The first problem in understanding our own minds is giving up many of the things we think we know. Dan Dennett is a philosopher of consciousness whose talk for TED, which uses visual illusions as illustrations, shows how consciousness is a kind of magic trick cooked up by our brains.
It’s a very simple message, but a vital one in understanding the mind. What Dennett explains so neatly is that it’s natural to think we’re experts on consciousness – and psychology – by virtue of being conscious ourselves and having access to our own thought processes. But actually we’re none of us quite as informed about ourselves as we’d like to think.
» For more on the psychological version of this point, read this series on how the inner workings of our minds are hidden from us.
Published: 29 October 2008