Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again
291 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: January 23, 1998
- Published: November 15, 1996
Brain, body, and world are united in a complex dance of circular causation and extended computational activity. In Being There, Andy Clark weaves these several threads into a pleasing whole and goes on to address foundational questions concerning the new tools and techniques needed to make sense of the emerging sciences of the embodied mind. Clark brings together ideas and techniques from robotics, neuroscience, infant psychology, and artificial intelligence. He addresses a broad range of adaptive behaviors, from cockroach locomotion to the role of linguistic artifacts in higher-level thought.
Bradford Books imprint
Clarks' book is a very good read. Its major strength is that it provides an easily accessible introduction to some of the hottest approaches in the 'science of mind'—neural network research, embodied cognition, autonomous agent robotics. What makes these approaches hot and novel has to do with the fact that they are radical, but already showing their promise in practice. Clark is a first-rate thinker, always at the cutting edge, able to synthesize seemingly disparate ideas, and, most importantly, able to make us think about the 'mind' in new and better ways.
Owen Flanagan, Professor of Philosophy, Psychology, and Neurobiology, and Chair of Philosophy, Duke University
Being There develops Clark's vision of the present and future of cognitive science. It moves ahead of the current state of the field to anticipate the next stages of cognitive science, a science of the embodied mind, and mind embedded in the world. An excellent and unique book.
Dan Lloyd, Department of Philosophy, Trinity College
This is Andy Clark's best book yet. It is a fast-moving but highly accessible synthesis of several of the most radical and cutting-edge research programs within cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. As a wise summary alone, it would be welcome to readers in a half-dozen academic disciplines. But Clark—ever just, ever patient—knits the work together into a coherent unity. It is a fertile and compelling vision, and a real intellectual achievement.
Paul M. Churchland, Professor, Department of Philosophy; Institute for Neural Computation; Cognitive Science Program; and Science Studies Program, University of California, San Diego
Andy Clark's Being There is a beautifully written, very accessible roadmap to the shifting territory of contemporary cognitive science. He weaves a clear, unifying vision of cognitive science of truly impressive scope, giving coherent shape to the many changes happening in the disparate parts of the field. This is a must-read book for every researcher and student in every corner of the cognitive science.
Edwin Hutchins, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego, and author of Cognition in the Wild
In Being There, Andy Clark explores the nature of consciousness and intelligence in a refreshingly new light. Discarding the Cartesian dualism of mind and body, he fashions an interactive view of intelligent action that forces us to see the brain as situated not only in the body's complex physiological environment, but also in the real world of phsyical entities and complex situations to which it must continually respond. In short, he presents a view of consciousness of a process of constant feedback loops between the brain, the body, and the material world in which the organism—including overselves—lives.
Garland E. Allen, Professor of Biology, Washington University
'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' sounds good to lots of cognitive scientists, but not to Andy Clark. In Being There, he argues that today's cognitive science indeed is broken: by neglecting body and world, it has paid the price of having to do too much with too little. Clark's fix is to recouple a dynamic brain to its body and world. He leads us on a magical mystery tour of a new research landscape populated by artificial termites, Tetris-playing humans, and many other wondrous beings.
William Bechtel, Editor, Philsophical Psychology
Writing in highly readable and entertaining style, Andy Clark gives his perspective on key developments in the science of mind over the last decade, and offers his own compelling arguments for how further research should proceed. This very enjoyable book should be essential reading, and deserves to become a classic.
Dave Cliff, University of Sussex
When people think about thinking, they often think of Rodin's Thinker: an individual in quiet contemplation. Even cognitive scientists fall into this trap; too often, they view thinking as an isolated mental function. This book provides a much richer and more accurate image. Clark's Thinker thinks through action and interaction with the environment, combining brain with body and world.
Mitchel Resnick, Associate Professor, MIT Media Laboratory
Clark's book is an excellent introduction to this new movement in cognitive science. It is clear, wide ranging, well informed, and full of fascinating examples. And, unusually, it manages to be both eminently sensible and highly provocative.
Margaret A. Boden