Evan Thompson

Evan Thompson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia and author of Waking, Dreaming, Being.

  • The Embodied Mind, Revised Edition

    The Embodied Mind, Revised Edition

    Cognitive Science and Human Experience

    Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch

    A new edition of a classic work that originated the “embodied cognition” movement and was one of the first to link science and Buddhist practices.

    This classic book, first published in 1991, was one of the first to propose the “embodied cognition” approach in cognitive science. It pioneered the connections between phenomenology and science and between Buddhist practices and science—claims that have since become highly influential. Through this cross-fertilization of disparate fields of study, The Embodied Mind introduced a new form of cognitive science called “enaction,” in which both the environment and first person experience are aspects of embodiment. However, enactive embodiment is not the grasping of an independent, outside world by a brain, a mind, or a self; rather it is the bringing forth of an interdependent world in and through embodied action. Although enacted cognition lacks an absolute foundation, the book shows how that does not lead to either experiential or philosophical nihilism. Above all, the book's arguments were powered by the conviction that the sciences of mind must encompass lived human experience and the possibilities for transformation inherent in human experience.

    This revised edition includes substantive introductions by Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch that clarify central arguments of the work and discuss and evaluate subsequent research that has expanded on the themes of the book, including the renewed theoretical and practical interest in Buddhism and mindfulness. A preface by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the originator of the mindfulness-based stress reduction program, contextualizes the book and describes its influence on his life and work.

    • Paperback $30.00 £24.00
  • Vision and Mind

    Vision and Mind

    Selected Readings in the Philosophy of Perception

    Alva Nöe and Evan Thompson

    The philosophy of perception is a microcosm of the metaphysics of mind. Its central problems—What is perception? What is the nature of perceptual consciousness? How can one fit an account of perceptual experience into a broader account of the nature of the mind and the world?—are at the heart of metaphysics. Rather than try to cover all of the many strands in the philosophy of perception, this book focuses on a particular orthodoxy about the nature of visual perception.

    The central problem for visual science has been to explain how the brain bridges the gap between what is given to the visual system and what is actually experienced by the perceiver. The orthodox view of perception is that it is a process whereby the brain, or a dedicated subsystem of the brain, builds up representations of relevant figures of the environment on the basis of information encoded by the sensory receptors. Most adherents of the orthodox view also believe that for every conscious perceptual state of the subject, there is a particular set of neurons whose activities are sufficient for the occurrence of that state. Some of the essays in this book defend the orthodoxy; most criticize it; and some propose alternatives to it. Many of the essays are classics.

    Contributors G.E.M. Anscombe, Dana Ballard, Daniel Dennett, Fred Dretske, Jerry Fodor, H.P. Grice, David Marr, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Zenon Pylyshyn, Paul Snowdon, and P.F. Strawson

    • Hardcover $100.00 £68.95
    • Paperback $51.00 £40.00
  • The Embodied Mind

    The Embodied Mind

    Cognitive Science and Human Experience

    Francisco J. Varela, Eleanor Rosch, and Evan Thompson

    The Embodied Mind provides a unique, sophisticated treatment of the spontaneous and reflective dimension of human experience. The authors argue that only by having a sense of common ground between mind in Science and mind in experience can our understanding of cognition be more complete. Toward that end, they develop a dialogue between cognitive science and Buddhist meditative psychology and situate it in relation to other traditions such as phenomenology and psychoanalysis.

    • Hardcover $25.00 £18.95
    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00

Contributor

  • Open MIND, 2-vol. set

    Open MIND, 2-vol. set

    Philosophy and the Mind Sciences in the 21st Century

    Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer M. Windt

    A unique interdisciplinary collection of papers and commentaries by leading researchers and rising scholars, representing the latest research on consciousness, mind, and brain.

    This collection offers the most comprehensive collection on consciousness, brain, and mind available. It gathers 39 original papers by leaders in the field followed by commentaries written by emerging scholars and replies by the original paper's authors. Taken together, the papers, commentaries, and replies provide a cross-section of cutting-edge research in philosophy and cognitive science. Open MIND is an experiment in both interdisciplinary and intergenerational scholarship.

    Open MIND grows out of the MIND Group, an independent, international body of young philosophers and scientists with a strong interest in the mind, consciousness, and cognition. The original and supporting materials are available online at open-mind.net.

    Authors include Michael L. Anderson, Andreas Bartels, Tim Bayne, Christian Beyer, Ned Block, Paul M. Churchland, Andy Clark, Carl S. Craver, Holk Cruse, Daniel C. Dennett, Jérôme Dokic, Chris Eliasmith, Kathinka Evers, Vittorio Gallese, Philip Gerrans, Rick Grush, John-Dylan Haynes, Heiko Hecht, J. Allan Hobson, Jakob Hohwy, Pierre Jacob, J. Scott Jordan, Victor Lamme, Bigna Lenggenhager, Caleb Liang, Richard Menary, Albert Newen, Alva Noë, Gerard O'Brien, Elisabeth Pacherie, Jesse Prinz, Joëlle Proust, Antti Revonsuo, Adina Roskies, Jonathan Schooler, Anil K. Seth, Wolf Singer, Evan Thompson, Ursula Voss, Kenneth Williford

    • Hardcover $285.00 £220.00
  • Enaction

    Enaction

    Toward a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science

    John Stewart, Olivier Gapenne, and Ezequiel A. Di Paolo

    A comprehensive presentation of an approach that proposes a new account of cognition at levels from the cellular to the social.

    This book presents the framework for a new, comprehensive approach to cognitive science. The proposed paradigm, enaction, offers an alternative to cognitive science's classical, first-generation Computational Theory of Mind (CTM). Enaction, first articulated by Varela, Thompson, and Rosch in The Embodied Mind (MIT Press, 1991), breaks from CTM's formalisms of information processing and symbolic representations to view cognition as grounded in the sensorimotor dynamics of the interactions between a living organism and its environment. A living organism enacts the world it lives in; its embodied action in the world constitutes its perception and thereby grounds its cognition. Enaction offers a range of perspectives on this exciting new approach to embodied cognitive science.

    Some chapters offer manifestos for the enaction paradigm; others address specific areas of research, including artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, neuroscience, language, phenomenology, and culture and cognition. Three themes emerge as testimony to the originality and specificity of enaction as a paradigm: the relation between first-person lived experience and third-person natural science; the ambition to provide an encompassing framework applicable at levels from the cell to society; and the difficulties of reflexivity. Taken together, the chapters offer nothing less than the framework for a far-reaching renewal of cognitive science.

    Contributors Renaud Barbaras, Didier Bottineau, Giovanna Colombetti, Diego Cosmelli, Hanne De Jaegher, Ezequiel A. Di Paolo. Andreas K. Engel, Olivier Gapenne, Véronique Havelange, Edwin Hutchins, Michel Le Van Quyen, Rafael E. Núñez, Marieke Rohde, Benny Shanon, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, Adam Sheya, Linda B. Smith, John Stewart, Evan Thompson

    • Hardcover $45.00 £35.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £24.00