Professor Max Velmans


Selected publications on consciousness – January 2014

The following is a selection of some my publications on consciousness with a very brief description attached. A brief summary of some of the main themes is also given at the end.


Velmans, M. (2009) Understanding Consciousness, Edition 2. London: Routledge/Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis. (UK, USA).

A current, comprehensive summary of my theoretical work that updates and deepens the analysis given in Edition 1. Part 1 reviews the strengths and weaknesses of all currently dominant theories of consciousness in a form suitable for undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers focusing mainly on dualism, physicalism, functionalism and consciousness in machines. Part 2 gives a new analysis of consciousness, grounded in its everyday phenomenology, which undermines the basis of the dualism versus reductionist debate. It also examines the consequences for realism versus idealism, subjectivity, intersubjectivity and objectivity, and the relation of consciousness to brain processing. Part 3 gives a new synthesis, with a novel approach to understanding what consciousness is and what consciousness does. It also introduces Reflexive Monism, an alternative to dualism and reductionism that is consistent with the findings of science and with common sense.

Velmans, M. (2000) Understanding Consciousness. London: Routledge/Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis. (UK, USA)

Available as an ebook at, Ebook mall and Taylor & Francis.
A comprehensive survey of consciousness studies at the turn of the 21st Century, and outline of my own theoretical approach. Now updated, with a deepened analysis in Edition 2.

Velmans, M. (2003) How Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains? Exeter: Imprint Academic. (UK, USA)

This is a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies that presents my suggested solution to one of the hardest of the "hard" problems of consciousness, accompanied by commentaries from Kihlstrom, Feinberg, Torrance, Van Gulick, Gray, Rakover, Chrisley & Sloman, Rao, and my reply.

Velmans, M. & Schneider, S. (eds.) (2007) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Malden, MA: Blackwell. (UK, USA)

The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness is the most thorough and comprehensive survey of contemporary scientific research and philosophical thought on consciousness currently available. Extensively peer reviewed, its 55 newly commissioned chapters combine state of the art surveys with cutting-edge research.

Velmans, M. (ed.) (2000) Investigating Phenomenal Consciousness: New Methodologies and Maps. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. (UK, USA)

A set of 15 invited chapters by leading researchers and theoreticians that survey the strengths and weaknesses of new methods (and rediscovered methods) for investigating consciousness. Part 1 gives an introductory overview, followed by a series of methodology chapters ranging over third-person brain imaging techniques, first-person phenomenological investigations, second-person methods for exploring intersubjectivity and classical techniques drawn from Eastern philosophy. Part 2 examines a variety of alternative "maps" of the consciousness studies terrain.

Velmans, M. (ed.) (1996) The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, Neuropsychological and Clinical Reviews, London: Routledge. (UK, USA)

A set of invited chapters by leading experts, reviewing consciousness studies in mainstream areas of science (suitable for undergraduates as well as postgraduates and researchers). Part 1 provides an introductory overview and covers investigations of consciousness in perception, learning, memory, information integration and information dissemination. Part 2 reviews clinical dissociations of consciousness and the neural conditions required for consciousness in the brain. Part 3 examines mind/body interactions consequent on the use of imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation and the placebo effect. The final chapter returns to fundamental issues: "what and where are conscious experiences?"