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The Human World in the Physical Universe: Consciousness, Free Will and Evolution

Maxwell, N; (2001) The Human World in the Physical Universe: Consciousness, Free Will and Evolution. (First ed.). Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham, USA; Oxford, UK.

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Abstract

How is it possible for the world as we experience it to exist embedded in the physical universe? How can there be sensory qualities, consciousness, freedom, science and art, friendship, love, justice - all that which gives meaning and value to life - if the world really is more or less as modern science tells us it is? That is the problem, a generalized version of the mind/body problem, that is tackled in this book. After a survey of attempted solutions, it is argued that physics describes only a highly selected aspect of all that there is, the causally efficacious aspect. The experiential world exists objectively in addition to the physical, and physics is obliged to ignore it in order to develop its marvellously explanatory theories. The location of consciousness in the brain is discussed, and an original conjecture as to why brain processes and sensations are correlated as they are is put forward. A compatibilist account of free will is developed. A modified version of Darwin’s theory of evolution is proposed. The problem of how a civilized world can be created in the physical universe is tackled.

Type:Book
Title:The Human World in the Physical Universe: Consciousness, Free Will and Evolution
ISBN:0-7425-1226-6
Keywords:Mind/body problem, physics, consciousness, free will, evolution, sentience, physical universe, human world, values, scientific method, contingent identity, civilization
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Science and Technology Studies

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