What is Consciousness? – Max Velmans

Rarely does one major publication on the nature of consciousness include articles on all its aspects — philosophical, mystical and neurological. The four volume set listed below, Consciousness, edited by Max Velmans, is an essential reference work for the serious researcher into the nature of consciousness. As is evident in  The table of contents , the volumes contain original articles that should be of interest whether one approaches consciousness neurologically or mystically. Max Velmans describes the work as follows:

As this collection of Major Works on Consciousness forms part of a Critical Concepts in Psychology series, this selection of 89 readings drawn from the entire field of Consciousness Studies focuses mainly on writings that have a direct psychological relevance.  From the mid 19th Century onwards, psychology began to separate itself from philosophy, and the development of psychological thought about consciousness links intimately to the development of psychology itself. In order to trace this development, the four volumes of this collection follow a rough, historical sequence. Volume 1 deals with The Origins of Psychology and the Study of Consciousness. Volumes 2 and 3 deal with contemporary Cognitive and Neuropsychological Approaches to the Study of Consciousness. And Volume 4 focuses mainly on New Directions: Psychogenesis, Transformations of Consciousness and Non-reductive, Integrative Theories, which deal with issues likely to expand current, mainstream thought in potentially novel, and, sometimes, challenging directions. Ultimately, such novel investigations of and theories about consciousness lead us back us back to the same questions asked by the ancients about the relation of consciousness, mind and soul to the material world—issues that SMN members are likely to find of particular interest.

The printed, 4-Volume collection presents 89 major readings (or salient extracts from major readings) along with an introduction to the entire collection, the readings in each volume, and an extensive index. It also introduces 5 additional readings that were selected for inclusion, but could not be reprinted for the reason that reprint permissions were prohibitively expensive.  There are also four freely available online Companions (one for each Volume). Although these Companions cannot substitute for the 2030 page printed collection, they do provide prepublication versions of the introductions along with a wealth of additional sources in the form of online links both to background readings and to the selected readings themselves, thereby providing a major resource for Consciousness Studies in themselves.

Velmans, M. (ed.) (2018) Consciousness (Critical Concepts in Psychology), Major Works Series (4 Volumes), Routledge, London, pp. 2030.