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Consciousness, Brain, States of Awareness, and Mysticism Goleman, Daniel and Davidson, Richard Harper & Row, New York 1979 Book Psychology

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  • Vintage item from the 1970s
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  • Vintage item from the 1970s
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Favorited by: 2 people

This shop accepts Etsy gift cards

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Consciousness, Brain, States of Awareness, and Mysticism
Goleman, Daniel & Davidson, Richard editors
Published by Harper & Row, New York (1979)
ISBN 10: 0063830450 ISBN 13: 9780063830455
Soft Cover Measures 11x8.5 inches Weighs 1 pound 6 ounces

Condition: GOOD vintage
Covers are nicely illustrated. Shelf wear, scuffed edges. Solid tight clean copy. Text is crisp illustrations clear and bright.

During the formative years of psychology in America.
William James proposed as the discipline's prime goal the
study of states of consciousness. But the then-primitive
grasp of brain function and the ascendency of more fruitful
avenues of research and theory combined to make the
study of consciousness beyond psychology's pale. Now,
almost three-quarters of a century later, methods and
technologies have arrived that make it possible for psycho­
logists to take up James' challenge.
Even so, in the sociology of professions it is a natural
law that those in established branches tend to look askance
at innovative fields, either with benign disinterest or
outright hostility. So it is that the study of consciousness as
yet has no sure perch anywhere in psychology. Rather, it is
emerging as a field of study because of the ardent interest
of people scattered throughout the many arms of psychol­
ogy and well beyond to other disciplines. This multi-
disciplinary spread is inevitable, too, because of the nature
of the subject itself: consciousness is too vast a phenome­
non to become the sole property of any single field of
For this reason we have tapped numerous areas in
psychology and other disciplines in assembling this book of
readings. Within psychology, among the areas we have
drawn from are neuropsychology, perception, cognition,
psychodynamies, human development, and psycho-
physiology. Outside psychology we have tapped disciplines
ranging from psychopharmacology and psychiatry to
anthropology, philosophy, and mythology. A subject like
consciousness is so vast that it touches on virtually every
human science; to do it justice, then, requires a convergence
of views from a wide variety of methods and through many
theoretical lenses.
Although introductory psychology may be helpful in
understanding this book, we have chosen and edited the
selections so that readers with little or no psychology
background will understand them with ease. The scope of
mese readings is intentionally wide, going well beyond the
bounds of psychology per se, as the topic of consciousness
demands. We assume that most readers will be unfamiliar
with at least some of the disciplines from which selections
have come, so the book is actually an introduction to the
many facets of consciousness.
Our first look at consciousness is from the viewpoint
of the brain, its key organ. While we are learning at an
ever-increasing rate about how the workings of the brain
connect to consciousness, we have yet to understand fully
the link between the brain and the mind. Our next
perspective on consciousness is in terms of the major
psychological processes that combine to shape it: percep­
tion, cognition, attention, and the like. We also survey
states of consciousness that are experiences common to us
all. This gives us a background for understanding the radical
shifts in consciousness surveyed in the third section. When
the usual ebb and flow of our brain and mind are
significantly transformed-whether by drugs, mental illness,
meditation, hypnosis, or some other means—we experience
an altered state of consciousness; the third part of the book
surveys the major altered states. Whether or not a given
state of consciousness is valued depends to a large extent on
personal and cultural tastes. The final section deals with the
politics of consciousness—the judgments we place on
altered states.
Each part represents a different focus for the study of
consciousness. To facilitate comprehension of these foci,
we have added introductions to each of the part and section
openings, that discuss the background and scope of the
topics, and suggest guidelines for the actual reading of the
text. This format should be helpful to the reader with a
limited background in psychology and, for classroom use,
allows flexible adaptation in order to make an optimal fit
with the particular emphasis of any given psychology
course. Thus the first part, on brain function, could be
easily incorporated into a course emphasizing psycho-
biology; the second part, on the psychological processes
that shape awareness, would fit with a focus on cognition
and perception; the third part, on altered states, could
stand by itself as a comprehensive unit in a course on that
topic; and the final part, on the politics of consciousness,
can be used as source material for a course oriented around
issues in psychology. And besides its intended use as a
sourcebook on the psychology of consciousness, any or all
of these readings could supplement a course on intro­
ductory psychology.
Daniel Coleman
Richard J. Davidson

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