Paul M. Churchland

Paul M. Churchland is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul, Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind (both published by the MIT Press), and other books.

  • Matter and Consciousness, Third Edition

    Matter and Consciousness, Third Edition

    Paul M. Churchland

    An updated edition of an authoritative text showing the relevance for philosophy of mind of theoretical and experimental results in the natural sciences.

    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.

    • Paperback $30.00
  • Plato's Camera

    Plato's Camera

    How the Physical Brain Captures a Landscape of Abstract Universals

    Paul M. Churchland

    A noted philosopher draws on the empirical results and conceptual resources of cognitive neuroscience to address questions about the nature of knowledge.

    In Plato's Camera, eminent philosopher Paul Churchland offers a novel account of how the brain constructs a representation—or "takes a picture"—of the universe's timeless categorical and dynamical structure. This construction process, which begins at birth, yields the enduring background conceptual framework with which we will interpret our sensory experience for the rest of our lives. But, as even Plato knew, to make singular perceptual judgments requires that we possess an antecedent framework of abstract categories to which any perceived particular can be relevantly assimilated. How that background framework is assembled in the first place is the motivating mystery, and the primary target, of Churchland's book.

    Unexpectedly, this neurobiologically grounded account of human cognition also provides a systematic story of how such low-level epistemological activities are integrated within an enveloping framework of linguistic structures and regulatory mechanisms at the social level. As Churchland illustrates, this integration of cognitive mechanisms at several levels has launched the human race on an epistemological adventure denied to all other terrestrial creatures.

    • Hardcover $35.00
    • Paperback $30.00
  • On the Contrary

    On the Contrary

    Critical Essays, 1987-1997

    Paul M. Churchland and Patricia S. Churchland

    Paul and Patricia Churchland take on their critics—with verve, combativeness, and generosity.

    Paul M. and Patricia S. Churchland are towering figures in the fields of philosophy, neuroscience, and consciousness. This collection was prepared in the belief that the most useful and revealing of anyone's writings are often those shorter essays penned in conflict with or criticism of one's professional colleagues. The essays present the Churchlands' critical responses to a variety of philosophical positions advanced by some two dozen philosophical theorists. The book is divided into three parts: part I, Folk Psychology and Eliminative Materialism; part II, Meaning, Qualia, and Emotion: The Several Dimensions of Consciousness; and part III, the Philosophy of Science. V. S. Ramachandran and Rick Grush are coauthors on two of the essays.

    • Hardcover $15.75
    • Paperback $6.75
  • The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul

    The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul

    A Philosophical Journey into the Brain

    Paul M. Churchland

    A new picture of the mind is emerging, and explanations now exist for what has so long seemed mysterious. This real understanding of how the biological brain works—of how we work—has generated a mood of excitement that is shared in a half-dozen intersecting disciplines. Philosopher Paul Churchland, who is widely known as a gifted teacher and expository writer, explains these scientific developments in a simple, authoritative, and pictorial fashion. He not only opens the door into the ongoing research of the neurobiological and connectionist communities, but goes further, probing the social and moral dimensions of recent experimental results that assign consciousness to all but the very simplest forms of animals.

    In a fast-paced, entertaining narrative, replete with examples and numerous explanatory illustrations, Churchland brings together an exceptionally broad range of intellectual issues. He summarizes new results from neuroscience and recent work with artificial neural networks that together suggest a unified set of answers to questions about how the brain actually works; how it sustains a thinking, feeling, dreaming self; and how it sustains a self-conscious person.

    Churchland first explains the science—the powerful role of vector coding in sensory representation and pattern recognition, artificial neural networks that imitate parts of the brain, recurrent networks, neural representation of the social world, and diagnostic technologies and therapies for the brain in trouble. He then explores the far-reaching consequences of the current neurocomputational understanding of mind for our philosophical convictions, and for our social, moral, legal, medical, and personal lives.

    Churchland's wry wit and skillful teaching style are evident throughout. He introduces the remarkable representational power of a single human brain, for instance, via a captivating brain/World-Trade-Tower TV screen analogy. "Who can be watching this pixilated show?" Churchland queries; the answer is a provocative "no one." And he has included a folded stereoscopic viewer, attached to the inside back cover of the book, that readers can use to participate directly in several revealing experiments concerning stereo vision.

    A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover $38.50
    • Paperback $38.00
  • A Neurocomputational Perspective

    A Neurocomputational Perspective

    The Nature of Mind and the Structure of Science

    Paul M. Churchland

    If we are to solve the central problems in the philosophy of science, Paul Churchland argues, we must draw heavily on the resources of the emerging sciences of the mind-brain. A Neurocomputationial Perspective illustrates the fertility of the concepts and data drawn from the study of the brain and of artificial networks that model the brain. These concepts bring unexpected coherence to scattered issues in the philosophy of science, new solutions to old philosophical problems, and new possibilities for the enterprise of science itself.

    • Hardcover $44.00
    • Paperback $35.00
  • Matter and Consciousness, Revised Edition

    Matter and Consciousness, Revised Edition

    A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind

    Paul M. Churchland

    In Matter and Consciousness, Paul Churchland clearly presents the advantages and disadvantages of such difficult issues in philosophy of mind as behaviorism, reductive materialism, functionalism, and eliminative materialism. This new edition incorporates the striking developments that have taken place in neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence and notes their expanding relevance to philosophical issues.

    Churchland organizes and clarifies the new theoretical and experimental results of the natural sciences for a wider philosophical audience, observing that this research bears directly on questions concerning the basic elements of cognitive activity and their implementation in real physical systems. (How is it, he asks, that living creatures perform some cognitive tasks so swiftly and easily, where computers do them only badly or not at all?) Most significant for philosophy, Churchland asserts, is the support these results tend to give to the reductive and the eliminative versions of materialism.

    A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover $25.00
    • Paperback $26.00

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
  • Color Ontology and Color Science

    Color Ontology and Color Science

    Jonathan Cohen and Mohan Matthen

    Leading philosophers and scientists consider what conclusions about color can be drawn when the latest analytic tools are applied to the most sophisticated color science.

    Philosophers and scientists have long speculated about the nature of color. Atomists such as Democritus thought color to be "conventional," not real; Galileo and other key figures of the Scientific Revolution thought that it was an erroneous projection of our own sensations onto external objects. More recently, philosophers have enriched the debate about color by aligning the most advanced color science with the most sophisticated methods of analytical philosophy. In this volume, leading scientists and philosophers examine new problems with new analytic tools, considering such topics as the psychophysical measurement of color and its implications, the nature of color experience in both normal color-perceivers and the color blind, and questions that arise from what we now know about the neural processing of color information, color consciousness, and color language. Taken together, these papers point toward a complete restructuring of current orthodoxy concerning color experience and how it relates to objective reality. Kuehni, Jameson, Mausfeld, and Niederee discuss how the traditional framework of a three-dimensional color space and basic color terms is far too simple to capture the complexities of color experience. Clark and MacLeod discuss the difficulties of a materialist account of color experience. Churchland, Cohen, Matthen, and Westphal offer competing accounts of color ontology. Finally, Broackes and Byrne and Hilbert discuss the phenomenology of color blindness.

    Contributors Justin Broackes, Alex Byrne, Paul M. Churchland, Austen Clark, Jonathan Cohen, David R. Hilbert, Kimberly A. Jameson, Rolf Kuehni, Don I.A. MacLeod, Mohan Matthen, Rainer Mausfeld, Richard Niederée, Jonathan Westphal

    • Hardcover $19.75
    • Paperback $48.00
  • Collapse, Volume 2

    Speculative Realism

    Robin Mackay

    The first published work to explore the new philosophy of speculative realism through a fresh reappropriation of the philosophical tradition and an openness to its outside.

    The first published work to explore the new philosophical field of speculative realism, the second volume of Collapse features a selection of speculative essays by some of the foremost young philosophers at work today, together with new work from artists and filmmakers, and searching interviews with leading scientists. Comprising subjects from probability theory to theology, from quantum theory to neuroscience, from astrophysics to necrology, it involves them in unforeseen and productive syntheses.

    Against the tide of institutional balkanisation and specialisation, this volume testifies to a defiant reanimation of the most radical philosophical problematics—the status of the scientific object, metaphysics and its “end,” the prospects for a revival of speculative realism, the possibility of phenomenology, transcendence and the divine, the nature of causation, the necessity of contingency—both through a fresh reappropriation of the philosophical tradition and through an openness to its outside. The breadth of philosophical thought in this volume is matched by the surprising and revealing thematic connections that emerge between the philosophers and scientists who have contributed.

    • Paperback $18.95