Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About as accessible an introduction to Philosophy of Mind as you will find anywhere.
Edward Feser's book is a fine introduction to the contemporary issues in Philosophy of Mind. I believe this is saying a lot because Philosophy of Mind is a terribly difficult subject and there are no really solid boundaries between today's major thinkers. For example, Daniel Dennett (Consciousness Explained), John Searle (Mind, Language, and Society : Philosophy in the...
Published on March 3, 2010 by Amazon Customer

versus
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely clear
I bought the Kindle version of this book, but I recommend you buy the ordinary book version, so that you can refer to the glossary while reading. The author does try to make this very complex topic simpler but is not entirely successful. This book is a long, cumulative argument in favor of hylomorphist dualism. The first few chapters are relatively easy to follow, but...
Published on October 1, 2011 by Barry Rucker


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About as accessible an introduction to Philosophy of Mind as you will find anywhere., March 3, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) (Paperback)
Edward Feser's book is a fine introduction to the contemporary issues in Philosophy of Mind. I believe this is saying a lot because Philosophy of Mind is a terribly difficult subject and there are no really solid boundaries between today's major thinkers. For example, Daniel Dennett (Consciousness Explained), John Searle (Mind, Language, and Society : Philosophy in the Real World), Jerry Fodor (LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited) and Paul Churchland (Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind) are all given some mention and their ideas are discussed in a useful way.

Two major benefits of this book are the Glossary at the end of the book and the Further Reading sections at the end of each chapter. Feser does a great job hitting the high points and the history of Philosophy of Mind in nine painless chapters: 1) Perception, 2) Dualism, 3) Materialism, 4) Qualia, 5) Consciousness, 6) Thought, 7) Intentionality, 8) Person and 9) Postscript (2006). My degree is in Philosophy and I wish I had had this book my freshman year. And while it may not help resolve any of the issues on the topic, it is very helpful in understanding the issues involved. I highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide for philosophy of mind students and scholars, March 12, 2009
This review is from: Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) (Paperback)
Feser's book is an excellent, perhaps the best, introduction for contemporary philosophy of mind. In a clear prose, but in the rigorous argumentative style of most professional philosophers, Feser explains the main topics of discussion in philosophy of mind (e.g. the mind-body problem, consciousness, thought, intentionality, persons etc.), critically explore each position in its strong and weak points, making explicit its hidden assumptions and implications.

The book includes a glossary that defines the words and concepts to a full grasp of each essential idea. That glossary is very useful, especially for people without a formal training in philosophy.

Also, the bibliography provided by Feser is of great help, because it guides the readers to specific and reliable sources on each topic.

An essential guide for philosophy of mind students and scholars, and for any person interested in philosophy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Broad Overview, September 2, 2012
This review is from: Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) (Paperback)
Originally published in 2005 Edward Feser's `Philosophy of Mind' is an instalment in Oneworld Publications' Beginners Guide series. Feser is an American philosopher with publications in areas including; Aristotle, Aquinas, philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion. The present review pertains to the 2006 edition.

The text surveys the modern philosophy of mind tradition starting from Descartes and running through to the present. In this short text Feser takes the reader through a chronological overview of leading modern approaches including behaviourism, identity theory, functionalism, panpsyschism and concluding with hylomorphic dualism. The discussion provides an excellent overview of the various theories, introduces their leading proponents and assesses their respective strengths and weaknesses. I offer a few thoughts for potential purchasers.

1) The tag `beginners guide' is somewhat misleading. While Feser starts of with the basics and covers the requisite bases required of an introductory text, the discussion picks up speed and some of the latter chapters may be challenging for a true neophyte. The text seems best suited for someone who has had some exposure to the subject matter.

2) Probably the text's greatest strength is its uncharacteristically broad approach. Much contemporary work in the philosophy of mind presupposes materialism/physicalism and the discussion is accordingly skewed in this direction. This is not intended to dismiss physicalist views of the mind but, rather to note that presuppositions play an important role in determining how an issue is approached - which options are considered to be viable and which are not. For instance, dualism despite its strong intuitive appeal is normally dismissed by naturalists on the basis of the interaction problem and the perceived incoherence of a non-physical realm, while at the same time the equally, if not even more, daunting question of how one order of being (the mental) can arise from another (the physical) is viewed as a coherent question.

3) On a more mundane level the text has excellent annotated bibliographies at the end of each chapter with helpful recommendations for further reading. The glossary is also well done.

Overall, this is a solid book. Feser's occasional terseness is more than compensated by his broad approach and insightful analysis. Indeed, the text overshot my expectations and has encouraged me to look further into Thomism and hylomorphic dualism. Recommended for readers interested in the philosophy of mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely clear, October 1, 2011
By 
Barry Rucker (Murrieta, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought the Kindle version of this book, but I recommend you buy the ordinary book version, so that you can refer to the glossary while reading. The author does try to make this very complex topic simpler but is not entirely successful. This book is a long, cumulative argument in favor of hylomorphist dualism. The first few chapters are relatively easy to follow, but in order to follow the arguments of the later chapters it is necessary for the reader to memorize definitions of technical terms and to memorize arguments and their names, which I was not able to accomplish. This book is full of information and very educational, but I would certainly not be able to summarize it for anyone else.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About as clear and as interesting as one can get, April 25, 2012
By 
Bobby Bambino (Collegeville, PA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) (Paperback)
Feser's "Philosophy of Mind" is an extremely well written and balanced introduction to the different views on the philosophy of mind. For some strange reason, I have never been that excited about the arguments and questions in the realm of philosophy of mind. Yet Feser's book has made me realize the value in considering the questions raised by the study of mind. For example, does the existence of qualia undermine materialism? Does Cartesian dualism fall to the "interaction problem" i.e. how does this different substance (the soul) interact or cause changes in this material substance (the body)? These questions are somewhat indicative of the style Feser takes in his book, for as I mentioned above, Feser writes a balanced book, looking at both reasons for and against materialism and for and against Cartesian dualism. These are the two broad categories that Feser compares and contrasts with each other throughout the book. In fact, the book is so balanced for the first 2/3rds or so that I began to think that Feser wrote it in between his atheism and Catholicism stages of his life, and that he personally didn't hold to one position or another at the time of his writing. However, we do learn towards the end that Feser ultimately defends (rightly I believe) hylomorphic dualism. This is a great culmination of the book, as Feser has set it up so that there are some things that Cartesian dualism seems to answer better than materialism, but other things where Cartesian dualism falls short. The solution to the problem is another kind of dualism, the classic dualism of Aquinas and others, one which is totally immune from the interaction problem as well as new scientific findings in neuroscience.

If you are interested in a balanced introduction to philosophy of mind where the author will eventually culminate giving his personal opinion or answer to the questions he poses (I'm annoyed at books/courses that are attempted to be written/taught objectively with no answers given or proposed), this is a great place to start. Feser takes a complicated idea and makes it accessible.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feser Does It Again, June 13, 2013
This review is from: Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) (Paperback)
This is the third book Iv'e read by Edward Feser-the other two being Aquinas and The Last Superstition which I highly recommend-and as always I find myself to have learned a great deal. Feser has a gift for being clear and bringing complicated topics down to the level of the layman. Also, even though Feser-at the end of the book-argues for a specific view he treats the views of materialists and dualists quite even-handedly. He simply lays the arguments on the table and is careful to demonstrate how some arguments either succeed or fail to make their case.

This is a great introduction to Philosophy of Mind. Even if one fails to agree with Feser's conclusions one will still find his presentation and demonstration of certain arguments and views to be clear. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in philosophy. I will without a doubt reread it and be returning to it in the future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Impartial Introductory Guide!, August 17, 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The best introductory book on the Philosophy of mind I have ever read. This book gives a good concise summary of all the basic puzzles concerning the mind-body and related subjects and the arguments attempting to solve them from an admirably comprehensive source of perspectives, while still succeeding in remaining relatively succinct. Furthermore, it is just possibly the only unbiased book on the philosophy of mind that has been written in a very long time, including positions that are left out of most anthologies, no less introductory books, because of the strong dogmatic tendencies in our culture toward materialism. This does not mean that the book is written from an alternative perspective from the usual analytical one, e.g. “dualist”, it means that the book is written in an impartial way, showing all the arguments, including less than popular ones like those of the dualist, in their strongest possible light and actually implements the principle of charity that analytical philosophers so often mention and so seldom employ. I figure that this has to be pointed out since there are so few books written in philosophy that are actually impartial.

Some of the people who would benefit the most from this book are the following:

1.) The nonprofessional who wants to read about the philosophy of mind for their own knowledge or enjoyment but who want to read one book not a thousand. This book is actually much more comprehensive then I ever expected it to be.

2.) The scholar who studies philosophy but who is unsure of whether to pursue it professionally, as well as … people who consider themselves philosophers but who are not sure if they are, or if they want to be “analytical” philosophers and those who are analytical philosophers but who are unsure of whether they want to study the philosophy of mind side of Analytical philosophy.

3.) The student who is currently studying philosophy on the graduate or undergraduate level and needs a book that will map out the basic positions, in order to help him or her decide which areas to concentrate on. This book presents the basic arguments in an economical way so as to make it easy to decide what positions one agrees and disagrees with, are interested in studying further, and which are not worth the bother, hence saving one countless hours reading books and articles that are ultimately useless for their own personal philosophical purposes.

For this final category, this book is also superb for pointing in the right direction for further research in various individual areas.

The only thing one who intends to use the book for professional purposes should keep in mind is that this book is written in a manner that is more designed for the layman than for the seasoned professional and hence may not be as detailed or as nuanced in its language as may be necessary for some professional purposes. Nevertheless, it has many benefits even for professionals.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read philosophy of mind for beginners, September 14, 2012
By 
Philonous (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) (Paperback)
While I personally recommend Jaegwon Kim's introduction Philosophy of Mind to any readers who want a better understanding and familiarity with the field I also think that Feser's introduction is much more rudimentary, therefore "beginner's friendly". Kim's introduction, while comprehensive and clear, is still a pretty dense introduction but Feser's introduction has proven to be a lighter reading. This does not make Feser's introduction anymore inferior than the rest because the difficulty in writing an introduction of philosophy of mind to potential audience is communicating the philosophical problems in the way that the way general audience can understand. In respect to that purpose Feser does a pretty good job especially when Feser goes over the important arguments in philosophy of mind. He covers most of the important arguments from essential topics from perception to personal identity. I also think that one of the virtues of Feser's introduction is that it doesn't place materialism in an entirely favorable light as other philosophers usually do but also shows the problems with it; While it does feel as though Feser personally favors dualism he presented some critical arguments against both substance dualism and property dualism so neither the materialists nor dualists get any better treatment than each other. In the end all I can really conclude is that this book is a pretty decent introduction, I would recommend this first before recommending any books on philosophy of mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting!, January 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) (Paperback)
In my opinion this is a clear, balanced and understandable introductary book about "Philosophy of Mind".
I found that Feser's book took me, as a beginner, into many of the important parts of the field.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Philosophy of Mind, June 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) (Paperback)
I offer readers of this review a caveat: Much of this book is so profound that it is above me. What I did understand I found very insightful. Essentially, Professor Feser takes on the scientific materialism of the day in regard to that philosophy's absolute principle that all knowledge is nothing more than the inner workings of the brain. That is to say, there is no spiritual dimension, no spirit, no soul, no immaterial principle traditionally called the intellect and will. All knowledge can be explained by neural processes. One by one, Feser takes on these absolute principles of current philosophy and demolishes their ineffective efforts to explain such things as abstraction either by denying it, ignoring it, substituting arbitrary constructs, or relegating it to some function of some part of the brain. The more a reader is versed in current knowledge theory, the more he will derive from Professor Feser's book.

Much is at stake here if the current materialistic/neurological philosophy continues to prevail. Everything becomes no more than neural processes, conditioned by experience of course, but these experiences themselves are no more than neural processes. Culture, knowledge, morality, truth becomes no more than the alterations and processes of brain cells and there are no absolutes and no certainties about reality, only neural processes that are created and modified according to one's genetic makeup and experiences. Feser aptly shows that this is not reality, that the brain and its processes are an internal organ with which the intellect, that function of the spirit/soul/form (in the Aristotle-Aquinas sense of "form"), abstracts immaterial concepts from very material reality.

This book is not easy reading; it certainly is not a book that one should use to become acquainted with Aquinas' philosophy of knowledge. More knowledgeable people than I will derive a great deal more than I did. It helps no little to be at least a bit acquainted with present neural science.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide)
Philosophy of Mind (A Beginner's Guide) by Edward Feser (Paperback - October 20, 2006)
$14.95 $11.22
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.