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Mind: A Brief Introduction

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  467 Ratings  ·  43 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
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Unknown Binding, 337 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published November 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,207)
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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
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Kyle van Oosterum
Feb 22, 2016 Kyle van Oosterum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
"Philosophy begins with a mystery and wonder at what any sane person regards as too obvious to worry about." - John R. Searle.

An extremely compelling introduction to consciousness, perception, causation and personal identity. Full to the brim with whimsical thought experiments - the zombie, 'what is it like to be a bat?', the brain in a vat - one really begins to understand the problems that plague the Philosophy of Mind.
Bruce
Sep 25, 2009 Bruce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeremiah
Searle, the hobgoblin of philosophy of mind, lets his overly defensive, grating personality shine through in this breezy introduction.
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
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جابر طاحون

" أسوأ الأشياء التي يمكن القيام بها هي أن توحي للقراءأنهم يفهمون شيئًا بينما في الواقع لا يفهمونه"
Chris Ziesler
Aug 25, 2014 Chris Ziesler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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David Withun
Aug 24, 2012 David Withun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Sep 01, 2012 Pishowi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mike Hinds
Jul 02, 2015 Mike Hinds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great overview of many/most/all significant issues related to philosophy of mind, written by one of the giants of the field. Detailed discussions of consciousness and selfhood were among two of the book's numerous highlights.

Oddly enough, this became my bathroom book for a time. Read in that context, "dualism" took on a whole new meaning!

This is a philosophy book, which means it can be rather slow-going at times on account of the complicated arguments found therein. This complexity, co
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Deniz
Sep 30, 2013 Deniz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jakob
Apr 14, 2016 Jakob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This book is John Searle's attempt at giving a brief overview of what he sees as the most pressing questions in the philosophy of mind.
The most central issue of them all is to give an account of the nature of consciousness and how it fits into what we know about the world. For Searle, the two most influential ways of answering this problem—dualism and materialism—do not hold water.

When it comes to dualism, it's simply not very coherent. It supposes that mind and body are different things altoge
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Chris Naylor
The book I read immediately before this one was Consciousness Explained. Coming after Dennett's contorted and wearisome attempts to convince himself and us that mental experience isn't what it quite obviously is, it's something of a relief to read Searle, who is very much the plain man's philosopher. For Searle, if that's how it looks, then that's how it is. If it looks as if the brain is capable of creating 1st person subjective qualitative experience, then that's just what the brain does. If i ...more
Michael
Nov 21, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
The author argues that moral debates are interminable because there is no consensus about community goals nor is there a moral framework or priority list. It is necessary to restore teleology to the moral discussion and advocates a return to Aristotle's telos. He argues that the emotivists are incorrect, that our values can be based upon human needs. He considers five moral traditions which are personified by Homer, Aristotle, the New Testament, Jane Austen and Benjamin Franklin. Homer's values ...more
Gary Bruff
This concise work by an important philosopher of language provides a somewhat intriguing but ultimately wrong-headed if not outright dangerous approach to the phenomena of language and cognition. There are many category errors in MIND: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION. I will mention only two.

First of all, Searle shares with Chomsky and with most mainstream linguists a certain dogmatic belief. Roughly, this belief is that language is for thinking, and any other reflexes that are enabled by the minds of us
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Michael Dorais
Feb 25, 2014 Michael Dorais rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 05, 2010 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mac
Jun 05, 2012 Mac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jerrod
Nov 10, 2010 Jerrod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Randy Hulshizer
Jun 01, 2015 Randy Hulshizer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Interesting little introduction to philosophy of mind. Searle certainly is not attempting an "unbiased" survey of current and/or historical thought (not that any text is "unbiased"), and he often leaves his arguments intentionally un-fleshed out. However, I think that those at all levels of familiarity with philosophy of mind will enjoy this book.
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
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Joel
Jun 25, 2008 Joel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
M
Nov 06, 2014 M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
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
Laura Cooper
Sep 11, 2015 Laura Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice introduction, a very good style and I agree with his position of biological naturalism, so everything is good.
Dallas Eckman
Dec 24, 2014 Dallas Eckman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great survey of the field of neurobiology and cognitive science's understanding of the human mind.
Ryan
Jul 06, 2008 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Talbot Hook
Sep 07, 2015 Talbot Hook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, this is a truly excellent introductory text. I learned a lot, and questioned even more, which is really the basis of philosophy. So, cheers to that.
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
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Neal
Jan 21, 2010 Neal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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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