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Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited (Book Review)

Klaus J. Hansen, Dept. of History, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
2006

When thirty years ago Julian Jaynes published his pioneering work, the study of consciousness was a scientific orphan. These days it has become for neurobiology and philosophy what string theory is for particle physics — fashionable. This, then, may be an opportune time to revisit Jaynes's imaginative work in the context of today's scholarship.

Blending biography with analytical and critical discussions and evaluations, this volume presents a rounded picture of Jaynes as an individual and scholar, while not shrinking from controversial and difficult issues. Jaynes, admittedly, did not have all the right answers, but he did ask some of the right questions. It is hoped that this volume will help clarify misunderstandings and stimulate the continuing pursuit of consciousness in the Jaynesian spirit.