Mind: A Brief Introduction
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Mind: A Brief Introduction

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  325 ratings  ·  30 reviews
"The philosophy of mind is unique among contemporary philosophical subjects," writes John Searle, "in that all of the most famous and influential theories are false." In Mind, Searle dismantles these famous and influential theories as he presents a vividly written, comprehensive introduction to the mind.
Here readers will find one of the world's most eminent thinkers shedd...more
Unknown Binding, 337 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published November 1st 2004)
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Greg
The question of the mind is a convoluted mess. Until recently I'd not given too much thought to the whole mind/body question, it's one of those questions that continental philosophy just doesn't give too much attention to. There are intersubjective questions like The Other, and that gets played out quite a bit, but to get into the real logical / science of it all is just something left to those unsexy analytical eggheads.

The ridiculousness of the question is that it's based on a bunch of assump...more
Bruce
Full disclosure before beginning this review of John Searle's Mind. Outside of speculative fiction and impressive displays of raw logic, I'm not a big fan of philosophy, far preferring empirically-based observation. I like to tell myself that I'm comfortable with the unknown. Got a way to discover something? Great! You do it (or at least describe it so others can do it). Just don't come yammering your certainties at me based exclusively on your own navel gazing. For me, faith is a pasttime, not...more
David Withun
While this book was not what I expected nor what the title seems to advertise, I was pleasantly surprised and immensely enjoyed reading it. Based upon the title (and no additional research), I assumed that this book would indeed by "a brief introduction" to the philosophy of mind. I expected something like a "Philosophy of Mind for Dummies" approach as is typical of such books and set out to introduce myself to the topic. Within the first chapter, however, I encountered the lament of the author...more
Robert Fischer
I thought a lot about whether to give this book four or five stars. Ultimately, I am giving it five stars because although the book is superb, it's a strangely written little book. Purportedly, John R. Searle set out to write an "intro to" text on the philosophy of the mind, and this book is that "intro to". Yet the text is not really for a new-comer to the field of cognitive science or philosophy of the mind — although I disagree with pretty much every conclusion and method in the text, I'd sug...more
Pishowi
While this book was not what I expected nor what the title seems to advertise, I was pleasantly surprised and immensely enjoyed reading it. Based upon the title (and no additional research), I assumed that this book would indeed by "a brief introduction" to the philosophy of mind. I expected something like a "Philosophy of Mind for Dummies" approach as is typical of such books and set out to introduce myself to the topic. Within the first chapter, however, I encountered the lament of the author...more
Andrew
When I read John Searle-- unlike many of the other analytic philosophers-- I get the feeling I'm dealing not with a specialist, but with a broad-ranging and fierce intellect. That being said, he faces what I feel to be the number one problem facing modern analytic philosophy-- a lot of it seems to be a very pointless language game, relying more on misapprehension of definition than anything else.

That being said, it is a very good primer on philosophy of mind, and I really do feel that Searle's C...more
Chris Ziesler
Searle's book provides an excellent overview to both the history of the philosophy of mind and the current state of understanding of this important area. His primary concern is the philosophical but he never shies away from describing how our philosophical understanding of the mind has to be aligned with and informed by neurobiological understanding and research.

What I found most refreshing about Searle's approach was his ability to ground his arguments in everyday experience and common sense. H...more
Michael Dorais
This was well worth reading. Searle describes his biological naturalism theory of mind while giving a review of other theories of mind which works well as a in introduction to the topic. I read this right after Ryle's Concept of Mind, which although its logical behavioral view left something out he did a good job for helping me to see how what is going on with our mental capacities and activities is nothing other-worldly or fundamentally mysterious, but something that is an integral part of the...more
Adam
Strangely, I'd recommend it less as an introductory text than one to [quickly] read if you are already deeply interested in the philosophical problems of the mind.

We all know, those of us who are captivated by this stuff, that there is a whole lot of bullshit in this subfield of Philosophy. But a lot of that bullshit is cleverly presented. Here, Searle cleverly dismantles much of this clever bullshitting. His own theory of the mind is not one I agree with, but it is essentially as convincing as...more
Mac
This is a fairly seductive book, in that it guides a reader very stealthily into fairly gnarly philosophical and scientific territory, all the while maintaining the voice of an old codger at the bar. If you’re so inclined, Searle uses this and a few others of his books as the primary texts for his Philosophy 132 course at UC Berkely, which is available as a podcast from iTunes U. Free & stuff. A library card and an iPod will get you a free class at Berkely. Just saying.

Anyway, Searle’s theor...more
Jerrod
As a skeptic reading into the philosophy of mind I can understand that the skeptical questions cannot be 'acknowledged.' Skepticism really needs it's own area of philosophy or nearly no recognition at all... there is not much room for a middle ground. So I do my best to move beyond my doubts and read the dogmatic works of authors 'wiser' than I. I enjoy Searle and find most often his opinions are not hidden, but displayed for all to see. Perhaps that goes to far, but I really can't stand reading...more
M
This is a very engaging book about the philosophy of mind. The most interesting idea of the book is that consciousness is a "property" of our brain, much like magnetic field can be a property of metal, or "wave" can be a property of a flock of birds. There is one problem though: this doesn't explain the free will, at least in my view. The author also writes that he doesn't know of a sufficient explanation of free will. The problem can be roughly put as: can the property affect the objects that c...more
Micha
While reading theory for my class on cognitive linguistics I saw Searle in the citations and grew curious. Was it the same Searle that I picked from the shelf at random? There was once a mystique to this Searle fellow, producing books of good introductory philosophy with excellent cover art that could change the way a girl thinks about thought. It's strange to be in an environment where my professor is an associate of Searle's. I'm still being introduced to this world of academia.

I remember bein...more
Joel
Searle attempts to summarize the current state of philosophy of mind as well as expound his own views in 240 very small pages. He does an admiral job of accomplishing the first goal and does a serviceable job on the second. Since this is a "brief introduction" I suppose detail must be left out somewhere, but at least a couple times I found myself puzzled by what Searle meant in expositions of solutions that he seems to think are crystal clear. It helps to have some background in philosophy to fo...more
Ryan
This might be more accurately sub-titled as "A Brief Introduction to Searle's Thought." I cannot fault him for wanting to promote what he feels is the correct philosophy of mind, but you'll only get a taste of the dissenting opinions.
Regardless, I do feel his analysis is correct for the most part. However, I can't help but feel that western philosophical approaches to the mind are misguided in trying to force rigid categories onto our experience. Early on, Searle argues that much of our difficu...more
Sławomir Molenda
It was quite entertaining at the beginning but in the middle of the book John R. Searle started to be boring and too predictable. I can't say it's a bad introduction to philosophy of mind ― it's rather a regular, academic book. You can read some chapters two or three times because they're so heavily packed with logic (which I liked actually).

In my opinion this academic style somehow killed the joy of exploration the topic and didn't left too much space for own thoughts. However, for students and...more
Neal
A very readable, informative primer on contemporary philosophy of mind. Searle is a leading philosopher, and his treatment of the area is clear and enjoyable. Unfortunately, he doesn't deal with heterophenomenology at all. If you're looking for that, look no further than Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness.
John
It started out dealing with the philosophy of the mind in an historical perspective and I got rather irritated by the labyrinthine nature of these arguments. When Searle settles down to express his own ideas, those made sense to me for awhile and then gradually they became completely incomprehensible. I think I prefer the science of the mind rather than the philosophy of the mind. I just get lost in the details which I find confusing at best and ludicrous at worst.
Jrobertus
Searle is a major philosopher of science, and his expertise is in analysis of consciousness. I think this is a matter for scientists, but I slogged through another philosopher of his stature. The effort confirmed by suspicions that understanding concsiousness is a job for science. The only interesting part of this book was a clever anallysis of the role of illusion in an argument for perceptional realism. Overall, nbot worth reading.
Mike
While reading this book, I often thought Searle has some penetrating insights. Other times I would be in the middle of a chapter, and I would ask myself if there was an argument to support his claim other than prefacing the claims with the words "really," "clearly," and "obviously."
Deniz
Searle and his approach to Philopsoy may not satisfy everyone but his effort to explain the issues in Philosopy clearly is amazing! Anyone who wants to get into Philosopy should read it.
Mohammad
Searle will change the way you think. He engages with some of the basic premises of our existence and is able to write in the most simplest of ways. Hard to find in philosophers!
Ruth
He lays out a good and clear argument for Compatibilism.
Free will or pre-determined or can it be both? That's the question at hand. Examining consciousness.
June
Searle writes that he is a monist however he believes in "mental stuff" not related to neuron activity. He is a dualist in my book.
Lee Staman
For a philosophy of mind book, this was easily readable and Searle provides a good overview of the various topics at hand.
Ιωάννης Πλεξίδας
Πολύ καλό βιβλίο, αν και όχι εισαγωγή, όπως τουλάχιστον λέει ο τίτλος του. Προϋποθέτει κάποιες γνώσεις.
Jafar
A good introductory book on philosophy of mind. His main point is that both dualism and materlism are wrong.
Aziz
Searle is one of a few philosophers who, to me, makes sense in regards to the free will debate
TiffBurlin
its complicated but def different understanding
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John Rogers Searle (born July 31, 1932 in Denver, Colorado) is an American philosopher and the Slusser Professor of Philosophy and Mills Professor of Philosophy of Mind and Language at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and social philosophy, he was the first tenured professor to join the Free S...more
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