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Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  95 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews

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, C

Hardcover, 1st edition, 568 pages
Published April 30th 2007 by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
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Mind in Life by Evan ThompsonThe Embodied Mind by Francisco J. VarelaTree of Knowledge by Humberto R. MaturanaIncomplete Nature by Terrence W. DeaconZen and the Brain by James H. Austin
Embodied Cognition
1st out of 89 books — 8 voters
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel KahnemanThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver SacksThe Blank Slate by Steven PinkerHow the Mind Works by Steven PinkerThe Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
Best Cognitive Science Books
99th out of 220 books — 257 voters

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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?" Evan Thompson sets out to show that living things are synonymous with mental things drawing from molecular biology, evolutionary theory, neuroscience, complex systems theory, psychology, phenomenology, and analytic philosophy. Following Gregory Bateson and Francisco Varela before him, Thomps ...more
Bob Nichols
Jul 30, 2013 Bob Nichols rated it liked it
Thompson argues against “genocentrism” and also against those cognitive scientists who overly separate the mind from the body. In the former perspective, life is more or less a passive vehicle, acted upon by forces outside the “self.” Behavior is determined by random mutation and natural selection, and information related to the outside world is encoded genetically. In the latter, the self is isolated from “intersubjectivity” and culture.

In contrast to this implicit determinism, Thompson stress
Barış Özgür
Sep 15, 2016 Barış Özgür rated it really liked it
gavurların groundbreaking dediği cinsten bir nikahına al, ayrı ev aç kitabı. hans jonas ve von üexküll'ün beraber anıldığı, husserl'in heidegger ile omuz omuza fMRI ve magnetoensefalografi ile kapıştığı soluksuz bir macera. evet, katil gene descartes çıkıyor sonunda. kıyamıyorum da terese :)
Nov 08, 2012 Duff rated it liked it

Very intense, scholarly work. At times, I was completely lost in analysis of philosophers and philosophies that I thought I knew. A number of times I simply moved on. Can't recommend it more highly, simply because I feel I did not grasp many of the finer points that true students of philosophy probably got on first reading.
steven caro
Fascinating subject, tortuous writing. Admittedly, I don't care for the way systems thinkers present their thoughts. I prefer Neurophilosophy by Patricia Churchland.
Ted Stark
Feb 06, 2014 Ted Stark rated it it was amazing
Wide ranging, large in scope, richly supported,rigorous. I was delighted with it and will be likely to refer to it again.
Aug 22, 2009 Ken added it
An excellent compilation and review of the latest thinking and literature on phenomenology, consciousness. Possibly panpsychist?
Eli Brooke
Jan 18, 2013 Eli Brooke marked it as did-not-finish
Little bit too academic in tone, couldn't hold my attention, though the subject matter is definitely intriguing.
Apr 06, 2010 DJ marked it as to-read
Shelves: brain
great think on consciousness and embodiment; recommended by John Kowalko
Jul 24, 2011 Jessie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
so far, really great!
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  • The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
  • Action in Perception
  • Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living
  • The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications
  • Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again
  • Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter
  • The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding
  • A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination
  • Order Out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature
  • The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology
  • The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans
  • The Phenomenological Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
  • Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought
  • The Computational Brain
  • I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self
  • Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA
  • Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind
  • Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology

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“We human beings constitute and reconstitute ourselves through cultural traditions, which we experience as our own development in a historical time that spans the generations. To investigate the life-world as horizon and ground of all experience therefore requires investigating none other than generativity - the processes of becoming, of making and remaking, that occur over the generations and within which any individual genesis is always already situated. ... Individual subjectivity is intersubjectively and culturally embodied, embedded, and emergent.” 1 likes
“The organism's environment is the sense it makes of the world. This environment is a place of significance and valence, as a result of the global action of the organism.” 0 likes
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