#BookReview: Being You by Anil Seth

Intriguing Look At Evolving Science. Thirty years ago, if you asked someone to show you the scientific basis for consciousness – human or otherwise – they’d have laughed in your face because the concept was that much of a joke. Now, Seth is among the researchers actually pursuing the inquiry – and they’ve made some solid strides. In this text, Seth lays out what we now know via evidentiary science and can also posit via a range of philosophical approaches. He readily explains how both prongs of research feed off each other, and his explanations are sufficiently technically complicated to speak with some degree of precision… without being so technically complicated that you basically need to be working in his lab to understand a word of what he is saying. (Though don’t get me wrong, even as someone with a BS in Computer Science and who reads similar books on consciousness, cognition, and perception a few times a year… this one was still technical enough that I readily admit I don’t fully understand it, even now.) Absolutely a fascinating topic and a well written explanation of it from someone actively engaged in furthering the field, and it is very much recommended.

This review of Being You by Anil Seth was originally written on August 31, 2021.

#BookReview: We Know It When We See It by Richard Masland

Remarkable. This is one of those science books you love to find, no matter your particular interest in any field – a book written by seemingly one of the leaders in the field who has seemingly contributed much to the study of the issue at hand, yet who writes a book that we who barely know what the general subject is can understand the state of the field and the author’s contributions to it. In this particular case, we are hearing about the state of vision and perception research from a cellular biologist who has himself won a couple of awards for research in this very field. Masland writes with enough precision that his peers can likely only quibble, if anything, and yet with enough generality that the rest of us can fairly easily follow the discussion. Even with a lack of the discussed diagrams in this particular ARC, the discussion was easily enough followed and the mild humor – if a bit geeky – was appreciated. Very much recommended.

This review of We Know It When We See it by Richard Masland was originally published on December 16, 2019.