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How do two new books on consciousness close in on the elusive field?

The Four Realms of Existence by Joseph LeDoux and Consciousness by John Parrington tell us a lot about human cognition, brain structure and evolution – but most of all they demonstrate how far this most tricky of quests still has to go

By Susan Blackmore

22 November 2023

2K00NBC Diver in a bloom of jellyfishes Aurelia aurita pointing something

Jellyfish move and hunt without a central brain like that of humans


The Four Realms of Existence
Joseph E. LeDoux (Harvard University Press)

John Parrington (Icon Books)

LAST month, two new books on consciousness added to the growing pile of literature on this contentious and difficult subject. One claims to give us a “new view of what makes us who we are”; the other offers “a radical new theory of human consciousness”. Bold claims indeed, but do they succeed?

The books are The Four Realms of Existence by Joseph E.…

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