Customer Reviews: Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings
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on January 5, 2008
I want to start by saying that I highly recommend this for a scientific audience. Before starting the book I felt a bit like I was going into enemy territory. I didn't want to hear about Chalmers' dualistic views. I didn't want to get convinced by them. I'm a scientist for crying out loud!

This compilation gave me exactly what I was looking for. A balanced view with articles written by the luminaries in the field. Ideas and concepts that philosophers usually throw around as a matter of fact are clearly explained by the people who actually coined these very ideas.

It was surprisingly accessible for a non-philosopher, although some sections did get a little technical, so I had to skip them. But this didn't break the flow of the book or hinder the understanding of other articles.

Chalmers gives great introductions to every section in the book, so you never lose track of the development of different ideas and how they stand with respect to each other.

Finally, after learning so much (and even though it goes against Chalmers' own ideas) I am a much more confident materialist (Type A ;)
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on May 5, 2005
This is a fantastic collection compiled by David Chalmers, one of the leading philosophers of mind today. The best papers in here are "Quining Qualia" and " True Believers: The Intentional Strategy and Why It Works" by Dan Dennett, "The Rediscovery of Light" by Paul Churchland (all you hard-problemers out there should be forced to read at least the ending section of this paper), "What Experience Teaches" by David Lewis, "Sensations and Brain Processes" by J.J.C. Smart, "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?", and a good excerpt from "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" by Wilfrid Sellars. Non-reductive materialists and property dualists also will like this book as they are represented as well with papers from the likes of Jackson (classical paper of his is included in which he expounds the knowledge argument, "Epiphenomenal Qualia") Mcginn, Nagel, Block, Levine, and of course Chalmers himself. All in all this is a fair sampling of the competing views in the Philosophy of Mind.
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on September 9, 2012
I am a computer science professor by trade, and my area of interest is artificial intelligence. This book served as the primary text for a course on the philosophy of mind that I took while I was in graduate school. This was my first experience with the world of philosophy. This is a first rate text on the subject.

From past studies of AI/CS, cognitive science, and psychology I can tell that this is an important volume. This is a collection of studies of the philosophy of mind, it is a very self-contained read. This is an important feature of this book; it assumes little to no prior knowledge about philosophy. This book was edited by David Chalmers, and is comprised of over 60 essays from prominent philosophers spanning hundreds of years.

The treatment reads much like any thorough text on psychology would. You are not just reading about the current state of the field. The book starts from the beginning--the very beginning. The first chapters start with Rene Descartes (1600s) and Thomas Huxley (1800s). This book takes you through a number of phases of the philosophy of mind. Those who are familiar with the history of psychology will find some common ground in behaviorism, functionalism, and a number of the important questions that are grappled with over the course of the book. When read sequentially you will see how various theories are established, argued, and later refuted (or at least argued against) in later work. More contemporary works include John Searle's "Can computers think?", an essay that you may have encountered in a modern course on artificial intelligence.

This is a good read for those who are interested in AI, psychology, or cognitive science. While I hardly claim to be an expert in the field of philosophy of mind, there are a lot of interesting questions that I have grappled with in the past. There are also a number of question that hadn't occurred to me in the past given that I was trained as a scientist, and not a philosopher.

The author has even remarked that there will eventually be a companion piece on the philosophy of science. I am excited about the prospect of this companion, and look forward to studying the two volumes together in the future.
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on August 23, 2015
I required this book for a college course on this topic. I did not major in philosophy so it was a bit of a challenge to read at times. However, my professor often mentioned how it is a great selection of excerpts. I wished I would have found out earlier that there are summaries on each of the types of philosophical thinking (e.g., physicalism, behaviorism, dualism, etc.) BEFORE each of the corresponding sections. So if you are a student who is not a philosophy major and you need to read this book, I strongly advise you to read those summaries because I think they are very helpful with understanding the texts! :)
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on January 22, 2014
This is amazing and fascinating but if I didn't have my study guides I wouldn't have a clue. Still reading it and my mind is being expanded :-)
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on February 23, 2014
A book written by philosophers for philosophers. Very dense reading, especially for a beginning student. Lots of jargon - keep a dictionary close at hand.
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on February 17, 2015
Obviously a great collection, recommend to anyone considering it.
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on February 4, 2016
All went well. No problems
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on March 23, 2013
How can we really know that this is a great book? Is it possible that I imagined the whole thing? Maybe your experience will match my own, but it could be colored by our divergent paths.
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on September 2, 2015
I received the wrong book.
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