Matters of the Mind

Matters of the Mind

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In Matters of the Mind, the distinguished philosopher William Lyons presents a popular and authoritative account of the dramatically different ways in which philosophers have thought about the mind over the last hundred years. He sets out the great debate about the nature of mind, focusing on the mind-body 'problem' and exploring the effect of the major turning points in recent western philosophy as well as the influence of the leading figures. In providing this account, the narrative draws also upon work in psychology, neurophysiology and computing. William Lyons explains how towards the end of the nineteenth century the mind was still regarded by most philosophers as a special sort of non-material thing, a soul, that inhabited the body like a ghost in a machine and was able to outlive the death of the bodily-machine. He goes on to narrate how, in the twentieth century, following the upheavals in the new science of psychology, the astonishing advances in the brain sciences, the invention of the computer, and the increasing materialism of modern philosophy, a new view of the nature of mind emerged. Matters of the Mind tells the fascinating and compelling story of the crucial debates about the nature of mind in our time. Features * Provides a popular, highly illustrated and readable account of philosophy of mind for general readers and students in philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, neurophysiology and computing * Presents a clear, non-technical overview of the main approaches within recent philosophy of mind, including Cartesianism, behaviourism, mind-brain identity theories, the coming of the computer, functionalism and the relationship of consciousness to brain processing * Offers numerous easy-to-understand examples * Sets the debates within their historical, intellectual and scientific contexts * Gives an up-to-date account of recent developments and issues for the future * Includes a Chronology of the philosophy and sciences of the mind in the twentieth century and an extensive Bibliography of references and further reading about the mindshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 23mm | 600g
  • EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 60 black & white illustrations
  • 0748614400
  • 9780748614400
  • 1,387,363

Review quote

A fascinating tale, told with authority and pace by William Lyons and copiously illustrated with diagrams and pictures. Times Literary Supplement This book ought to figure on the reading lists of courses introducing philosophy of mind. Students easily become lost in the technicalities of philosophical theorizing about the mind. By reading this book they will be enabled to see something of the wider picture into which the theories fit, and to understand how theories that might initially seem implausible came to be taken seriously. Philosophical Quarterly After scene-setting about the Cartesian dualist inheritance, it provides a very full account of the rich and varied tapestry of thinking in Philosophy of Mind from the late nineteenth century to the present, in a form which is highly readable and accessible to the intelligent but uninformed reader, livened with many illustrations, a great deal of biographical information and a chronology. All the main contributions to that tapestry are touched on at one point or other in the narrative, with appropriate substantial excursions into Psychology and Neurophysiology ... To me it seems to achieve its objective admirably ... The organisation into five chapters of exposition and discussion and a sixth of reflections is effective in marshalling the large body of material covered. The style is easy, and draws one naturally on. The book certainly deserves to succeed as a substantial popularising work which achieves accessibility without falsifying or doctoring. I believe Matters of the Mind could be used as a text book for an introductory course in Philosophy of Mind, to give students a basic background in preparation for blooding them in serious grappling at close quarters with some particular positions and arguments. It could also serve excellently to introduce psychology students to what the Philosophy of Mind is all about. Philosophical Books This is an excellent introductory philosophy of mind text. Lyons writes with great clarity and precision, making this book highly suitable for the philosophical beginner. It is extremely accessible, jargon-free, and covers a great deal of material. For a small book, the depth of exposition is exceptional. Australasian Journal of Philosophy This is a highly attractive book which is also wholly authoritative. -- Dr Geoffrey Madell, Dept of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh A fascinating tale, told with authority and pace by William Lyons and copiously illustrated with diagrams and pictures. This book ought to figure on the reading lists of courses introducing philosophy of mind. Students easily become lost in the technicalities of philosophical theorizing about the mind. By reading this book they will be enabled to see something of the wider picture into which the theories fit, and to understand how theories that might initially seem implausible came to be taken seriously. After scene-setting about the Cartesian dualist inheritance, it provides a very full account of the rich and varied tapestry of thinking in Philosophy of Mind from the late nineteenth century to the present, in a form which is highly readable and accessible to the intelligent but uninformed reader, livened with many illustrations, a great deal of biographical information and a chronology. All the main contributions to that tapestry are touched on at one point or other in the narrative, with appropriate substantial excursions into Psychology and Neurophysiology ... To me it seems to achieve its objective admirably ... The organisation into five chapters of exposition and discussion and a sixth of reflections is effective in marshalling the large body of material covered. The style is easy, and draws one naturally on. The book certainly deserves to succeed as a substantial popularising work which achieves accessibility without falsifying or doctoring. I believe Matters of the Mind could be used as a text book for an introductory course in Philosophy of Mind, to give students a basic background in preparation for blooding them in serious grappling at close quarters with some particular positions and arguments. It could also serve excellently to introduce psychology students to what the Philosophy of Mind is all about. This is an excellent introductory philosophy of mind text. Lyons writes with great clarity and precision, making this book highly suitable for the philosophical beginner. It is extremely accessible, jargon-free, and covers a great deal of material. For a small book, the depth of exposition is exceptional. This is a highly attractive book which is also wholly authoritative.show more

About William H. Lyons

William Lyons is Professor of Moral Philosophy and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He is also a Member of the Royal Irish Academy. He is the author of Approaches to Intentionality as well as Emotion, The Disappearance of Introspection and Gilbert Ryle: An Introduction to his Philosophy. He is also the editor of Modern Philosophy of Mind.show more

Table of contents

List of figures; Preface; Acknowledgements; Chronology; 1. The Twilight of the 'Two Worlds' View; 2. Observing the Human Animal; 3. Nothing but the Brain; 4. Computers to the Rescue; 5. The Bogey of Consciousness; 6. The Pit and the Pendulum; Notes; Bibliography; Index.show more