Kinds Of Minds: Toward An Understanding Of Consciousness and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$12.06
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.95
  • Save: $3.89 (24%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Kinds Of Minds: Toward An... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Kinds Of Minds: Toward An Understanding Of Consciousness (Science Masters Series) Paperback – June 12, 1997


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.06
$3.94 $0.01
$12.06 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett embarks on the audacious task of explaining human consciousness. He sets his sights even higher for Kinds of Minds, attempting to provide a more general explanation of consciousness. But don't be put off: the book is short, easy to read, and makes a good introduction to Dennett's richly interdisciplinary oeuvre. While beginners will appreciate Dennett's appeals to intuitive moral considerations to emphasize the importance of investigating consciousness, there is much in the book to hold the attention of readers already familiar with his previous work.

At the beginning of Kinds of Minds Dennett asks, "What kinds of minds are there? And how do we know?" These two questions--the first ontological, the second epistemological--set the agenda for the book. Intuitions untutored by theory are not capable of answering these questions, Dennett argues, making it necessary to pursue insight from the evolutionary point of view. Accordingly, subsequent chapters are devoted to phylogenetic speculations about agency and intentionality, sensitivity and sentience, and perception and behavior. Particularly charming is the series of squiggly amoebas--the Darwinian, Skinnerian, Popperian, and Gregorian creatures--that illustrates the hierarchy of cognitive power. In the final chapter, Dennett returns to the original two questions, ending not with their answers, but, he hopes, with "better versions of the questions themselves." --Glenn Branch

From Publishers Weekly

Dennett (Darwin's Dangerous Idea), director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, avers that language is the "slingshot" that has "launched [humans] far beyond all other earthly species in the power to look ahead and reflect." In this brief study, some of which is drawn from notes for the author's various lectures, and which returns him to some of the themes of his controversial bestseller, Consciousness Explained (1991), he explores how the human mind came into existence. Along the way, he investigates such questions as, How does the mind work? Can we know another's mind? Can a woman know what it's like to be a man (and vice versa)? What are nonhuman minds like? Could a robot ever be "conscious"? Philosopher that he is, Dennett continually raises and refines his questions about these and other subjects, attempting to tease us closer to understanding. By the end of the book, he confesses, he has not so much presented answers as found better questions to ask. Though some readers may be put off by Dennett's cocksure tone, others will be rewarded by his witty, intelligible speculation.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Science Masters Series
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (June 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465073514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465073511
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Dennett's recommendations for further reading are especially good.
meadowreader
Sadly, I am left with the impression Dennett had a book contract to honor and filled 168 pages with off the cuff rhetoric rather than substantive, concrete science.
Donald E. Malvin
I had never thought about these qualitatively different "levels of sophistication," but they make perfect sense to me -- kind of an "Aha!" experience.
Nicholas Sterling

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Dave Kinnear on September 27, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got started on Dennett's many books when a friend recommended Consciousness Explained and I haven't been able to put the topic down ever since. Dennett continues his clear, straightforward style in this book which is much more readable than Consciousness Explained, but still provides ample challenge for the reader.
Dennett starts with the statement, "I am a philosopher, not a scientist," yet his command of what is going on in the sciences is most impressive. His ability to make incredibly complex ideas of evolution understandable to the lay person is amazing and consistent. Through the use of words and diagrams, we are brought up to date on the latest thinking on what mind is and how it is evolving.
Kinds of Minds tackles very emotional and controversial topics such as "are we so sure that all humans have minds? . . . Could it be that all animals and even plants and even bacteria have minds?. . . What kinds of minds are there?" The reader is then lead through a series of logical steps, replete with information on the latest scientific and philosophical thought, and left to finally decide these big questions on his or her own.
This is definitely a must read book for those interested in the human mind, consciousness, and ethical treatment of our fellow beings in this interconnected web of all existence.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on June 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you aren't familiar with the works of Daniel Dennett, this is the starting point of choice. This American philosopher's ability to pose thought-provoking questions is unmatched. In this collection, the focus is on "what is a mind?" How do we define "the mind" and are humans the sole possessors of it? Dennett is not only deft at posing these posers, he presents the questions and his explanations with philosophy's finest prose and wit. His other advantage over his fellow cognitive scientists is his use of Darwin's "dangerous idea," evolution by natural selection. As products of that process, humans are not exempt from its rules. That framework raises the issue of whether other creatures can be said to have "minds." Dennett explores this issue with skillfully chosen examples. These are part of the list of "kinds of minds."
Dennett is famous among philosophers for devising the concept of "the intentional stance." The intentional stance is interpreting the behaviour of an entity." The range of entities is extensive - a simple thermostat has predictable behaviour - when the room is cool, the device closes a circuit turning on the heat. According to Dennett, the simplest creatures exhibited similar "robotic" behaviour, but as life evolved, more complex patterns developed. Dennett argues that "adopting the intentional stance is not just a good idea but the key to unraveling the mysteries of the mind - all kinds of minds." In his view, intentional systems have progressed along the course of evolution in ever complex steps. Humans, with the development of language, have achieved the highest level of cognitive abilities.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Dennett's input into the 'sentient machines' debate continues to be compelling. This book focuses on animals, and on understanding the kind of consciousness that may exist in different classes of creature. Dennett travels the animal kingdom, drawing pertinent examples to help refute poor hypotheses.
In the tradition of the best philosophy, it leaves one with better questions, rather than better answers. The book is very approachable, and free of complexity.
Highly recommended
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James Gerofsky on October 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you've read anything written within the past 20 years on 'philosophy of mind' or the mystery of human consciousness, you've no doubt come across the name Daniel Dennett. Dr. Dennett is a noted expert in the field of mind and consciousness. Dennett is not just another armchair philosopher, as he frequently collaborates with psychologists and neuroscientists in the design and evaluation of empirical studies. He has published a great number of articles and books, many of which are readable by the interested layperson. Unfortunately, most of these works are quite voluminous. "Kinds of Minds" is a relatively short summary of Dennett's paradigms and ultimate contentions regarding the conscious brain. It's great for those like myself who want to experience Dennett but don't have the time to digest a few thousand pages of dense, technical prose.

You should approach Dennett in two different ways; in philosopher talk, Dennett requies an epistemological dualism. On the one hand, Dennett provides a wide range of extremely useful interpretation of neurological and psychological data; he masterfully interweaves the human mind with the brain, body and social environments that support it. Dennett is a brilliant scholar, and even in a short book like this he manages to provide amazing insights on what our minds are doing and why they are doing it. At some point, however, Dennett crosses a hazy boundary between analysis and personal interpretation, and you need to invoke the second approach, a cautious stance toward his strong but not universally accepted opinions.

This second aspect of Dennett is actually what he is best known for outside of professional circles. At the start of this review, I spoke of the "mystery" of human consciousness.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Frequently Bought Together

Kinds Of Minds: Toward An Understanding Of Consciousness (Science Masters Series) + Consciousness Explained + Freedom Evolves
Price for all three: $41.67

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together
  • Consciousness Explained $18.00
  • Freedom Evolves $11.61