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Philosophy of Mind

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In Matter and Consciousness, Paul Churchland presents a concise and contemporary overview of the philosophical issues surrounding the mind and explains the main theories and philosophical positions that have been proposed to solve them. Making the case for the relevance of theoretical and experimental results in neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence for the philosophy of mind, Churchland reviews current developments in the cognitive sciences and offers a clear and accessible account of the connections to philosophy of mind.

For this third edition, the text has been updated and revised throughout. The changes range from references to the iPhone's "Siri" to expanded discussions of the work of such contemporary philosophers as David Chalmers, John Searle, and Thomas Nagel. Churchland describes new research in evolution, genetics, and visual neuroscience, among other areas, arguing that the philosophical significance of these new findings lies in the support they tend to give to the reductive and eliminative versions of materialism.

Matter and Consciousness, written by the most distinguished theorist and commentator in the field, offers an authoritative summary and sourcebook for issues in philosophy of mind. It is suitable for use as an introductory undergraduate text.

This introduction to the interdisciplinary study of cognition takes the novel approach of bringing several disciplines to bear on the subject of communication. Using the perspectives of linguistics, logic, AI, philosophy, and psychology—the component fields of cognitive science—to explore topics in human communication in depth, the book shows readers and students from any background how these disciplines developed their distinctive views, and how those views interact.

The book introduces some sample phenomena of human communication that illustrate the approach of cognitive science in understanding the mind, and then considers theoretical issues, including the relation of logic and computation and the concept of representation. It describes the development of a model of natural language and explores the link between an utterance and its meaning and how this can be described in a formal way on the basis of recent advances in AI research. It looks at communication employing graphical messages and the similarities and differences between language and diagrams. Finally, the book considers some general philosophical critiques of computational models of mind.

The book can be used at a number of different levels. A glossary, suggestions for further reading, and a Web site with multiple-choice questions are provided for nonspecialist students; advanced students can supplement the material with readings that take the topics into greater depth.

Classical Problems/Contemporary Issues

The Philosophy of Mind remains the only sourcebook of primary readings offering in-depth coverage of both historical works and contemporary controversies in philosophy of mind. This second edition provides expanded treatment of classical as well as current topics, with many additional readings and a new section on mental content. The writers included range from Aristotle, Descartes, and William James to such leading contemporary thinkers as Noam Chomsky, Paul and Patricia Churchland, and Jaegwon Kim. The 83 selections provide a thorough survey of five areas of enduring controversy: the mind-body problem, mental causation, mental content, innatism and modularity, and associationism and connectionism. Each section includes an introductory overview of the topic by the editors as well as suggestions for further reading.

The selections added for the second edition serve both to enhance historical coverage and to update contemporary issues, especially in areas of current empirical research such as connectionism and innatism. Changes to historical coverage include a wider array of readings on classic positions as well as neglected precursors to views often considered recent innovations. The section on the mind-body problem in particular has been greatly expanded, including numerous selections on consciousness and phenomenal qualities (qualia). The book is ideal for both undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy and the history of psychology and will be useful both as a reference for researchers and a self-contained survey for the general reader.

Introduction to Cognitive Science

Cognitive science approaches the study of mind and intelligence from an interdisciplinary perspective, working at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. With Mind, Paul Thagard offers an introduction to this interdisciplinary field for readers who come to the subject with very different backgrounds. It is suitable for classroom use by students with interests ranging from computer science and engineering to psychology and philosophy.

Thagard's systematic descriptions and evaluations of the main theories of mental representation advanced by cognitive scientists allow students to see that there are many complementary approaches to the investigation of mind. The fundamental theoretical perspectives he describes include logic, rules, concepts, analogies, images, and connections (artificial neural networks). The discussion of these theories provides an integrated view of the different achievements of the various fields of cognitive science.

This second edition includes substantial revision and new material. Part I, which presents the different theoretical approaches, has been updated in light of recent work the field. Part II, which treats extensions to cognitive science, has been thoroughly revised, with new chapters added on brains, emotions, and consciousness. Other additions include a list of relevant Web sites at the end of each chapter and a glossary at the end of the book. As in the first edition, each chapter concludes with a summary and suggestions for further reading.

Edited by York Gunther

According to the widespread conceptualist view, all mental contents are governed by concepts an individual possesses. In recent years, however, an increasing number of philosophers have argued for the indispensability of nonconceptual content based on perceptual, emotional, and qualitative experiences; informational and computational states; memory; and practical knowledge. Writers from disciplines as varied as the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, epistemology, linguistics, religious psychology, and aesthetics have challenged conceptualism.

This book offers some of the most important work on nonconceptual content in the philosophy of mind and psychology. Part 1 presents influential positions that have helped to shape the contemporary debate. Part 2 focuses on arguments informed specifically by the naturalization of intentionality or the characterization of computational structure. Part 3 offers various attempts at motivating the need for nonconceptual content based on experiential phenomena such as perception, emotion, and memory. Part 4 considers whether nonconceptual content can be used to explain the behavior of entities lacking conceptual capacities in addition to the actions of individuals possessing concepts.

Studies in Neurophilosophy

Progress in the neurosciences is profoundly changing our conception of ourselves. Contrary to time-honored intuition, the mind turns out to be a complex of brain functions. And contrary to the wishful thinking of some philosophers, there is no stemming the revolutionary impact that brain research will have on our understanding of how the mind works.

Brain-Wise is the sequel to Patricia Smith Churchland's Neurophilosophy, the book that launched a subfield. In a clear, conversational manner, this book examines old questions about the nature of the mind within the new framework of the brain sciences. What, it asks, is the neurobiological basis of consciousness, the self, and free choice? How does the brain learn about the external world and about its own introspective world? What can neurophilosophy tell us about the basis and significance of religious and moral experiences?

Drawing on results from research at the neuronal, neurochemical, system, and whole-brain levels, the book gives an up-to-date perspective on the state of neurophilosophy—what we know, what we do not know, and where things may go from here.

A Philosophical Introduction

This is the only contemporary text to cover both epistemology and philosophy of mind at an introductory level. It also serves as a general introduction to philosophy: it discusses the nature and methods of philosophy as well as basic logical tools of the trade.

The book is divided into three parts. The first focuses on knowledge, in particular, skepticism and knowledge of the external world, and knowledge of language. The second focuses on mind, including the metaphysics of mind and freedom of will. The third brings together knowledge and mind, discussing knowledge of mind (other minds and our own) and naturalism and how epistemology and philosophy of mind come together in contemporary cognitive science. Throughout, the authors take into account the needs of the beginning philosophy student. They have made very effort to ensure accessibility while preserving accuracy.

Philosophical Essays

A great deal of interest and excitement surround the interface between the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of psychology, yet the area is neither well defined nor well represented in mainstream philosophical publications. This book is perhaps the first to open a dialogue between the two disciplines. Its aim is to broaden the traditional subject matter of the philosophy of biology while informing the philosophy of psychology of relevant biological constraints and insights.

The book is organized around six themes: functions and teleology, evolutionary psychology, innateness, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and parallels between philosophy of biology and philosophy of mind. Throughout, one finds overlapping areas of study, larger philosophical implications, and even larger conceptual ties. Woven through these connections are shared concerns about the status of semantics, scientific law, evolution and adaptation, and cognition in general.

Contributors:
André Ariew, Mark A. Bedau, David J. Buller, Paul Sheldon Davies, Stephen M. Downes, Charbel Niño El-Hani, Owen Flanagan, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Todd Grantham, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Gary Hatfield, Daniel W. McShea, Karen Neander, Shaun Nichols, Antonio Marcos Pereira, Tom Polger, Lawrence A. Shapiro, Kim Sterelny, Robert A. Wilson, William C. Wimsatt.

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language


What is language? How does it relate to the world? How does it relate to the mind? Should our view of language influence our view of the world? These are among the central issues covered in this spirited and unusually clear introduction to the philosophy of language.

Making no pretense of neutrality, Michael Devitt and Kim Sterelny take a definite theoretical stance. Central to that stance is naturalism—that is, they treat a philosophical theory of language as an empirical theory like any other and see people as nothing but complex parts of the physical world. This leads them, controversially, to a deflationary view of the significance of the study of language: they dismiss the idea that the philosophy of language should be preeminent in philosophy.

This highly successful textbook has been extensively rewritten for the second edition to reflect recent developments in the field.


It is now clear that the brain is unlikely to be understood without recourse to computational theories. The theme of An Introduction to Natural Computation is that ideas from diverse areas such as neuroscience, information theory, and optimization theory have recently been extended in ways that make them useful for describing the brain's programs. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the computational material that forms the underpinnings of the currently evolving set of brain models. It stresses the broad spectrum of learning models—ranging from neural network learning through reinforcement learning to genetic learning—and situates the various models in their appropriate neural context.

To write about models of the brain before the brain is fully understood is a delicate matter. Very detailed models of the neural circuitry risk losing track of the task the brain is trying to solve. At the other extreme, models that represent cognitive constructs can be so abstract that they lose all relationship to neurobiology. An Introduction to Natural Computation takes the middle ground and stresses the computational task while staying near the neurobiology.

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