The Peripheral Mind

The Peripheral Mind : Philosophy of Mind and the Peripheral Nervous System

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Description

The Peripheral Mind introduces a novel approach to a wide range of issues in the philosophy of mind by shifting the focus of analysis from the brain to the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). Contemporary philosophy of mind has neglected the potential significance of the PNS and has implicitly assumed that, ultimately, sensory and perceptual experience comes together in the brain. Istvan Aranyosi proposes a philosophical hypothesis according to which
peripheral processes are considered as constitutive of sensory states rather than merely as causal contributors to them. Part of the motivation for the project is explained in the autobiographical opening chapter, which describes the author's subjective experiences with severe peripheral nerve damage.

Although Aranyosi's approach could be classified as part of the current "embodied mind" paradigm in the philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience, this is the first time that notions like "embodiment" and "body" in general are replaced by the more focused concept of the PNS. Aranyosi puts the hypothesis to the test and offers novel solutions to puzzles related to physicalism, functionalism, mental content, embodiment, the extended mind hypothesis, tactile-proprioceptive illusions, as well
as to some problems in neuroethics, such as abortion and requests for amputation of healthy body parts. The diversity of the volume's methodology-which results from a combination of conceptual analysis, discussion of neuroscientific data, philosophical speculation, and first-person phenomenological
accounts-makes the book both engaging and highly informative.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 163 x 243 x 24mm | 464g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 4 illus.
  • 0199989605
  • 9780199989607

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ; Chapter I: Margins of Me: a Personal Story ; PART 1: MINDS AND NERVES ; Chapter II: A Philosophical Hypothesis ; II.1 PMH as a philosophical hypothesis ; II.2 PMH and the case of visual awareness research ; II.3 Causal versus constitutive contribution ; Chapter III: Return of the C fibers, or Philosophers' Lack of Nerve ; III.1 Well, maybe the mind is the brain ... somewhere ; III.2 Folk neuroscience and the philosophy of mind ; III.3 Nervous systems and closet sunsum theory ; Chapter IV: Toward a Well-Innervated Philosophy of Mind ; IV.1 'It's just cables!' ; IV.2 Functionalist troubles? ; The mad pain problem ; The problem of pseudo-normal vision ; The China-brain problem ; The triviality problem ; PART 2: BOUNDS OF MIND ; Chapter V: Semantic Externalism ; V.1 Twin Earth ; V.2 Anti-Narrowness and Determination ; V.3 Anti-wideness ; V.4 Skinternalism: an Anti-Internalist Individualism ; V.5 Some further issues ; Chapter VI: Mind Extended ; VI.1 Allegedly extended processes ; VI.2 Allegedly extended states ; PART 3: MIND EMBODIED ; Chapter VII: Embodiment and the Peripheral Mind ; VII.1 'Fingers crossed for the embodied mind!' ; VII.2 Phenomenal embodiment and innervation ; VII.3 Against proper disembodiment ; Chapter VIII: Against Action as Constitutive of Mind ; VIII.1 Embodied central processing ; VIII.2 The conceptual role of the Neuromuscular Junction ; VIII. 3 A brief critique of action-based (sensorimotor) theories ; PART 4: MIND AND ETHICS ; Chapter IX: Issues in Neuroethics ; IX.1 Abortion: Thick potentiality ; IX.2 Amputation: Peripheral precedence ; Chapter X: Concluding Remarks ; References ; Name Index ; Topic Index
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Review quote

The book demonstrates the cognitive role of the peripheral nervous system. It presents a well argued theroy to the effect that the mind is not contained in the cranium, but it extends out into the nervous systems, suffusing the body as far as it is innervated ... The author draws on empirical science and engages most of the current topics in philosophy of mind, including them into his theory of peripheral mind. Reading his work, a student-reader will thus become
aquainted with almost all of the details of recent philosophy of mind development, while a scholar-reader will become acquainted with new developments in the theory of embodied and extended mind. In my view, Aranyosi has succeeded in providing the best descriptive account of embodiment so far in the
philosophy of mind, and he is certainly right to assert that contemporary philosophy has unjustly neglected the significance of the peripheral nervous system. * Renata Zieminska, Forum Philosophicum *
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About Istvan Aranyosi

Istvan Aranyosi was born in Sighet/Maramarossziget, in the north of Transylvania, in 1975. He studied philosophy in Budapest, at the Central European University, where he obtained his PhD in 2005. In 2006-2007 he was a fellow at the Centre for Consciousness, The Australian National University. He is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bilkent University, Ankara. In 2012 he obtained Honorable Mention for his essay "A new argument
for mind-brain identity" at the American Philosophical Association's prestigious biennial Article Prize.
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