Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction

Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction

Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction

Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction


Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction is a comprehensive and accessible survey of main themes, positions and debates in philosophy of mind. John Heil introduces and discusses the major topics in succinct, user-friendly, self-contained chapters:* Cartesian dualism* Descartes's legacy* non-Cartesian dualism* behaviorism* the identity theory* functionalism* the representational theory of mind* qualia* radical interpretation* the intentional stance* eliminativism* property dualism* mind and metaphysics* the mind's place in natureThis revised and updated edition includes expanded chapters on eliminativism, qualia, and the representational theory of mind, and an entirely new chapter on property dualism. There are annotated suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter, updated to include recent material and internet resources.


The first edition of Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction appeared in 1998. Since that time, I have had occasion to rethink topics addressed in that volume, to discuss my approach to those topics with many people, and to hear from numerous readers. The result is this second edition.

One aim of the first edition was to make difficult issues intelligible to novices without watering them down. My impression is that the effort was, on the whole, successful. This edition incorporates changes of two sorts. First, I have added or supplemented discussions of topics ignored or treated lightly in the first edition. My discussion of eliminativism, of qualia, and the Representational Theory of Mind have been expanded, and I have added a chapter on property dualism. Second, I have divided the book into shorter, more self-contained chapters. My hope in so doing was that this would allow more flexibility for instructors using the book in courses in the philosophy of mind. Chapters, too, have been divided into bite-sized sections. I believe the new divisions make the book more attractive and easier on the reader.

As before, each chapter concludes with a listing of suggested readings. These listings have been expanded and updated (to include, for instance, Internet resources). I have also instituted an author/date citation scheme keyed to a comprehensive bibliography at the end of the volume. Readers' annoyance at having to turn to a separate bibliography to track down references might be offset by the absence of footnotes and endnotes. The first edition contained a handful of footnotes. I came to believe, however, that a book like this could, and should, be written without such textual intrusions.

I am grateful to readers who took the trouble to pass along corrections and suggestions for improving the first edition. I hope that the resulting changes have resulted in a better all-round book.

Many of the themes taken up in Chapters 14 and 15 (Chapter 6 in the first edition) were subsequently developed in detail in my book From an Ontological Point of View (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), written during a year I spent as a guest of Monash University. Revisions and additions distinguishing this second edition from its predecessor were also undertaken at Monash during two subsequent visits. I am grateful to the University, to the School of Philosophy and Bioethics, and to my magnificent colleagues at Monash for support and encouragement. I am grateful as well to Davidson College for its generous support, material and otherwise.

John Heil
July 2003

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