• Galileo's Error

  • Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness
  • By: Philip Goff
  • Narrated by: Maxwell Caulfield
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (207 ratings)

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Galileo's Error

By: Philip Goff
Narrated by: Maxwell Caulfield
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Publisher's summary

From a leading philosopher of the mind comes this lucid, provocative argument that offers a radically new picture of human consciousness - panpsychism

Understanding how brains produce consciousness is one of the great scientific challenges of our age. Some philosophers argue that consciousness is something "extra", beyond the physical workings of the brain. Others think that if we persist in our standard scientific methods, our questions about consciousness will eventually be answered. And some suggest that the mystery is so deep, it will never be solved.

In Galileo's Error, Philip Goff offers an exciting alternative that could pave the way forward. Rooted in an analysis of the philosophical underpinnings of modern science and based on the early 20th-century work of Arthur Eddington and Bertrand Russell, Goff makes the case for panpsychism, a theory which posits that consciousness is not confined to biological entities but is a fundamental feature of all physical matter - from subatomic particles to the human brain. Here is the first step on a new path to the final theory of human consciousness.

Cover image: Gold Beam Collision Recorded at STAR. Copyright Brookhaven National Laboratory (Creative Commons). Full image available at Flickr.com.

©2019 Philip Goff (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“In Galileo’s Error, Philip Goff argues for a new approach to the scientific study of consciousness. He offers an accessible and compelling analysis of why our felt experience continues to elude scientific explanation and why the theories that describe consciousness as a fundamental feature of matter have been neglected - and why they now deserve serious consideration. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of consciousness studies.” (Annaka Harris, best-selling author of Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind)

“This is one of the clearest accounts I've ever read about the mystery of consciousness, and the way in which one theory about it, panpsychism, does a great deal to explain how it occurs and what it is. Why shouldn't consciousness be a normal property of matter, like mass or electrical charge? This idea has the glorious simplicity of our first realization that the earth goes around the sun, and not vice versa. Suddenly, the universe appears in a new and much more revealing perspective. Philip Goff's book is altogether a splendid introduction to this fascinating idea.” (Philip Pullman, author of the “His Dark Materials” series)

“Philip Goff’s new book, Galileo’s Error, introduces the public to a revolutionary approach to one of the most stubborn of mysteries: How does the brain, with its chemical and electrical processes, give rise to a mind, whose thoughts, emotions, colors and tones we apprehend directly? In this provocative, brave, and clearly written book, Goff makes a compelling case for an initially absurd thesis: that the colors we perceive are instances of universal qualities hidden within all material processes.” (Lee Smolin, author of Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution and founding member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics)