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Matter and Mind: A Philosophical Inquiry (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science) Hardcover – August 12, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-9048192243 ISBN-10: 9048192242 Edition: 2010th

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Product Details

  • Series: Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science (Book 287)
  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2010 edition (August 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9048192242
  • ISBN-13: 978-9048192243
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,167,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

“Bunge provides a masterful survey of key ideas in physics and conceptions of matter including theories of relativity, quantum physics and thermodynamics, inter alia. Every page is an encyclopaedic survey of concepts, theories and their history and, therefore, the book defies easy summary. … Bunge’s belligerent, take-no-hostage style is a welcome change from the usual passionless treatises on these subjects. Bunge’s no-nonsense approach is to be commended … . the book is precisely because it engages deeply with most interesting intellectual issues.”­­­ (Peter Slezak, Science & Education, November, 2011)

From the Back Cover

This book discusses two of the oldest and hardest problems in both science and philosophy: What is matter?, and What is mind? A reason for tackling both problems in a single book is that two of the most influential views in modern philosophy are that the universe is mental (idealism), and that the everything real is material (materialism). Most of the thinkers who espouse a materialist view of mind have obsolete ideas about matter, whereas those who claim that science supports idealism have not explained how the universe could have existed before humans emerged. Besides, both groups tend to ignore the other levels of existence—chemical, biological, social, and technological. If such levels and the concomitant emergence processes are ignored, the physicalism/spiritualism dilemma remains unsolved, whereas if they are included, the alleged mysteries are shown to be problems that science is treating successfully.

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pseudonymus de Bavaria on April 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My impression of this book, which I read two or three months ago, was mediocre...

- The first third offers a concise introduction in Bunge's materialist ontology, which definitely is worth reading. For a theoretical physicist like myself (despite my taste for mathematical beauty) formalisations should serve a purpose: namely solve empirical (incl. technological) problems! (Popper always emphasised this point: Definitions, conceptual issues, etc. are not interesting, therefore one ought to concentrate on real problems!) A reader may sometimes get the impression, that Bunge's system is "l'art pour l'art"; one wonders, whether the laborious construction of Bunge's conceptual apparatus is worth the trouble (particularly with the fact in mind, that no other author uses Bunge's terminology), i.e. whether it pays off in terms of scientific fecundity.

- The author sometimes treats other philosophers and scientists very unfairly: What he critises often is but a caricature or at least a rather distorted, mutilated version of what his "opponents" really wrote. For example his harsh rejection of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology: Admittedly, many more popular books on these subjects indeed are highly speculative just-so-stories and scientifically doubtful (e.g. when the description of some drakes to lurk behind bushes and and leap out in order to sexually assault passing ducks is offered as an explanation of mens' equally sinister dispositions...), but that is certainly not representative (cf. for example, E. Voland: "Soziobiologie" or D. Buss's latest edition of his "Evolutionary Psychology")!

- His habit of insulting almost everybody who has a name in intellectual history I found rather childish and misplaced.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lester M. Stacey on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reality and knowledge of it are not a ready source of comfort.

Deal with it.

The fact is, if you get matter wrong, you can't get mind right. While, if you get mind wrong, you can't get matter right.

The only approach that works is to get both fundamental aspects of your experience right at the same time.

This book helps you do exactly that. Facing the facts precisely.

Emergent materialism and scientific realism are applied.

Does this lead you into a meaningless existence?

Not at all.

Life is full of meaning.

The Brain and the Meaning of Life lays it out clearly.

To learn more about how matter generates mind, check out The Dopaminergic Mind in Human Evolution and History.
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