Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience: Three Approaches to the Mind: A Synthetic Analysis of the Varieties of Human Experience

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience: Three Approaches to the Mind: A Synthetic Analysis of the Varieties of Human Experience

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience: Three Approaches to the Mind: A Synthetic Analysis of the Varieties of Human Experience

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience: Three Approaches to the Mind: A Synthetic Analysis of the Varieties of Human Experience

Synopsis

In this book Hundert proposes a new, unified view of the mind, one that integrates the insights of philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists. Through a detailed discussion of major theories from these and related disciplines, he gradually reveals links between what were previously unconnected approaches to human thought and experience.

Excerpt

Biographers of academicians are fond of uncovering the roots of an author's ideas in his or her personality or temperament. And why not? It only makes sense that analytical philosophers grew up asking questions about how things work, what things are made of, and how we know what we do about them. At the other extreme are those synthetic, 'dialectical' thinkers who grew up wondering how things tie together, how they fit into the bigger picture.

From the first pages of this book, it will be obvious that I fall into the latter category. The strange notion that I might tie together such diverse disciplines as philosophy, psychiatry, and neuroscience, and paint them into a bigger picture of the mind, demonstrates the extremes to which such a temperament can lead. Now, after seven years of hard work, I find myself introducing a book which makes this synthetic notion more obvious than it is strange (and also makes the varied directions of my academic career look more like a purposeful journey than the random walk it at times appeared to be!).

A great convergence of diverse discoveries has made this synthesis possible, and so it should almost go without saying that I owe a great deal to all the thinkers whose work I have built upon here. While thanks are rarely given in places such as this to people not known personally by the author, I would like to begin by thanking the authors of certain secondary sources whose work had special impact on my understanding and appreciation of primary works. Thanks especially to P. F. Strawson, J. L. Mackie, J. H. Flavell, and A. H. Modell for helping me discover the true depth of genius of Kant, Locke, Piaget, and Freud, with extra special thanks to Robert Solomon for articulating the simple truths I have long believed are hidden in the writings of G. W. F. Hegel. Thanks also to such contemporary thinkers as G. Edelman, D. Parfit, R. Kegan, F. Melges, J. Fodor, D. Hubel, and T. Wiesel, without whose genius this work would truly not be possible. There are, of course, many other thinkers to whom I owe a great debt, and I have tried to acknowledge all of them by including at the end of each chapter a list of sources used in preparing it. (This is, essentially, a list of the books and articles covering my desk while writing the chapter, even if no direct quotations were taken from some of them.)

On the more personal side, I would like to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to Sir Geoffrey Warnock, under whose wise and gentle instruction all of my philosophical ideas were given shape. I shall always count among my greatest of good fortunes the many magical hours I

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