT is a magisterial contribution to philosophy, written with verve and style. This already-lengthy review has only been able to touch on some of the highlights of this rich, epoch-making book. Deep insights and delights await the reader on virtually every page. All serious seekers of an understanding of reality should read it.
Good New Approach to an Old Problem Oct 6, 2006
The "mind/body problem" is a perennial debate among scientists and philosophers alike, demarcating thinkers into two camps: the "dualists" who conceive of the mind and body as separate things (concerned with determining how they interact), and the "materialists" who believe that the body is all there is (concerned with determining what/how consciousness arises from inert matter.)
The book takes a fresh approach by pointing out that the "either/or" dichotomy results from Descartes' conceptualization of the mind and body as made of different "substances." Materialists, zealous to avoid unscientific "supernatural" notions, postulate that matter is all there is, but then must describe how matter can produce consciousness which we all obviously have - it is an undeniable primary fact of our awareness. To the extent that they deny the reality of something that obviously exists, just to remain faithful to their worldview, the materialialists' paradigm is necessarily incomplete.
The author points out that part of the problem is rooted in the fact that our study of the mind and of matter occur in separate ways - the study of matter is done by physical manipulation of the world around us, while the study of our consciousness is done primarily by introspection of our own mental states. The "bridge" between these two modes of analysis must be developed.
The author presents his own philosophical synthesis that perhaps all aggregations of matter have varying degrees of "experience," with more complex living beings' "experience" (stored information) attaining the status of self-awareness, (animal consciousness, etc.), all the way up to human sentience.
This is a very dense, thickly-written book, which is why I gave it four stars - I think it could have been edited to explain the ideas a bit more clearly. However, it contains an interesting new perspective for future deliberations regarding this fundamental aspect of our existence, and anyone who is interested in the scientific analysis of consciousness would do well to read it.
Crazy enough to be true Jan 9, 2006
"Untangling the World-knot" systematically explores an approach to the mind-body problem that mainstream scientists and philosophers alike are too scared to touch. The doctrine in question is the idea that, at a fundamental level, all matter may have a mental aspect. Even scholars whose discussion of consciousness leads them to this idea, like Chalmers (in "The Conscious Mind"), allude to it briefly and then hurry on to other matters lest they be taken too seriously.
Griffin reviews the problems with the two traditional approaches to the mind-body problem: dualism and materialism. From his perspective, both of these alternatives make the same error that leads to intractable problems: that is, both theories postulate that matter has no mental aspect. The proposed solution is so conceptually simple as to seem trivial: allow the fundamental material units to carry a mental aspect.
Griffin takes pains to develop a plausible "panexperientialist" model and to distinguish it from "straw man" panpsychist models. For example, his scheme is not just "parallelism" between a mental and a physical aspect of matter. Such parallelism would deny causal efficacy to the mental, if the system's dynamics are completely determined by the physical. Similarly, he revives a crucial distinction (from Leibneiz and Whitehead) between "mere aggregates" and "genuine individuals" to form a model in which "rocks do NOT have feelings," in accord with our intuition. In general, Griffin does a good job of countering the knee-jerk reasons for dismissing panpsychism.
One potential source of confusion in Griffin's argument, however, stems from his non-standard usage of the terms "experience" and "consciousness" in which "consciousness" is a relatively high-level construct, so that the "awareness" of "experience" can be "unconscious." This led at least one reviewer to conclude that Griffin's analysis is useless because the "hard problem" of generating consciousness from unconsious matter (in traditional theories) is simply replaced with another "hard problem" of generating consciousness from "unconscious experience." I don't think this criticism does justice to Griffin's proposal. I think the distinction between the panpsychist theory and the materialistic theory can be recovered, or clarified, by reading "low-level consciousness" for "experience," and "high-level consciousness" for "consciousness" in Griffin's exposition.
Griffin's book is refreshing in its open-mindedness and relative fearlessness. He takes seriously several possibilities that most scientists would not seriously consider, such as human free will and parapsychological effects like telepathy or telekinesis--thus he will probably be dismissed by scientific experts who read him cursorilly. Moreover, to address two problems that do NOT get automatically solved by adopting a panpsychist model (the binding or "combination" problem, and the problem of a causally efficacious free will), Griffin resorts to principles of quantum physics. Quantum physics is another from the short list of the most annoying topics to mainstream scientists studying consciousness. This is probably why Griffin does not emphasize his apparent conclusion (in a footnote!) that a quantum coherent state is the only candidate for a neural substrate of a unified consciousness. (Were he to emphasize the role of quantum physics, he would have to stray far from his main topic of panpsychism, to respond to the list of knee-jerk reasons people dismiss the possibility of macroscopic quantum effects in the brain, which is not his area of expertise. The number one objection, as quantified and published by Tegmark, is that the brain is too hot to sustain a macroscopic quantum coherent state. That calculation assumes the brain is at thermodynamic equilibrium, which it is not. A rigorous model by Frohlich shows how quantum coherence can emerge at high temperatures when (metabolic) energy is pumped through a system--it was not considered by Tegmark. A regular laser-pointer shows that by pumping energy through a system quantum coherence can be achieved at room temperature.)
Readers new to the subject may be put off by his extensive discussion of other authors in the initial chapters, but overall this is an excellent, thoughtful book on the mind-body problem from a non-traditional perspective. Of the many recent books about consciousness, most describe variants of functionalism. If you've read one book about functionalism you've pretty much read them all. Griffin's book is clear treatment of a genuinely different alternative.