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The Physiology and Phenomenology of Action Hardcover – October 15, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0199547883 ISBN-10: 0199547882 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199547882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199547883
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,481,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By neuroexistentialist on January 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A neuroscientist and a philosopher get together and attempt to integrate phenomenological descriptions of action with physiological descriptions of the same.

A few points in its favor:
* Good formulation of the dilemma that has led to the effort to integrate phenomenological and scientific descriptions of experience.
* A sensitivity to both philosophical and scientific audiences.
* A thorough outlining of a borderline novel approach to the issue.

A few criticisms:
* Fire the editor and the translator. This book could have been half as long and the sentences half as labored and awkward.
* Better phenomenology and much better physiology (not to mention with much more clarity) in Berthoz's solo effort The Brain's Sense of Movement.
* Consistent equivocation. For example, the concept of anticipation -- central to the thesis of the book -- is referred to as a mode of being and as a necessary precursor to all modes of being and/or perception.
* They display the irritating tendency to attribute the phenomenological insights developed by others to Husserl. For one, Merleau-Ponty (who graciously gave much credit to Husserl for inspiring insights that were probably better attributed to Heidegger) is absolutely abused.

In spite of the weaknesses, I still recommend it for those who are interested in these kinds of questions. It is a step in the right direction.

For slightly better results from the philosopher/neuroscientist formula, see Ways of Seeing (Jacob/Jeannerod) and What Makes Us Think (Changeux/Ricoeur).
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