The Meaning of Mind

Language, Morality, and Neuroscience
Author: Thomas Stephen Szasz
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
ISBN: 9780815607755
Category: Philosophy
Page: 182
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In this brilliantly original and highly accessible work, Thomas Szasz demonstrates the futility of analyzing the mind as a collection of brain functions.This is Szasz's most ambitious work to date. In his best-selling book, The Myth of Mental Illness, he took psychiatry to task for misconstruing human conflict and coping as mental illness. In Our Right to Drugs, he exposed the irrationality and political opportunism that fuels the Drug War. In The Meaning of Mind, he warns that we misconstrue the dialogue within as a problem of consciousness and neuroscience, and do so at our own peril.

The Brain and the Meaning of Life


Author: Paul Thagard
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691154406
Category: Philosophy
Page: 296
View: 8667

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Why is life worth living? What makes actions right or wrong? What is reality and how do we know it? The Brain and the Meaning of Life draws on research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to answer some of the most pressing questions about life's nature and value. Paul Thagard argues that evidence requires the abandonment of many traditional ideas about the soul, free will, and immortality, and shows how brain science matters for fundamental issues about reality, morality, and the meaning of life. The ongoing Brain Revolution reveals how love, work, and play provide good reasons for living. Defending the superiority of evidence-based reasoning over religious faith and philosophical thought experiments, Thagard argues that minds are brains and that reality is what science can discover. Brains come to know reality through a combination of perception and reasoning. Just as important, our brains evaluate aspects of reality through emotions that can produce both good and bad decisions. Our cognitive and emotional abilities allow us to understand reality, decide effectively, act morally, and pursue the vital needs of love, work, and play. Wisdom consists of knowing what matters, why it matters, and how to achieve it. The Brain and the Meaning of Life shows how brain science helps to answer questions about the nature of mind and reality, while alleviating anxiety about the difficulty of life in a vast universe. The book integrates decades of multidisciplinary research, but its clear explanations and humor make it accessible to the general reader.

Self Expressions

Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life
Author: Owen J. Flanagan
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0195096967
Category: Fiction
Page: 222
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Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism.

The Tidal Model

A Guide for Mental Health Professionals
Author: Prof Philip J Barker,Poppy Buchanan-Barker
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135448027
Category: Psychology
Page: 304
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The Tidal Model represents a significant alternative to mainstream mental health theories, emphasising how those suffering from mental health problems can benefit from taking a more active role in their own treatment. Based on extensive research, The Tidal Model charts the development of this approach, outlining the theoretical basis of the model to illustrate the benefits of a holistic model of care which promotes self-management and recovery. Clinical examples are also employed to show how, by exploring rather than ignoring a client's narrative, practitioners can encourage the individual's greater involvement in the decisions affecting their assessment and treatment. The appendices guide the reader in developing their own assessment and care plans. The Tidal Model's comprehensive coverage of the theory and practice of this model will be of great use to a range of mental health professionals and those in training in the fields of mental health nursing, social work, psychotherapy, clinical psychology and occupational therapy.

Coercion As Cure

A Critical History of Psychiatry
Author: Thomas Szasz
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
ISBN: 1412810507
Category: Medical
Page: 278
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Understanding the history of psychiatry requires an accurate view of its function and purpose. In this provocative new study, Szasz challenges conventional beliefs about psychiatry. He asserts that, in fact, psychiatrists are not concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of bona fide illnesses. Psychiatric tradition, social expectation, and the law make it clear that coercion is the profession's determining characteristic. Psychiatrists may "diagnose" or "treat" people without their consent or even against their clearly expressed wishes, and these involuntary psychiatric interventions are as different as are sexual relations between consenting adults and the sexual violence we call "rape." But the point is not merely the difference between coerced and consensual psychiatry, but to contrast them. The term "psychiatry" ought to be applied to one or the other, but not both. As long as psychiatrists and society refuse to recognize this, there can be no real psychiatric historiography. The coercive character of psychiatry was more apparent in the past than it is now. Then, insanity was synonymous with unfitness for liberty. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, a new type of psychiatric relationship developed, when people experiencing so-called "nervous symptoms," sought help. This led to a distinction between two kinds of mental diseases: neuroses and psychoses. Persons who complained about their own behavior were classified as neurotic, whereas persons about whose behavior others complained were classified as psychotic. The legal, medical, psychiatric, and social denial of this simple distinction and its far-reaching implications undergirds the house of cards that is modern psychiatry. Coercion as Cure is the most important book by Szasz since his landmark The Myth of Mental Illness.

Addiction Is a Choice


Author: Jeffrey A. Schaler
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 0812697685
Category: Psychology
Page: 256
View: 9324

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Politicians and the media tell us that people who take drugs, including alcohol or nicotine, cannot help themselves. They are supposedly victims of the disease of 'addiciton', and they need 'treatment'. The same goes for sex addicts, shopping addicts, food addicts, gambling addicts, or even addicts to abusive relationships. This theory, which grew out of the Temperance movement and was developed and disseminated by the religious cult known as Alcoholics Anonymous, has not been confirmed by any factual research. Numerous scientific studies show that 'addicts' are in control of their behavior. Contrary to the shrill, mindless propaganda of the 'war on drugs', very few of the people who use alcohol, marijuana, heroin, or cocaine will ever become 'addicted', and of those who do become heavy drug users, most will matrue out of it in time, without treatment. Research indicates that 'treatment' is completely ineffective, an absolute waste of time and money. Instead of looking at drub addiction as a disease, Dr. Schaler proposes that we view it as willful commitment or dedication, akin to joining a religion or pursuing a romantic involvement. While heavy consumption of drugs is often foolish and self-destructive, it is a matter of personal choice.

Braintrust

What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality
Author: Patricia S. Churchland
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400889383
Category: Philosophy
Page: 288
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What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the "neurobiological platform of bonding" that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality. Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals--the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves--first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider "caring" circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality. A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values.

Mind, Language and Morality

Essays in Honor of Mark Platts
Author: Gustavo Ortiz-Millán,Juan Antonio Cruz Parcero
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 135120257X
Category: Philosophy
Page: 196
View: 7070

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Mark Platts is responsible for the first systematic presentation of truth-conditional semantics and for turning a generation of philosophers on to the Davidsonian program. He is also a pioneer in discussions of moral realism, and has made important contributions to bioethics, the philosophy of human rights and moral responsibility. This book is a tribute to Platts’s pioneering work in these areas, featuring contributions from number of leading scholars of his work from the US, UK and Mexico. It features replies to the individual essays from Platts, as well as a concluding chapter reflecting on his philosophical career from Oxford to Mexico City. Mind, Language and Morality will be of interest to philosophers across a wide range of areas, including ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of law, and philosophy of language.

My Madness Saved Me

The Madness and Marriage of Virginia Woolf
Author: Thomas Szasz
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
ISBN: 1412809452
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 169
View: 5101

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The vast literature on Virginia Woolf's life, work, and marriage falls into two groups. A large majority is certain that she was mentally ill, and a small minority is equally certain that she was not mentally ill but was misdiagnosed by psychiatrists. In this daring exploration of Woolf's life and work, Thomas Szasz--famed for his radical critique of psychiatric concepts, coercions, and excuses--examines the evidence and rejects both views. Instead, he looks at how Virginia Woolf, as well as her husband Leonard, used the concept of madness and the profession of psychiatry to manage and manipulate their own and each other's lives. Do we explain achievement when we attribute it to the fictitious entity we call "genius"? Do we explain failure when we attribute it to the fictitious entity we call "madness"? Or do we deceive ourselves the same way that the person deceives himself when he attributes the easy ignition of hydrogen to its being "flammable"? Szasz interprets Virginia Woolf's life and work as expressions of her character, and her character as the "product" of her free will. He offers this view as a corrective against the prevailing, ostensibly scientific view that attributes both her "madness" and her "genius" to biological-genetic causes. We tend to attribute exceptional achievement to genius, and exceptional failure to madness. Both, says Szasz, are fictitious entities.

Neuroexistentialism

Meaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience
Author: Gregg Caruso,Owen Flanagan
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190460725
Category: Philosophy
Page: 392
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Existentialisms arise when the foundations of being, such as meaning, morals, and purpose come under assault. In the first-wave of existentialism, writings typified by Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche concerned the increasingly apparent inability of religion, and religious tradition, to support a foundation of being. Second-wave existentialism, personified philosophically by Sartre, Camus, and de Beauvoir, developed in response to similar realizations about the overly optimistic Enlightenment vision of reason and the common good. The third-wave of existentialism, a new existentialism, developed in response to advances in the neurosciences that threaten the last vestiges of an immaterial soul or self. Given the increasing explanatory and therapeutic power of neuroscience, the mind no longer stands apart from the world to serve as a foundation of meaning. This produces foundational anxiety. In Neuroexistentialism, a group of contributors that includes some of the world's leading philosophers, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and legal scholars, explores the anxiety caused by third-wave existentialism and possible responses to it. Together, these essays tackle our neuroexistentialist predicament, and explore what the mind sciences can tell us about morality, love, emotion, autonomy, consciousness, selfhood, free will, moral responsibility, law, the nature of criminal punishment, meaning in life, and purpose.

Moral Psychology

The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity
Author: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262195690
Category: Philosophy
Page: 608
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For much of the twentieth century, philosophy and science went their separate ways. In moral philosophy, fear of the so-called naturalistic fallacy kept moral philosophers from incorporating developments in biology and psychology. Since the 1990s, however, many philosophers have drawn on recent advances in cognitive psychology, brain science, and evolutionary psychology to inform their work. This collaborative trend is especially strong in moral philosophy, and these three volumes bring together some of the most innovative work by both philosophers and psychologists in this emerging interdisciplinary field. The contributors to volume 2 discuss recent empirical research that uses the diverse methods of cognitive science to investigate moral judgments, emotions, and actions. Each chapter includes an essay, comments on the essay by other scholars, and a reply by the author(s) of the original essay. Topics include moral intuitions as a kind of fast and frugal heuristics, framing effects in moral judgments, an analogy between Chomsky's universal grammar and moral principles, the role of emotions in moral beliefs, moral disagreements, the semantics of moral language, and moral responsibility.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Professor of Philosophy and Hardy Professor of Legal Studies at Dartmouth College.Contributors to volume 2: Fredrik Bjorklund, James Blair, Paul Bloomfield, Fiery Cushman, Justin D'Arms, John Deigh, John Doris, Julia Driver, Ben Fraser, Gerd Gigerenzer, Michael Gill, Jonathan Haidt, Marc Hauser, Daniel Jacobson, Joshua Knobe, Brian Leiter, Don Loeb, Ron Mallon, Darcia Narvaez, Shaun Nichols, Alexandra Plakias, Jesse Prinz, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Russ Shafer-Landau, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Cass Sunstein, William Tolhurst, Liane Young

The Meaning of the Body

Aesthetics of Human Understanding
Author: Mark Johnson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022602699X
Category: Philosophy
Page: 328
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In The Meaning of the Body, Mark Johnson continues his pioneering work on the exciting connections between cognitive science, language, and meaning first begun in the classic Metaphors We Live By. Johnson uses recent research into infant psychology to show how the body generates meaning even before self-consciousness has fully developed. From there he turns to cognitive neuroscience to further explore the bodily origins of meaning, thought, and language and examines the many dimensions of meaning—including images, qualities, emotions, and metaphors—that are all rooted in the body’s physical encounters with the world. Drawing on the psychology of art and pragmatist philosophy, Johnson argues that all of these aspects of meaning-making are fundamentally aesthetic. He concludes that the arts are the culmination of human attempts to find meaning and that studying the aesthetic dimensions of our experience is crucial to unlocking meaning's bodily sources. Throughout, Johnson puts forth a bold new conception of the mind rooted in the understanding that philosophy will matter to nonphilosophers only if it is built on a visceral connection to the world. “Mark Johnson demonstrates that the aesthetic and emotional aspects of meaning are fundamental—central to conceptual meaning and reason, and that the arts show meaning-making in its fullest realization. If you were raised with the idea that art and emotion were external to ideas and reason, you must read this book. It grounds philosophy in our most visceral experience.”—George Lakoff, author of Moral Politics

Gut Reactions

A Perceptual Theory of Emotion
Author: Jesse J. Prinz
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199882258
Category: Philosophy
Page: 288
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Gut Reactions is an interdisciplinary defense of the claim that emotions are perceptions in a double sense. First of all, they are perceptions of changes in the body, but, through the body, they also allow us to literally perceive danger, loss, and other matters of concern. This proposal, which Prinz calls the embodied appraisal theory, reconciles the long standing debate between those who say emotions are cognitive and those who say they are noncognitive. The basic idea behind embodied appraisals is captured in the familiar notion of a "gut reaction," which has been overlooked by much emotion research. Prinz also addresses emotional valence, emotional consciousness, and the debate between evolutionary psychologists and social constructionists.

Books in Print


Author: R.R. Bowker Company
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: N.A
Category: American literature
Page: N.A
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Books in print is the major source of information on books currently published and in print in the United States. The database provides the record of forthcoming books, books in-print, and books out-of-print.

Moral Minds

The Nature of Right and Wrong
Author: Marc Hauser
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061864781
Category: Science
Page: 528
View: 2453

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In his groundbreaking book, Marc Hauser puts forth a revolutionary new theory: that humans have evolved a universal moral instinct, unconsciously propelling us to deliver judgments of right and wrong independent of gender, education, and religion. Combining his cutting-edge research with the latest findings in cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, economics, and anthropology, Hauser explores the startling implications of his provocative theory vis-à-vis contemporary bioethics, religion, the law, and our everyday lives.

Hardwired Behavior

What Neuroscience Reveals about Morality
Author: Laurence Tancredi
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521860017
Category: Medical
Page: 226
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Argues that the concepts of social morality and individual responsibility begin in the brain.

Moral Tribes

Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
Author: Joshua David Greene
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143126059
Category: Philosophy
Page: 422
View: 7708

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A path-breaking neuroscientist explores how globalization has illuminated the deep moral divisions between opposing sides, drawing on pioneering research to reveal the evolutionary sources of morality while outlining recommendations for bridging divided cultures.