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Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

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Conversations between Buddhism and Neuroscience

Buddhism shares with science the task of examining the mind empirically; it has pursued, for two millennia, direct investigation of the mind through penetrating introspection. Neuroscience, on the other hand, relies on third-person knowledge in the form of scientific observation. In this book, Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk trained as a molecular biologist, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist—close friends, continuing an ongoing dialogue—offer their perspectives on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, epistemology, meditation, and neuroplasticity.

Contextualizing Relationships and Development

It is generally acknowledged that attachment relationships are important for infants and young children, but there is little clarity on what exactly constitutes such a relationship. Does it occur between two individuals (infant–mother or infant–father) or in an extended network? In the West, monotropic attachment appears to function as a secure foundation for infants, but is this true in other cultures? This volume offers perspectives from a range of disciplines on these questions.

Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology

When Brainstorms was published in 1978, the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science was just emerging. Daniel Dennett was a young scholar who wanted to get philosophers out of their armchairs—and into conversations with psychologists, linguists, computer scientists. This collection of seventeen essays by Dennett offers a comprehensive theory of mind, encompassing traditional issues of consciousness and free will. Using careful arguments and ingenious thought experiments, the author exposes familiar preconceptions and hobbling intuitions.

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) show a significant deficit in spoken language that cannot be attributed to neurological damage, hearing impairment, or intellectual disability. More prevalent than autism and at least as prevalent as dyslexia, SLI affects approximately seven percent of all children; it is longstanding, with adverse effects on academic, social, and (eventually) economic standing.

Psychiatric Illness, Intentionality, and the Interpersonal World

In Real Hallucinations, Matthew Ratcliffe offers a philosophical examination of the structure of human experience, its vulnerability to disruption, and how it is shaped by relations with other people. He focuses on the seemingly simple question of how we manage to distinguish among our experiences of perceiving, remembering, imagining, and thinking.

In Panpsychism in the West, the first comprehensive study of the subject, David Skrbina argues for the importance of panpsychism—the theory that mind exists, in some form, in all living and nonliving things—in consideration of the nature of consciousness and mind. Panpsychism, with its conception of mind as a general phenomenon of nature, uniquely links being and mind. More than a theory of mind, it is a meta-theory—a statement about theories of mind rather than a theory in itself.

A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Over the past decade, an explosion of empirical research in a variety of fields has allowed us to understand human moral sensibility as a sophisticated integration of cognitive, emotional, and motivational mechanisms shaped through evolution, development, and culture. Evolutionary biologists have shown that moral cognition evolved to aid cooperation; developmental psychologists have demonstrated that the elements that underpin morality are in place much earlier than we thought; and social neuroscientists have begun to map brain circuits implicated in moral decision making.

How the Brain Created Experience

How is consciousness created? When did it first appear on Earth, and how did it evolve? What constitutes consciousness, and which animals can be said to be sentient? In this book, Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt draw on recent scientific findings to answer these questions—and to tackle the most fundamental question about the nature of consciousness: how does the material brain create subjective experience?

Basic Minds without Content

Most of what humans do and experience is best understood in terms of dynamically unfolding interactions with the environment. Many philosophers and cognitive scientists now acknowledge the critical importance of situated, environment-involving embodied engagements as a means of understanding basic minds—including basic forms of human mentality. Yet many of these same theorists hold fast to the view that basic minds are necessarily or essentially contentful—that they represent conditions the world might be in.

Scientists were unable to study the relation of brain to mind until the invention of technologies that measured the brain activity accompanying psychological processes. Yet even with these new tools, conclusions are tentative or simply wrong.

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