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Mindmelding: Consciousness, Neuroscience, and the Mind's Privacy Hardcover – March 24, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0199231904 ISBN-10: 0199231907 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


Quotations from review of Mindmelding, by William Hirstein, Oxford, 2012.

Review by Neil Levy

Philosophy in Review XXXIV (2014), no. 1-2, pages 75-77.

"William Hirstein defends a highly novel major claim, in order to defeat what he sees as a dogma in philosophy of mind. The dogma is that consciousness is essentially private; Hirstein believes that defeating it is important because he sees it as the major obstacle to a physicalist account of consciousness."

"The highly novel claim is that what he calls mindmelding is possible. Mindmelding occurs when one person has direct access to the conscious states of another person. In order to defend the possibility of mindmelding and advance his physicalist agenda, Hirstein offers an account of the nature of consciousness and of how agents have access to their content states that is heavily driven by recent work in cognitive neuroscience."

"It is possible to dispute how much explanatory power neuroscientific accounts of consciousness have, but it is fair to say that they have not yet bridged the explanatory gap.

The progress of science may yet bridge that gap, and something in the ballpark of the account of consciousness Hirstein offers has a fair claim to be regarded as the best hope to emerge as truly satisfying explanation of its nature. Hirstein's book should not be seen as offering the last word--as he would concede, its details await further scientific development--but the provocative and systematic account it offers must be taken seriously by physicalists and their opponents alike."

About the Author

William Hirstein is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Elmhurst College, in Elmhurst, Illinois, USA. He received his PhD from the University of California, Davis, in 1994. His graduate and postdoctoral studies were conducted under the supervision of John Searle, V. S. Ramachandran, and Patricia Churchland. He is the author of several books, including On the Churchlands (Wadsworth, 2004), and Brain Fiction: Self-Deception and the Riddle of Confabulation (MIT, 2005).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199231907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199231904
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,364,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By ariel on December 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hirstein's theory of mind melding is fascinating. I was doing a research paper about craniopagus conjoined twins and this book helped a lot. Some of Hirstein's ways to prove his point is by refuting other scientists, which makes it somewhat annoying. All together, it's really interesting and recommended to those who would like to view consciousness from a different perspective.
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