Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self (The Terry Lectures Series) Paperback – June 28, 2011
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Robinson's new nonfiction work is drawn from her 2009 Terry lectures at Yale. More precisely, they are "lectures on religion in the light of science and philosophy." The charge is ambitious, and Robinson brings to the task a suitably wide-ranging perspective. She takes aim at the modern scholarly propensity to debunk, a practice she calls "flawed learnedness." It pitches out the babies of human insight with the bathwater of the past, preferring what she calls "parascience," a kind of pseudoscience that prizes certainty. This "parascience" is a latecomer in human thought, the product of only the last 150 years or so. Because it closes off questions, it's not even scientific. Nor does it allow space for the human mind and all the mind has produced in history and civilization. This is heady stuff that will particularly appeal to those familiar with the history of ideas and the many thinkers she cites, and to anyone willing to ponder broadly and humanistically about imponderable matters. Those who savor Robinson's clear prose will also be gratified; her mind, in thought, is elegant.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"'Robinson makes the case with exceptional elegance and authority - the authority not only of one of the unmistakably great novelists of the age but of a clear and logical mind that is wholly intolerant of intellectual cliche... This book has a greater density (and sophistication) of argument than many three times its length; but it is one of the most significant contributions yet to the current quarrels about faith, science and rationality.' (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Daily Telegraph) 'I'm enjoying arguing and agreeing with Marilynne Robinson's Absence of Mind.' (Zadie Smith, The Observer) 'Robinson's argument is prophetic, profound, eloquent, succinct, powerful and timely.' (Karen Armstrong, The Guardian) 'I have barely scratched the surface of this dense and yet endlessly entertaining little book. Marilynne Robinson is herself the best evidence of her own thesis - the exceptional mystery of the human mind'. (Bryan Appleyard, Literary Review) 'I enjoyed reading Absence of Mind. The reason: it is always a pleasure to keep company with a person who takes ideas seriously.' (Siri Hustvedt, Financial Times) 'Robinson is one of the greatest Christian thinkers alive today... Absence of Mind is a slim but compelling volume.' (Luke Coppen, Catholic Herald)"
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
What a great soul, great heart, and great mind this woman is. Frankly, it feels a little odd to be critiquing her in an Amazon review, yet here we are. Briefly, in these lectures, Mrs. Robinson takes on what she views as contemporary disregard for the soul, the felt life, the antiquities, and their importance to a balanced view of culture and history. In other words, she states a good case on behalf of just about anything that a quasi-empirical, western academia is attempting to marginalize, or failing that, simply choosing to ignore in order to justify the prescriptive, and often narrowly defined subtexts of "objectivity" and "skepticism" under which it labors. So that was a horrible sentence.
In other words, why can I not shake the feeling that it was only after hearing this lecture from Mrs. Robinson that Richard Dawkins stopped calling himself an atheist? Simply put: she addresses the odd, and mostly recent, inclination of academicians in the hard sciences to wander outside their areas of specialization to speculate on matters that don't fit their expertise. Biologists, resolute in their dedication to what is measurable, suddenly commenting on God. Linguists who chime in on 'delusional' people of faith, though the linguists don't seem to know anything about the context, culture, or the texts from which that faith is drawn. Physicists frustrated over whether they'll ever finally be able to falsify a hypothesis dealing with dark matter or whether they'll just have to content themselves with telling people, sans irony, 'You can't see it, and we can't show it to you, but it's there. Read these canonical, mathematical formulas and Believe!' My example, not Marilynne's: He's a brilliant physicist, but when he opens his yap to wax metaphysical, Larry Krauss is a dilettante. And a poorly-read one to boot.
Ranging from a practical commentary on cosmology drawn from to-the-moment quantum studies to scathing critiques of the too-frequent absence of intellectual rigor in the work of (insert the name of your favorite post-enlightenment multi-disciplinary intellectual superstar here), Marilynne's is a hard lesson writ large: the bulk of modernist/rationalist (Darwin, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, Skinner) formulations are profoundly irreconcilable with one another, EXCEPT in their joined disdain of things spiritual. A conclusion that, as Marilynne illustrates, "clearly exists in anticipation of its various justifications".
Pro-hoc thinking from professional scientists. Go figure. And you thought the silliness which is logical positivism was long ago molderin' in the grave.
Before you accuse her of being 'anti-scientific', put down your epithet of choice and step away from your insistence on the observable, and look at Marilynne Robinson as just another person looking for answers in a complex world. A world filled with all kinds of things we can see and measure and figure out, and likely, all kinds of things we can't.
A brilliant, decent, and elegant thinker. With a mind and a soul.