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What is a Human Being?: A Heideggerian View (Modern European Philosophy) [Paperback]

Frederick A. Olafson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 28, 1995 0521479371 978-0521479370
This broad, ambitious study is about human nature--treated in a way quite different from the scientific account that influences so much of contemporary philosophy. Drawing on certain basic ideas of Heidegger, the author presents an alternative to the debate waged between dualists and materialists in the philosophy of mind that involves reconceiving the way we usually think about "mental" life. Olafson argues that familiar contrasts between the "physical" and the "psychological" break down under closer scrutiny. They need to be replaced by a conception of human being in which we are not entities compounded out of body and mind, but unitary entities that are distinguished by "having a world," which is very different from simply being a part of the world.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book involves an admirable attempt to find a common ground with physicalist theories of human nature by phenomonological descriptions of knowing, feeling, and acting that dissolve mentalism. At the same time, it criticizes physicalist theories via a kind of transcendental argument since such theories overlook while presupposing the phenomenon of presence. Thus it draws well on the traditions of descriptive and transcendental phenomenology." Michael Barber, the Modern Schoolman

Book Description

Drawing on certain basic ideas of Heidegger, this text presents an alternative to the debate waged between dualists and materialists in the philosophy of mind. It involves changing the way we usually think about "mental" life and breaking down familiar contrasts between the "physical" and the "psychological."

Product Details

  • Series: Modern European Philosophy
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (July 28, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521479371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521479370
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,069,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
A valuable and complex critique of basic assumptions that tacitly underlie standard psychological frameworks--the inside/outside distinction, "mind" as "containing" representations, etc. The critique is also extended to orthodox views of language and to widely accepted physicalist views on the mind-body problem. Less successful is his constructive proposal for alternative approaches. The critique, however, is invaluable on its own and will repay careful repeated reading and study. It is not an easy read, certainly not the first or second time through, but well worth an extended effort. I have lived with this book for some years now and continue to profit from revisiting it.
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