- Paperback: 440 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 20, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199556199
- ISBN-13: 978-0199556199
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.2 x 6.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Waning of Materialism 1st Edition
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About the Author
Robert C. Koons is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin. Koons studied at Michigan State, Oxford, and UCLA. He is the author of Paradoxes of Belief and Strategic Rationality (Cambridge, 1993), and Realism Regained (OUP, 2000). George Bealer is Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. He is the author of Quality and Concept (OUP, 1982).
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Top customer reviews
Arguably the leading problem in the philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences is the so-called mind-body problem. That is, how do mental phenomena such as intentions and beliefs hook up to physical phenomena such as bodies and brains? Responses to this question have traditionally been framed in terms of monism or dualism. Monism - the claim that reality is composed of one substance and, dualism - the claim that it is composed of two substances. These views in turn are further divided. Monism into physicalism/materialism (the fundamental substance is physical), idealism (the fundamental substance is mental) and neutral monism (the physical and mental reduce to some more fundamental substance); while dualism is bifurcated into substance dualism (the mental and the physical are distinct and irreducible substances) and property dualism (the mental and physical are different qualities of one underlying substance - normally the physical). Physicalist/materialist theories of the mind can be further sub-divided into the reductive (e.g. identity theory) and non-reductive (e.g. emergence theories). The essays in this collection are grouped in four areas (the on-line table of contents is not available at the time of writing):
1. Argument from consciousness
2. Arguments from unity and identity
3. Arguments from intentionality, mental causation and knowledge
4. Alternatives to Materialism
The following comments are offered for potential purchasers/readers. While I generally enjoyed the text its title is potentially misleading. Though the essays, as the title suggests, are centered on the diminishing popularity of materialist theories of mind; the type of materialism criticized in the majority of the contributions is old-style reductive materialism, e.g. identity theory and certain forms of functionalism. Indeed, rather, than opposing materialism in general many of the contributors posit some form of non-reductive materialism (emergence or property dualism) as the most promising avenue for resolving the mind-body problem. Though not uninteresting reductive materialism has been a dead horse for decades in the philosophy of mind, and as such many of the papers cover well trodden ground. Regarding the quality of the specific essays, I found them to be a mixed bag. I particularly enjoyed the contributions by Hasker, Jubien, Bonjour and Lefyow, while I found some of the others essays to be marked by obscure and cumbersome language.
For readers interested in the philosophy of mind and cognitive studies I recommend David Chalmers ed. `Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings' and Max Velmans and Susan Schneider eds. `The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness'. Readers new to this subject may also appreciate some of the excellent introductory courses available through itunes. UC Berkeley has a couple of courses by Searle and Campbell that are especially noteworthy.
Overall, while a solid collection of essays, it is likely of interest to a limited audience.