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What Is A Mind?

What Is A Mind?

An Integrative Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind

Suzanne Cunningham

2000 - 288 pp.

Format ISBN Price Qty
Cloth 978-0-87220-519-2
$48.00
Paper 978-0-87220-518-5
$22.00
Examination 978-0-87220-518-5
$3.00

Quick Overview

“Suzanne Cunningham has produced a wonderful primer on all the major foundational questions being discussed in contemporary philosophy of mind, cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience. The mind-brain relation, the self, knowledge of other minds, the nature of consciousness, the emotions, and the prospects for artificial intelligence, receive complete, even-handed treatment from this experienced teacher’s pen. Cunningham provides wonderful questions, exercises, research topics and bibliographical resources. I suspect many of her probing questions will engage professors as much as they will students. They did me.”
    —Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

OR

Designed for a first course in the philosophy of mind, this book has several distinctive features. Unlike any other book of its kind, it offers extensive treatment of the emotions and of the problem of other minds. Throughout the text insights from other relevant disciplines—psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, anthropology, computer science—are integrated into a philosophical framework. A section is devoted to a concise discussion of the factors to consider when assessing any theory. An ongoing series of Notes on Terminology explains each of the technical terms used. Each chapter is followed by a list of Issues for Discussion, and Suggested Research Projects—short, focused assignments that introduce the reader to materials of interest outside the text.

 

Reviews:

“Suzanne Cunningham has produced a wonderful primer on all the major foundational questions being discussed in contemporary philosophy of mind, cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience. The mind-brain relation, the self, knowledge of other minds, the nature of consciousness, the emotions, and the prospects for artificial intelligence, receive complete, even-handed treatment from this experienced teacher’s pen. Cunningham provides wonderful questions, exercises, research topics and bibliographical resources. I suspect many of her probing questions will engage professors as much as they will students. They did me.”
    —Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

 

“A terrific introduction to Philosophy of Mind that moves gracefully from mainstream topics to others that are gaining attention in the field, yet are rarely broached in introductory texts: e.g., one chapter apiece devoted to emotions, evolution and animal (especially early hominid) minds, and theories of self. The book does a good job of integrating the empirical with the philosophical. . . . It is perhaps the most accessible introduction to the Philosophy of Mind currently available, an ideal book for people with little or no background in Philosophy. Terms that are unfamiliar or used in unfamiliar ways are clearly explained in boxed text. Theories such as functionalism are set in not just their philosophical contexts but also their broad intellectual and cultural milieus. I recommend the book enthusiastically.”
    —Robert Gordon, University of Missouri-St. Louis

 

“The book has several virtues. Overall, the writing is clear, the discussions are accurate, and the material does not presuppose any background philosophical knowledge. I was pleased and surprised to see a chapter on the emotions. For some reason that I do not understand, a discussion of the emotions does not play a significant role in introductory books in philosophy of mind.”
    —Abraham Witonsky ,in Minds and Machines: The Journal for Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science

 

Contents:

Introduction

Ch. I: What Sort of Thing is a Mind?
Theories of Mind: Substance Dualism; Mind is Not a Thing at All; Behaviorism; Physicalism; Property Dualism; Functionalism. Evaluating Theories: Arguments Pro and Con; Assumptions; Consequences; Explanatory Power; Consistency with Other Well-Founded Theories.

Ch. II: What Does it Mean to Be Conscious?
What Sorts of Things Are Conscious? How Can You Tell if Something is Conscious? What Are We Conscious Of? Is Consciousness One Phenomenon or Many? Theories of Consciousness: Cartesian View; Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness; Consciousness as a Nonphysical Property; Multiple-Drafts Theory of Consciousness; Consciousness as Global Workspace. Other Approaches to Consciousness: Biological Naturalism; Synchronous Neural Oscillations; The “Mysteria”; Eliminativism. What Is the Function of Consciousness?

Ch. III: Where Do Emotions Fit?
The Rational Animal. Methods of Approach to Emotions. Theories of Emotion: Physiological/Feeling Theories; Behavioral Theories; Cognitive Theories. Can Emotion be Defined? What is the Function of Emotions? How Do Emotions Relate to Other Aspects of the Mental? Emotions and Theories of Mind.

Ch. IV: Did the Mind Evolve?
Evolution by Natural Selection. Arguments Supporting Mental Evolution: Evolution of the Brain; Behavior of Early Hominids; Animal Minds; Natural Selection of the Mental. Arguments Against Mental Evolution: Religious Argument; Alfred Russel Wallace; Language. Mental Evolution and Theories of Mind.

Ch. V: What Is a Self?
Theories of Self: Self as a Nonphysical Entity; The Psychological Self; Bundle Theory of Self; Kant’s Transcendental Self; Self as (at least) the Body; Self as Multi-Dimensional; Self as Social Construct; Narrative Self. Evolution and the Self.

Ch. VI: Could a Machine Have a Mind?
Machines and Mechanisms. Symbol-System Theories: Linguistic Model; Computer Capabilities; The Turing Test; “Chinese Room” Response; Skepticism about Symbol-System AI; Computers versus Humans. Connectionism (or Parallel Distributing Processing): Connectionist Critique of Symbol-System AI.; Structure of a Connectionist System; Some Comparisons and Contrasts; Criticisms of Connectionist AI. Tentative Conclusions.

Ch. VII: How Do We Link Behavior with Mental States?
Argument from Analogy. Chimps and False Beliefs: Background to Alternative Theories. The Theory-Theory of Mental Attribution: Sources of Folk Psychological Theory; Meaning of Mental Concepts; Developmental Data: False Beliefs and Autism. Simulation Theory of Mental Attribution: Meaning of Mental Concepts; Developmental Data: False Beliefs and Autism. Some Comparisons and Contrasts. Some Tentative Conclusions.

Some Additional Resources. Index.

 

About the Author:

Suzanne Cunningham is Professor of Philosophy Emerita, Loyola University of Chicago.