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Self Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life (Philosophy of Mind) 1st Edition

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195096965
ISBN-10: 0195096967
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Marked by many sparkling insights."--The Modern Schoolman


"Owen Flanagan is as wise in matters of the Heart and Spirit as he is distinguished in matters of modern science and philosophical theory. These extraordinary essays set a new standard in the exploration of timeless human concerns--the nature and nurture of the self, the grounds of self worth and collective meaning--partly because Flanagan addresses them as they are illuminated by the nascent sciences of the mind-brain. This volume is a doorway into the moral reasoning of the 21st century. Most importantly, it brings hope, not despair. Enter, and join the new dialogue."--Paul M. Churchland, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego


"If God is Dead, what are we (our Selves) to do? In the Fear-and-Trembling tradition of Soren Kierkegaard, Owen Flanagan boldly expresses his Self!"--J. Allan Hobson, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School


"Any person who has a naturalistic view of human beings must face the fundamental question of how morality and meaning are possible in human life. Flanagan artfully weaves together work from the cognitive sciences, recent philosophical accounts of persons and value, and his own deep insights into what it means to live a human life. He constructs a scientifically and psychologically realistic account of personal identity that makes sense of human morality and the human quest for a life that has meaning and purpose."--Mark Johnson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oregon


From the Back Cover

What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place in a material world is there for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us? Why isn't everything allowed? In this trailblazing collection of essays on free will and the human mind, distinguished philosopher Owen Flanagan tackles these questions and more. He pursues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But he approaches this project from new angles, bringing in the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry. Flanagan covers a host of topics of concern to every thoughtful person living in today's world. These discussions include whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of people must lead to nihilism.
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Product Details

  • Series: Philosophy of Mind
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 25, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195096967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195096965
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,152,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kevin Currie-Knight VINE VOICE on July 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Flanagan is in the avant garde of a slowly growing branch in philosophy; those that use philosophy of mind to foray and forage into ethical theory. To me, the discilpine makes all too much sense. After all we have to have figured out (to some degree) who we are and how our selves are 'ourselves' before we can make many informed decisions on how we live.
The book remains very true to its subtitle. The first essays are very much on the mind (from a neurological and phychological standpoint. Warning: these essays repeat much of what Flanagan has written in "Consiousness Reconsidered" and subsequently in "Dreaming Souls". Of note are the essays "Is a science of the conscious mind possible" where Flanagan champions his brand of holism: taking the data from philosophy, psychology, neurology, evolutionary biology and possibly even religion. The mistake most pessimists make, Flanagan argues, is they ignore or discount the 'soft' sciences like psychology and philosophy and focus on the 'hard' ones. The problem is the 'hard' can answer the what quetions, but the 'soft' are the only ones that could possibly answer the 'why' and 'how'. Also of note is an essay on multiple personality disorder and how it is possible to have more than one self. Suprisingly, Flanagan suggests that we all, in a sense, have multiple selves - we are just better at integrating them so they are more like 'sub-selves'.
The next bit focuses on morality. Of note here is an essay called "I remember you" about the risky businesss of recovering memory. Flanagan, unsuprisingly, shows that it is rare that a memory will recall how the event actually was, but, that usually they embelish themselves a little.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Flanagan is in the avant garde of a slowly growing branch in philosophy; those that use philosophy of mind to foray and forage into ethical theory. To me, the discilpine makes all too much sense. After all we have to have figured out (to some degree) who we are and how our selves are 'ourselves' before we can make many informed decisions on how we live.
The book remains very true to its subtitle. The first essays are very much on the mind (from a neurological and phychological standpoint. Warning: these essays repeat much of what Flanagan has written in "Consiousness Reconsidered" and subsequently in "Dreaming Souls". Of note are the essays "Is a science of the conscious mind possible" where Flanagan champions his brand of holism: taking the data from philosophy, psychology, neurology, evolutionary biology and possibly even religion. The mistake most pessimists make, Flanagan argues, is they ignore or discount the 'soft' sciences like psychology and philosophy and focus on the 'hard' ones. The problem is the 'hard' can answer the what quetions, but the 'soft' are the only ones that could possibly answer the 'why' and 'how'. Also of note is an essay on multiple personality disorder and how it is possible to have more than one self. Suprisingly, Flanagan suggests that we all, in a sense, have multiple selves - we are just better at integrating them so they are more like 'sub-selves'.
The next bit focuses on morality. Of note here is an essay called "I remember you" about the risky businesss of recovering memory. Flanagan, unsuprisingly, shows that it is rare that a memory will recall how the event actually was, but, that usually they embelish themselves a little.
Read more ›
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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