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Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 2. August 2010

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  • Taschenbuch: 543 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harvard Univ Pr (2. August 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0674057511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674057517
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,1 x 15 x 3,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 44.869 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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I think this book deserves close study, since it offers a holistic and dynamic perspective on how life and mind interact and how mind, body, and world form an inseparable unity...Thompson has written a book that for philosophers may give a new incentive to rethink and reconceptualize our place in the world that surpasses dualistic thinking. If that was the purpose of the book, it has succeeded. -- Taede A. Smedes Metapsychology 20080520 The aim of Evan Thompson's Mind in Life is to suggest a new way forward in the long-running attempt to connect biological knowledge about how body and brain work with our phenomenological experience of life. The book is an impressive work of synthesis, drawing together an array of themes in biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, phenomenology, and consciousness studies...This is a highly impressive work, of considerable scope, importance, and originality. The book is not, nor does it claim to be, an easy read for a general audience: the fields of consciousness studies and phenomenology are replete with necessary jargon, and Mind in Life builds on decades of discovery and debate. On the other hand, the argument is accessible to nonspecialists willing to take the time, for Thompson presents complex ideas with commendable fluency. For philosophers of biology, as for cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind, Mind in Life is sure to become essential reading. -- John C. Waller Isis 20081201 The book is a tremendous success and amounts to a superior contribution to recent and current debates in the philosophy of mind. Thompson displays a deeply impressive grasp of the relevant literature across a range of disciplines, including biology, phenomenology, psychology and neuroscience. Not only has he read widely, he has an admirable intellectual independence, and is confident of the arguments he wants to demonstrate and the direction he wants the sciences of the mind to take...One of the richest contributions to the study of "mind in life" in recent years. It deserves to become a major work of reference and inspiration for research in the immediate future and, indeed, for many years to come. It provides a genuine and far-reaching clarification of core issues in the philosophy and science of the mind, and is to be greatly welcomed. -- Keith Ansell-Pearson Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20090601


How is life related to the mind? The question has long confounded philosophers and scientists, and it is this so-called explanatory gap between biological life and consciousness that Evan Thompson explores in "Mind in Life". Thompson draws upon sources as diverse as molecular biology, evolutionary theory, artificial life, complex systems theory, neuroscience, psychology, Continental Phenomenology, and analytic philosophy to argue that mind and life are more continuous than has previously been accepted, and that current explanations do not adequately address the myriad facets of the biology and phenomenology of mind. Where there is life, Thompson argues, there is mind: life and mind share common principles of self-organisation, and the self-organising features of mind are an enriched version of the self-organizing features of life. Rather than trying to close the explanatory gap, Thompson marshals philosophical and scientific analyses to bring unprecedented insight to the nature of life and consciousness.

This synthesis of phenomenology and biology helps make "Mind in Life" a vital and long-awaited addition to his landmark volume "The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience" (co-authored with Eleanor Rosch and Francisco Varela). Endlessly interesting and accessible, "Mind in Life" is a groundbreaking addition to the fields of the theory of the mind, life science, and phenomenology. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Von Janine Scholtes am 2. Juli 2013
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Dieses Buch ist qualitativ sehr gut. Das Preis- Leistungs- Verhältnis ist angemessen. Inhaltlich ist es anspruchsvoll und interessant zu lesen.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 9 Rezensionen
37 von 39 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Mind-expanding 1. September 2010
Von Peter Fawcett - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
There's a wealth of material in this splendid book, which is of enormous scope. I have owned it for two years now, a frequent reference in following up some-or-other aspect of the nexus between mind and brain. Thompson is a great integrator, equally effective in neuroscience and philosophy, so for an interested general reader this book makes an excellent primer and anchor in the vast literature around this most fundamental of topics - just how do the objective world of life sciences and the subjective world of phenomena and consciousness relate?

Thompson's theme is that this relationship exists in a consistent set of organizational properties, from the autonomy of the cell all through to consciousness and enculturation, under the dynamics of metabolism. Perhaps unfortunately, Thompson starts off (Part One) in the middle of this hierarchy at the level of experience and cognition, but also introducing the key principles of system dynamics and emergent processes. Part Two then explores life- and developmental systems leading back to philosophies of evolution, the organism and selfhood. Part Three, half of the book, then makes an extended exploration of sentience, consciousness, awareness, emotion and enculturation.

In his exploration Thompson reassesses every one of the many -ologies and -isms which are planks in the argument; herein lies the unique character and value of the book, and the reason for my revisits. The coverage is so impressive. One would just have liked rather more on the affective mentalities (why are music and the design disciplines so ignored by psychologists?) and on dream states, anaesthesia and dementia. These must hold important clues.

So the rewards are great, but this is not an easy book on two counts.
Firstly, jargon; which one reviewer described as 'necessary' though I'm not so sure. Like this, from the very first paragraph of the Preface - "....... the self-moving flow of time-consciousness". Not user-friendly and reminding one of Bulhak's Postmodern Generator.
Secondly, accessibility; here Thompson may not have been well served by his publishing editor. The book is arranged in three Parts, whose titles inform little (Part Two offered under the weak pun "Life in Mind"), and thirteen chapters, whose titles also beg further explication. The contents schedule does not list the sub-chapter headings, though it is through these that the form of the argument begins to emerge. [For an expanded contents schedule go to [...] ]. There is no introduction or summary of each Part, let alone each chapter, and little by way of concluding summary. In short, the book needs a route map. For these reasons, and only these, the book rates at less than full score.

I really do recommend Evan Thompson's book, but am also looking forward to someone's definitive study of sentience in the slime molds.
19 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
To know life is to know mind 28. August 2011
Von David J. Kreiter - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Evan Thompson draws from the disciplines of biology, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to bring about a wide and varied discussion of one of the most significant philosophical questions or our time called the explanatory gap--the gap between our subjective experience and the laws of nature. "Exactly how are consciousness and subjective experience related to the brain and the body?" How is it that our subjective experience of the world sets us apart from our environment, when our environment and life are intricately coupled? Thompson contends that there can be no dualistic separation between the organizational properties of life and mind. In fact, Thompson says in the preface: "...the self-organizing features of mind are an enriched version of the self-organizing features of life." To understand mind it is necessary to understand life. And to these ends, Thompson references the great philosophical and scientific thinkers past and present in an attempt to sort out questions of what constitutes life and consciousness, and he carefully and respectfully points out what he believes could be the strengths and weaknesses of each hypothesis.

Since it is necessary to understand life in order to comprehend mind, it isn't surprising that the philosophical methodologies used to explaining life are similar to those used to explain mind. From my understanding of Thompson's work, it seems that there are two philosophically divergent paths that researchers have pursued to explain these concepts. One path, which encompasses the fields of cognitive science, computation, and genocentrism, is mechanistic, reductive, dualistic, and materialistic in nature. The other more meaningful and holistic path favored by Thompson encompasses principles including dynamism, autonomy, autopoiesis, and enactive evolution.

The theory of genocentrism supposes that the organism is merely a vehicle which the "selfish gene constructs and controls for purposes of its own survival. Genocentrism as a theory of life and evolution is similar to the view of computationalists in respect to the mind and the brain. Both incorporate the dualistic notion of hardware vs. software, matter vs. information and body vs. mind. Just as the genocentrist views the genes inside the cell as the software that controls everything from phenotype to evolution, so the computationalist views the mind as the controlling software inside the head. The author summarizes this idea by stating that "The view that life is essentially a matter of the genes inside the cell nucleus is homologous to the view that the mind is essentially a matter of a computer brain inside the head" (173). The main problem with the genocentrist view is that the theory presupposes that the apparatus of the cell is already in place for the DNA and RNA replication process. DNA and RNA are not self-replicating and are entirely dependent upon the self-replicating cell to establish an environment for the process of protein synthesis and reproduction. There is no one-to-one correspondence between the coding of the genes and phenotypic expression. In fact, while it was once believed that it took one gene to produce one protein, it has since been discovered that one gene can code for many proteins and the expression of these proteins is dependent upon quantum processes that allow individual proteins to fold into as many as a thousand different configurations to carry out their specific tasks. The multitude of processes that are carried out by the membrane and various organelles of the cell in their totality are what provide the milieu for the function of the genetic material. As Thompson states: "This notion of information as something that preexists its own expression in the cell, and that is not affected by the developmental matrix of the organism and environment, is a reification that has no explanatory value. It is informational idolatry and superstition, not science." (187)

Thompson details the shortcomings of genocentrism and espouses the viability of the inactive approach to explain mind and life. The author states that self-organization and natural selection are not mutually exclusive, but, are in fact, complementary aspects of a unified process of enactive evolution. The enactive approach takes into account the intentionality of life as well as the emergence of mind in the self-organizing processes that interconnect the brain, body, and the environment. The expression of life is not merely a matter of information, but a complementarity of information and meaning--an idea thoroughly explored in my book, "Confronting the Quantum Enigma, Albert, Niels, and John." (2011)

Thompson's assumptions hinge on the many researchers who have attempted to define life. The consensus view is that for something to be alive is must be "autopoietic". Autopoiesis is defined as a dynamic, self-organizing, self-replication system. Several researchers including Maturana and Varela contend that all autopoietic systems are also cognitive systems. Thompson states that if autopoiesis and cognition are what distinguishes life from non-life, then the process of understanding life and understanding mind are continuous.
This dense book of five hundred pages took me several months to plod through, but the effort was worth it. Evan Thompson left no stone unturned in his quest to understand life and mind in this well-researched masterpiece.

Review by David Kreiter, author of: Confronting the Quantum Enigma: Albert,Niels, and John.(2011--Available on Amazon). And Quantum Reality: A New Philosophical Perspective.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Outstanding Contribution to Embodied Mind Cognitive Science 13. April 2013
Von Blaine Snow - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
The questions being asked in this fascinating volume are, "what kind of entity can be said to be a mental entity" or "what has a mind and what doesn't," but also "where is mind - where does it begin and end"? Does a machine have mental capacity or does it just simulate mental capacity? Evan Thompson sets out to show that living things are synonymous with mental things and draws his arguments from molecular biology, evolutionary theory, neuroscience, complex systems theory, psychology, phenomenology, and analytic philosophy. Mind arises in and as the organization of living systems and their environments. Following Gregory Bateson, Erich Jantsch, Heinz von Foerester, and Francisco Varela before him, Thompson set out to show that where there is life, there is mind. Minds are not a reflection or representation of a pre-specified, external realm, but rather "enacted or brought forth by a being's autonomous agency and mode of coupling with the environment." This is postmodern biology, the situating of mind, reason, emotion and all products of interiority and the mind in bodies, environments, and worlds brought forth in co-construction of organism and environment. This is mind embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended and it is where cognitive science is currently heading.

Finally we are coming closer to an understanding that can situate and ground mental phenomena in the living bodies and environments that have always produced them rather than attributing them to disembodied transcendent-metaphysical realms or to see them as equivalent to electronic processing machines. The postmodern revolution in the social sciences and humanities that situated rationality and meaning in culture, language, and history continues into the cognitive and life sciences where it is now in the process of situating subjective experience and mind in bodies and their environments. Thompson's book is a huge contribution towards that end.
6 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Clearly written, comprehensive and stimulating synthesis 19. März 2011
Von chas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
MIND in LIFE is a superbly written, thorough review and synthesis of current theories informing biological and cognitive development from a phenomenological point of view. Moreover, the complex materials are presented in clear accessible language using easily graspable examples, which is not always the case in other biology, cognitive science or phenomenological philosophy books that deal with such complexities. Thompson's well documented book will give the reader a good foundation in the current issues in the study of mind starting from Merleau-Ponty, Varela, Oyama, Husserl and others interested in development systems theory, practice theory and pragmatic constructivist approaches to neuropsychology and human existence.
Five Stars 4. August 2014
Von José Monserrat Neto - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
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