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Mindfucking: A Critique of Mental Manipulation Hardcover – September 15, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1844651146 ISBN-10: 1844651142 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Colin McGinn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami. He was formerly Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers and Wilde Reader in Philosophy at Oxford.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (September 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844651142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844651146
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,620,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Hande Z on December 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Colin McGinn is a well-known philosopher who has sub-specialised in the philosophy of mind. It is not surprising to see him indulging in that direction with his recently published book, "Mindfucking". This short book (more an essay) of 76 pages was inspired by a combination of the comment of a student and the essay by Harry Frankfurt entitled, "On Bullshit". Mindfucking is a warning that we are constantly bombarded by bullshit, some of them might turn out to be true and others false, and some, like true Frankfurtian bullshit, has no regard whether it's true or not. Its purpose lay not in truth or falsehood, but in persuasion and manipulation. McGinn says his intention was to have us guard ourselves from "mindfucking". It is a very clear, accessible book, and we are likely to inclined to agree with McGinn...or had he just [...] us?
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Nan Chen on October 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(I had to edit this review because Amazon's filters now do not allow "profanities" in the review so I had to use `MFing' for the title, etc)
This essay/booklet is a rather interesting little discussion of what McGinn understands by the vulgar term "MFing." Basically, MFing is like a BS or a lie in that it has an element of deception but the last two things do not necessarily have an element of emotional manipulation so characteristic of MFing.

BSing involves making the hearer falsely think the speaker is competent on some topic under discussion when the speaker really is not. The distinction between a BS and a lie is first elaborated on in Harry Frankfurt's famous essay and booklet "On BS." Truth does not even come into the equation for the BSer; it's irrelevant to the him; he doesn't even acknowledge it. His BS may or may not be true but reality is irrelevant to his purpose of BSing. Liars on the other hand purposely seek to get around the truth, thus he necessarily takes it into consideration (so as to avoid it). The liar seeks to not only make the hearer think he knows what he is talking about but seeks to make him think something that isn't true.

MFing can be a lie or a BS but it always involves an element of furtive emotional manipulation which may sometimes be lacking in cases of BSing and lies. As an example, propaganda seeks to manipulate people's emotions by using falsehoods or half-truths aimed at people's deep-seated fears, biases and prejudices. Certain kinds of advertising also can be understood as perfect examples of MFing. McGinn also gives an excellent literary example from Othello. Iago seeks to implant the seeds of mistrust and jealousy in Othello knowing full well he has a tragic flaw: he is susceptible to bouts of rage and jealousy.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Saganite VINE VOICE on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With only 76 pages to work with, McGinn spends the first almost third of the book seemingly clearing his throat and hemming and hawing around before saying anything of merit. M/F is no doubt a worthy topic, and McGinn a respected philosopher, but I found the marriage of writer and topic pretty forced in this instance, because while the title, even the subject, suggest something edgy and fun, the execution within the book reminded of no description more than "doddering." I happen to be reading Julian Baggini's Complaint: From Minor Moans to Principled Protests (Bid Ideas) at the same time as M/F, and I couldn't help thinking that Baggani would be much better-suited to the topic. But beyond anything else I have to whinge about is the fact that this is at most an article in a popular philosophical journal, and it is something of an absurdity to put it into hardcover and charge real money for it. The best function I can imagine the book serving has entirely to do with the title. It'll look vaguely provocative on my bookshelf. Although anyone who's seen the list of books I've reviewed on Amazon probably wouldn't imagine that I have any real problems with my bookshelf not being provocative enough.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent treatment of the ongoing reality in American mass media and everyday life.
Humorous and grievous at the same time give that many individuals are even aware of the fact that they're like lambs going to the slaughter...
Read it with an open mind! No pun intended...
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