Over the past three decades, the challenge that conscious experience poses to physicalism-the widely held view that the universe is a completely physical system-has provoked a growing debate in philosophy of mind studies and given rise to a great deal of literature on the subject. Ideal for courses in consciousness and the philosophy of mind, Consciousness and The Mind-Body Problem: A Reader presents thirty-three classic and contemporary readings, organized into five sections that cover the major issues in this debate: the challenge for physicalism, physicalist responses, alternative responses, the significance of ignorance, and mental causation. Edited by Torin Alter and Robert J. Howell, the volume features work from such leading figures as Karen Bennett, Ned Block, David J. Chalmers, Frank Jackson, Colin McGinn, David Papineau, and many others. It is enhanced by a thorough general introduction by the editors, which explains "the hard problem of consciousness"-the question of how any physical phenomenon could give rise to conscious experience.
The introduction also provides historical and conceptual background and explains how the consciousness/mind-body problem is related to such theories as the identity theory, dualism, and functionalism. In addition, accessible introductions outline the themes and readings contained in each section.