Philosophy of Mind: Contemporary Readings

Philosophy of Mind: Contemporary Readings

Philosophy of Mind: Contemporary Readings

Philosophy of Mind: Contemporary Readings


Philosophy of Mind: Contemporary Readings is a comprehensive anthology that draws together leading philosophers writing on the major topics within philosophy of mind. Robb and O'Connor have carefully chosen articles under the following headings:*Substance Dualism and Idealism*Materialism*Mind and Representation*ConsciousnessEach section is prefaced by an introductory essay by the editors which guides the student gently into the topic in which leading philosophers are included.The book is highly accessible and user-friendly and provides a broad-ranging exploration of the subject. Ideal for any philosophy student, this book will prove essential reading for any philosophy of mind course. The readings are designed to complement John Heil's Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction, Second edition (Routledge 2003), although the anthology can also be used as a stand-alone volume.


The sciences of the mind have grown rapidly since the mid-twentieth century. There is now a sizeable body of empirical knowledge concerning the structures and processes in the human brain which underpin, e.g., thought, sensation, and emotion. More generally, the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science is burgeoning on several fronts. Contemporary philosophical reflection about the mind - which has been quite intensive - has been influenced by this empirical inquiry, to the extent that the boundary lines between them are blurred in places.

Nonetheless, the philosophy of mind at its core remains a branch of metaphysics, traditionally conceived. Philosophers continue to debate foundational issues in terms not radically different from those in vogue in previous eras. The present volume gathers together some of the best recent writing on such issues. This metaphysical orientation is shared by John Heil's Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge 1998; a second edition is forthcoming). We have designed the anthology as a companion to Heil's book, although it could also serve as a stand-alone anthology for those who prefer to teach without a textbook.

Our volume is intended for use in a mid-level undergraduate course in the philosophy of mind, so we have selected readings that should be accessible to undergraduates who have taken only one or two courses in philosophy. We have shied away from writings that are heavy in formalism and dense argumentation. The selections are also fairly self-contained and both engage and motivate foundational issues, rather than working out details of a presupposed framework. Each of the four main sections opens with an essay in which we lay out the central problems and locate the selections within that context (O'Connor authored the Introductions to Parts II and IV, Robb the Introductions to Parts I and III).

We want to thank two anonymous referees for detailed, useful comments on an early version of our list of readings. Special thanks also are due to Siobhan Pattinson at Routledge for her advice and encouragement at every stage of this project.

Timothy O'Connor
and David Robb . . .

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