A little light beach reading, courtesy of the Tufts Digital Library

One fine day this summer, I was at the beach with my family. Relaxing after a good swim, I had settled down on the beach with Meg Cabot's Big Boned, perfect reading for a sunny New England afternoon. But when I glanced over at family member lying next to me, he was reading Dan Dennett's Consciousness Explained. Now how can you get better than that for beach reading?

book cover

After all, we are talking about a book about which the New York Times said:

"For all its clarity and style, "Consciousness Explained" is not easy reading. ... But this book is so good that it's worth studying up for."

Of course this only made me sad that I didn't have a laptop and WiFi at the beach, because it made me want to spend some time with the open access collection of Dan Dennett's papers we have here at the Tufts Digital Library. After all, then we would have been able to have a conversation comparing the ideas in 1991's Consciousness Explained with 2006's "Two Steps Closer on Consciousness" or compare the discussion of qualia in the book with that alluded to in 2001's "The Zombic Hunch: Extinction of of an Intuition?".

...The best part of all this is that I am only half-kidding. We really did end up spending a fair amount of our beach afternoon discussing Dan Dennett's theories of consciousness, and it really did give me enough background to start understanding some of the papers in that open access collection. It was a fabulous way to spend a summer day.