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Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind-Body Problem and Mental Causation (Representation and Mind) Reprint Edition

4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262611534
ISBN-10: 0262611538
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Editorial Reviews

Review

" Mr. Kim has long been a lone voice against the dominant functionalist orthodoxy, but the tide now seems to be turning in his favor. In this book he elegantly cuts through the baroque structure of recent philosophical debate, and displays the flaws common to the various sophisticated alternatives." -- "The Economist" " This is a wonderful book: ingenious, penetrating, illuminating." -- Ned Block, New York University

& quot; Mr. Kim has long been a lone voice against the dominant functionalist orthodoxy, but the tide now seems to be turning in his favor. In this book he elegantly cuts through the baroque structure of recent philosophical debate, and displays the flaws common to the various sophisticated alternatives.& quot; -- The Economist & quot; This is a wonderful book: ingenious, penetrating, illuminating.& quot; -- Ned Block, New York University

"Mr. Kim has long been a lone voice against the dominant functionalist orthodoxy, but the tide now seems to be turning in his favor. In this book he elegantly cuts through the baroque structure of recent philosophical debate, and displays the flaws common to the various sophisticated alternatives."--"The Economist""This is a wonderful book: ingenious, penetrating, illuminating."--Ned Block, New York University

About the Author

Jaegwon Kim has taught at Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Michigan, and is now William Perry Faunce Professor of Philosophy at Brown University. He is the author of" Supervenience and the Mind" (1993) and "Philosophy of Mind" (1996), and the editor, with Ernest Sosa, of "A Companion to Metaphysics" (Blackwell, 1995).

Ernest Sosa has taught since 1964 at Brown University, where he is now Romeo Elton Professor of Natural Theology and Professor of Philosophy. He is the author of "Knowledge in Perspective" (1991). He is co-editor (with John Greco) of "The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology" (1999); and co-editor (with Jaegwon Kim) of "A Companion to Metaphysics" (Blackwell, 1995).

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Product Details

  • Series: Representation and Mind series
  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book; Reprint edition (January 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262611538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262611534
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,270,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is great because after a great page you turn and get another, and another.... For the reader, an orgiastic feast of clear, insightful explanations of reductionism, the reigning non-reductive materialism, and dualism. Kim admittedly has no startlingly new theory which he hasn't expressed before, so the book is more of a textbook than a new thesis. But it simply overflows with illuminating presentations of the various aspects of the mind-body problem. And the argument that our only real choices are substance dualism and hardcore reductionism is excellent. Kim, no substance dualist, opts for reductionism. Non-reductive materialist functionalism, property dualism, anomalous monism - all these are either confusions or substance dualism in disguise. It gives us epiphenomenalist property dualists a kick in the rear. CORRECTION: I recently met Kim and asked him whether he was a reductionist, just to make sure. He said that people often misread him that way. Yes, he's saying there is a stark choice between dualism and reductionism, with no "non-reductive materialist" middle ground. But he's a dualist (actually, a property dualist, not a substance dualist).
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Format: Paperback
This is a must for anyone who's in need of an adequate physicalist metaphysics for the mind. Kim's clarity invites even the not so technically trained young philosopher to consider the puzzles that arise when one is committed to an antireductionist stance on the nature of mentality. Aside from its excellent historical account of the mind-body problem since the Smart-Feigl central-state materialism, I think that the major contribution this book makes is precisely the confrontation of the possibility of us remaining antireductionists and still consistently claim that the mental is real, in the sense of its having autonomous causal potency.
If you believe, as many functionalists do, that mental properties (functional properties) could be understood as second-order properties defined in terms of the causal/nomic relations of its first-order realizers, please read this book!! You'll be surprised by how untidy the metaphysics of functionalism has been since its inception in the late sixties.
Kim once more has shown that his work is here to stay.
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Format: Paperback
Jaegwon Kim offers a weakened physicalist discussion of supervenience and the difficulties it presents for current alternatives to Mind-Body dualism. There is some technical language but it is kept at a minimum. Of primary importance is Kim’s remarkably lucid discussion of “supervenience.”

Supervenience tries to explain how mental properties and physical kinds, not tokens, are related. Mental properties supervene on physical properties: For any property M, if anything has M at time t, then there exists a physical base (subvenient) property P such that it has P at t, and necessarily anything that has P at a time has M at that time (Kim 9). This means “every mental property has a physical base that guarantees its instantiation” (10). Thus, mental properties supervene on physical properties. The takeaway is that mental properties must always have a physical base. This is an improvement on older materialist models which said mental properties were physical properties.

Supervenience presents a number of problems for physicalism, however. What happens if mental property M causes another mental property M* to be instantiated? For example, my having the state “anger” causes me to have the mental state depression/fear/whatever. This means that, if supervenience holds, M* must also have a physical property P* as its physical base. Two problems immediately arise:

a. It appears that a mental property (M) is causing a physical base (P*) which then launches M*. Yet reductionists hold that all things have a physical cause. But this raises the problem:
b. So what causes M*? It seems we have multiple causes, overdetermination.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Before I was exposed to Philosophy of Mind, I never saw myself as being interested in such philosophical topic. My knowledge in Philosophy of Mind was almost non-existent, and the only thing I knew was the problem with Substance Dualism. I had no idea what anything was in Philosophy of Mind, especially Functionalism. I read this book with the prejudice that the reductionist or materialist view of the Mind is the best explanation. After I read this book, my perspective on Philosophy of Mind has changed. One of the highlight moments in this book was its exposition on Functionalism which has fascinated me, especially how the same realizers can function very differently in different systems embedded into different possible worlds operated by different natural laws. I also began to appreciate the supervenience argument of the mind, especially its flaws in not being clear about the exact nature of the relation between the body and the mind (it could be consistent with epiphenomalism).One of the hallmark qualities of this book is that the author Jaegown Kim writes so clearly and comprehensively that reading it just feels normal, without experiencing any confusion. While admittedly the book becomes more complex chapter after chapter, finishing it has been very rewarding. In this sense, Jaegown Kim has kindled my interest in Philosophy of Mind, and for that I am very grateful.
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