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Neither Brain nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory (Bradford Books) Paperback – January 26, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Bradford Books
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book; 1 edition (January 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262681676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262681674
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,481,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A new view of mind is in the air. Teed Rockwell has sensed it and articulated it beautifully in this book. Using a powerful combination of Dewey's pragmatism and dynamical systems theory, he proposes a bold alternative to Cartesian materialism that deserves careful scrutiny.

(J. A. Scott Kelso, Glenwood and Martha Creech Chair in Science and Director, Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Florida Atlantic University)

Davies strikes a bold position and argues for it vigorously. His position is clever and original, but nicely connected to currently available theories of biological function, and Davies does a good job of laying out the relationships between his view and the other major theories.

(Colin Allen, Professor, Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Program in Cognitive Science, Indiana University)

This book is an essential read for those interested in the nature of mind; for those of us already sympathetic to the project, the book enriches the view with historical antecedents from some unlikely places and offers a progressive scientific program for how to explore the new view of mind empirically.

(Journal of Philosophy of Science)

If everything else is governed by dynamics, why not mind? Or is the science of mind outside the natural sciences? In recent times, notions of self-organizing, dynamical systems have begun to permeate the social, behavioral, cognitive and brain sciences. With a few notable exceptions, however, dynamical concepts (which embrace nonlinearity, emergence, interactions and context) remain to be explored. This book, full of scientific wisdom, wit, and understanding, is a pleasure to read. Ward brings the full armamentarium of concepts, methods, and modeling tools of dynamical systems -- old and new -- to bear on a wide variety of psychological phenomena. By filling dynamics with content from specific fields of cognitive research, he points the way to a far richer cognitive science in which conceptual content, dynamical modeling, and experiments mutually complement each other. This is a ground-breaking book that bridges the cognitive and the natural sciences. And it's two-way traffic. I suspect, were they around after 300 years, that David Hume and Isaac Newton might just smile.

(J. A. Scott Kelso, Glenwood and Martha Creech Chair in Science and Director, Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Florida Atlantic University)

About the Author

W. Teed Rockwell is in the philosophy department at Sonoma State University.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gyre Andrew Gimble on March 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You'll find this one hard to put down. Rockwell writes very well: his self-confidence is invigorating without being excessive, and his use of friendly sarcasm toward many of the big names in philosophy of mind gives the reader a vivid point of entry into the chief problems of the field (I now feel a lot smarter about all the disputes Rockwell covers than I did before reading his book, which took less than 24 hours amidst numerous other activities).

The book makes two major claims, and I find the first a lot more interesting than the second (hence 4 stars rather than 5):

1. Mentality is not linked only with the brain. Numerous events that go on in the nervous system and hormonally have to count as mental. Pushing things still further, Rockwell argues that since mentality involves interactions with the environment, we cannot really restrict the mental realm to an "inner" sphere of the human body. This is all quite fascinating.

2. Rockwell justifies his theory on the basis of the pragmatist metaphysics of Dewey. This initially serves as a refreshing basis for his relational theory of the mind, but it eventually leads him into deeper waters where he merely asserts the more extreme metaphysical consequences of pragmatism... nothing has intrinsic qualities, it's unclear whether the world can exist without humans, etc. Granted, this was not explicitly meant as a work on metaphysics, but the antirealist underpinnings of his relational theory of mind come off as a bit facile.

Nonetheless, the book is a pleasure to read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan M. Platter on February 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book makes a very interesting proposal in the area emerging within philosophy of mind known as "embodied cognition". This is basically the view that 'mind' or 'mental events' should not be identified with the brain, but rather with the whole body. Most embodied views also make the claim that 'mind' extends beyond the body. That is, in fact, the view of Rockwell taken in this book. He describes 'mind' as a 'behavioral field' which supervenes on the 'brain-body-world nexus'.

He spends a few chapters at the end of the book critiquing computational models of cognition (especially as it has manifested itself in the construction of computers as 'artificial intelligence') and proposes 'connectionist networks' as a more plausible model of human cognition.

Anyone interested in this book should know that it is fairly technical and presupposes some understanding of philosophy of mind. It would also be advisable to find a book that overviews connectionist networks so that you don't have to rely solely on his explanation (which also gets somewhat technical).

Overall a great read and an intriguing contribution to embodied cognitive theory.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jake Keenan on May 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Concise, clear tour of the field of mind, brain, language studies - pushing the envelope back to Dewey and then ahead with the dynamic systems theorists & connectionists. Exemplary. He is at the forefront of philosophers working to understand the continuities of mind and environment.
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