Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience


Maxwell Richard Bennett - 2003
     Surveys the conceptual problems inherent in many neuroscientific theories. Encourages neuroscientists to pay more attention to conceptual questions. Provides conceptual maps for students and researchers in cognitive neuroscience and psychology. Written by a distinguished philosopher and leading neuroscientist. Avoids the use of philosophical jargon. Constitutes an essential reference work for elucidation of concepts in cognitive neuroscience and psychology.

The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger as Your Brain Grows Older


Elkhonon Goldberg - 2005
    In an era of increasing fears about mental deterioration, world-renowned neuropsychologist Elkhonon Goldberg provides startling new evidence that though the brain diminishes in some tasks as it ages, it gains in many ways. Most notably, it increases in what he terms "wisdom" the ability to draw upon knowledge and experience gained over a lifetime to make quick and effective decisions. Goldberg delves into the machinery of the mind, separating memory into two distinct types: singular (knowledge of a particular incident or fact) and generic (recognition of broader patterns). As the brain ages, the ability to use singular memory declines, but generic memory is unaffected--and its importance grows. As an individual accumulates generic memory, the brain can increasingly rely upon these stored patterns to solve problems effortlessly and instantaneously. Goldberg investigates the neurobiology of wisdom, and draws on historical examples of artists and leaders whose greatest achievements were realized late in life.

Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science


Paul Thagard - 1996
    With Mind, Paul Thagard offers an introduction to this interdisciplinary field for readers who come to the subject with very different backgrounds. It is suitable for classroom use by students with interests ranging from computer science and engineering to psychology and philosophy.Thagard's systematic descriptions and evaluations of the main theories of mental representation advanced by cognitive scientists allow students to see that there are many complementary approaches to the investigation of mind. The fundamental theoretical perspectives he describes include logic, rules, concepts, analogies, images, and connections (artificial neural networks). The discussion of these theories provides an integrated view of the different achievements of the various fields of cognitive science.This second edition includes substantial revision and new material. Part I, which presents the different theoretical approaches, has been updated in light of recent work the field. Part II, which treats extensions to cognitive science, has been thoroughly revised, with new chapters added on brains, emotions, and consciousness. Other additions include a list of relevant Web sites at the end of each chapter and a glossary at the end of the book. As in the first edition, each chapter concludes with a summary and suggestions for further reading.

Where Mathematics Come From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being


George Lakoff - 2000
    Abstract ideas, for the most part, arise via conceptual metaphor-metaphorical ideas projecting from the way we function in the everyday physical world. Where Mathematics Comes From argues that conceptual metaphor plays a central role in mathematical ideas within the cognitive unconscious-from arithmetic and algebra to sets and logic to infinity in all of its forms.

Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity


Thomas Metzinger - 2003
    All that exists are phenomenal selves, as they appear in conscious experience. The phenomenal self, however, is not a thing but an ongoing process; it is the content of a "transparent self-model." In Being No One, Metzinger, a German philosopher, draws strongly on neuroscientific research to present a representationalist and functional analysis of what a consciously experienced first-person perspective actually is. Building a bridge between the humanities and the empirical sciences of the mind, he develops new conceptual toolkits and metaphors; uses case studies of unusual states of mind such as agnosia, neglect, blindsight, and hallucinations; and offers new sets of multilevel constraints for the concept of consciousness. Metzinger's central question is: How exactly does strong, consciously experienced subjectivity emerge out of objective events in the natural world? His epistemic goal is to determine whether conscious experience, in particular the experience of being someone that results from the emergence of a phenomenal self, can be analyzed on subpersonal levels of description. He also asks if and how our Cartesian intuitions that subjective experiences as such can never be reductively explained are themselves ultimately rooted in the deeper representational structure of our conscious minds.

Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience


Stephen S. Hall - 2010
    In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a penetrating history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in the fifth century B.C. to its modern manifestations in education, politics, and the workplace. Hall’s bracing exploration of the science of wisdom allows us to see this ancient virtue with fresh eyes, yet also makes clear that despite modern science’s most powerful efforts, wisdom continues to elude easy understanding.

Consciousness and Its Implications


Daniel N. Robinson - 2007
    Every night we surrender it gratefully, only to get it back in the morning. We recognize that we have it, but we can never be sure anyone else does. Consciousness, this unique and perplexing mental state, has been the subject of debate for philosophers and scientists for millennia. And while it is widely agreed within contemporary philosophy that consciousness is a problem whose solutions are likely to determine the fate of any number of other problems, there is no settled position on the ultimate nature of consciousness.What is the most promising way to study this subject? What are the implications that arise from the fact that we have consciousness? What are the ethical and moral issues raised by its presence—or its absence? Questions like these are at the heart of Consciousness and Its Implications, 12 thought-provoking lectures delivered by distinguished philosopher and psychologist Daniel N. Robinson. Rather than merely explain away consciousness, or hide behind such convenient slogans as "it's all in your brain," Professor Robinson reviews some of the special problems that philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and doctors face when taking on such a vexing topic.What Is Consciousness? Much of what we do every day is done without our being directly conscious of the steps taken to complete the task: riding a bicycle, taking a walk, humming a tune. But as natural as this state is, it stands as a very serious threat to any number of core convictions and assumptions in both philosophy and science. One of the overarching goals of this intriguing course is to make clear just what about consciousness serves as such a challenge to these convictions and assumptions.But what makes Consciousness and Its Implications so engaging is more than just the nature of the questions it poses and the issues it tackles. It's the way in which Professor Robinson, the consummate teacher and scholar, conveys this goal in four main points, each of which you explore in depth in these lectures.Consciousness seems to require, for its full understanding, a science not yet available. What distinguishes consciousness from all else is its phenomenology—that is, the act of being conscious is different from all other facts of nature. Conscious awareness is a power that, at times, can be so strong as to greatly affect our senses. The powers of consciousness vary over the course of a lifetime; as such, they can become subject to disease and defect.Throughout the course, Professor Robinson brings this riveting topic vividly to life with real-world examples and striking anecdotes. Review the case of Deep Blue, the IBM computer that in 1997 shocked the world by defeating a human, the chess grand master Garry Kasparov. Does Deep Blue's ability to "outsmart" a human being constitute a kind of consciousness? Or is it a reflection of the human minds that created this complex computer? Consider the case of the sleepwalker, who moves around with purpose and mimics behaviors we see in everyday life, but can remember nothing upon awakening. How does this mental state relate to human consciousness? What would be lost if we lived our entire lives as sleepwalkers?Study the case of a comatose patient who lives in an unbroken sleep state but, after a miraculous recovery, recalls having heard doctors speak about her. How do we interpret this patient's ability to perceive the surrounding world while in a coma? Does the patient's experience reflect some in-between mental state we've yet to define? Look at the case of a child with autism who can perform complicated mental tasks but lacks the most basic human attribute: empathy. How does this inability to imagine other minds affect the child's capacity to enjoy the full experience of human consciousness? Using compelling examples such as these, Professor Robinson weaves a riveting tale of the human condition that will change the way you think about your own mind.Professor Robinson also draws on the wisdom of the world's greatest thinkers—from the ancient Greeks to today's top scientists—to shed light on some of the ethical debates involved in any examination of consciousness. These include John Locke, whose famous "Prince and the Cobbler" hypothesis raised questions about the relationship between one's personal identity and one's body; Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose "Beetle in a Box" scenario holds implications for how we define consciousness both inside and outside ourselves; and Aristotle, who led a pointed discussion on the relationship between the physical world and what he referred to as "real being."You also enter the lab and explore the impact of modern physics and medicine on our understanding of the self. Pondering questions ranging from the most fundamental—"Why are we here?"—to contemporary quandaries about artificial intelligence and the medical decision to prolong life, you'll gain new insights into the complexity of how great minds define consciousness.Consciousness and Its Implications is a chance for you to view this deep and profound subject from all angles. A distinguished scholar in philosophy and neuropsychology, Professor Robinson incorporates many disciplines—psychology, physics, philosophy, medicine—to explore these abiding questions. So embark on a challenging and wholly satisfying exploration of this unique, mysterious, and essential mental faculty. The knowledge you'll gain in this course is not only intriguing—it is crucial to understanding the nature of humanity and the social and ethical obligations that define us all.

Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction


Susan Blackmore - 2003
    Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction challenges readers to reconsider key concepts such as personality, free will, and the soul. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Exciting new developments in brain science are opening up these debates, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers. This book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments and clearly describes the major theories, with illustrations and lively cartoons to help explain the experiments. Topics include vision and attention, theories of self, experiments on action and awareness, altered states of consciousness, and the effects of brain damage and drugs. This lively, engaging, and authoritative book provides a clear overview of the subject that combines the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience--and serves as a much-needed launch pad for further exploration of this complicated and unsolved issue.About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Theatre of the Mind: Raising the Curtain on Consciousness


Jay Ingram - 2005
    Mixing science, philosophy, history and pop culture,Ingram transforms grey matter into a brilliantly hued, completely understandableexploration of what’s really going on in our conscious and unconscious minds.

Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action, and the Embodied Mind


Andy Clark - 2015
    These predictions then initiate actions that structure our worlds and alter the very things we need to engage and predict. Clark takes us on a journey in discovering the circular causal flows and the self-structuring of the environment that define "the predictive brain." What emerges is a bold, new, cutting-edge vision that reveals the brain as our driving force in the daily surf through the waves of sensory stimulation.

Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception


Peter M. Vishton - 2011
    Nothing you experience would be possible without the intricate power of your senses. But how much about them do you really know?Your ability to sense and perceive the world around you is so richly detailed and accurate as to be miraculous. No tool in the entire universe of scientific exploration can come close to matching the ability of your brain to use information sensed by your eyes, ears, skin, tongue, and nose to produce a rich sensory experience in just milliseconds.In recent years, neurobiologists and other scientists have uncovered new insights into how your senses work and the amazingly complex and fascinating things they can do. And now you can share in what they've discovered-through this intriguing series of 24 lectures from an award-winning teacher.Knowing how your senses work and the ways they shape how you see, interact with, and understand your life will help you think more critically about everything you sense and perceive, strengthen your appreciation of the senses that make this possible, prepare you to be an active consumer of new scientific evidence on how our senses work, and much more.With Professor Vishton as your guide, you'll. consider each of your senses from multiple perspectives:Explore how your brain processes different sensory informationConsider how your senses work together and within the context of the environment around youdiscover how your senses connect you to the world and other people.Using both cutting-edge research and simple experiments, tests, and demonstrations to hone your understanding, he has created a world-class learning experience that will change the way you think about your senses.

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds


Daniel C. Dennett - 2017
    Disciples of Darwin have explained how natural selection produced plants, but what about the human mind?In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Daniel C. Dennett builds on recent discoveries from biology and computer science to show, step by step, how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. A crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Competition among memes produced thinking tools powerful enough that our minds don’t just perceive and react, they create and comprehend.An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and scientists, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain all those curious about how the mind works.

Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts


Stanislas Dehaene - 2014
    We can now pin down the neurons that fire when a person reports becoming aware of a piece of information and understand the crucial role unconscious computations play in how we make decisions. The emerging theory enables a test of consciousness in animals, babies, and those with severe brain injuries.A joyous exploration of the mind and its thrilling complexities, Consciousness and the Brain will excite anyone interestedin cutting-edge science and technology and the vast philosophical, personal, and ethical implications of finally quantifyingconsciousness.

Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness


Gerald M. Edelman - 2004
    In this direct and non-technical discussion of consciousness, Dr. Gerald M. Edelman draws on a lifetime of scientific inquiry into the workings of the brain to formulate answers to the mind-body questions that intrigue every thinking person.Concise and understandable, the book explains pertinent findings of modern neuroscience and describes how consciousness arises in complex brains. Edelman explores the relation of consciousness to causation, to evolution, to the development of the self, and to the origins of feelings, learning, and memory. His analysis of the brain activities underlying consciousness is based on recent remarkable advances in biochemistry, immunology, medical imaging, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology, yet the implications of his book extend farther—beyond the worlds of science and medicine into virtually every area of human inquiry.

Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind/Brain


Patricia S. Churchland - 1986
    Contemporary research in the empirical neurosciences and recent research in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science are used to illuminate fundamental questions concerning the relation between abstract cognitive theory and substantive neuroscience.