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The Mind Club

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  457 ratings  ·  62 reviews
From dogs to gods, dive into the science of mysterious minds—including your own.

Nothing seems more real than the minds of other people. When you consider what your boss is thinking or whether your spouse is happy, you are admitting them into the “mind club.” It’s easy to assume other humans can think and feel, but what about a cow, a computer, a corporation? What kinds of
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by Viking
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  457 ratings  ·  62 reviews


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Chris Branch
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Well, I could be wrong, but I suspect this book is primarily the work of Kurt Gray, rather than Daniel Wegner. Having read a couple of books by Wegner, as well as having taken one of his undergraduate courses back in the 80s, it just seems that the voice and tone here is different. And nothing against Gray, but I don't think this book quite measures up to Wegner's work.

The subject matter is fascinating, and well worth the book treatment. But Gray seems to be trying too hard here to be a comedian
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Alicea
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How do you know that your friends and family aren't mindless zombies? Does your cat love you like you love it? Does God ever get hungry?

This book won't answer those questions but it will make you think outside of the box and ask even more questions which in my opinion is awesome. The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why It Matters by Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray was a fun ride. These two psychologists look at what makes up a 'mind' and who should be entered into the mind club (e.g. plant
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M
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really got a kick out of this book.

Maybe it is old news to others, but this was my introduction to the concept (or at least the introduction that stuck) of moral patiency. I feel like the moral agency v. moral patiency dichotomy -- the dyadic nature of morality -- is a major "level-up" for my understanding of moral intuitions.

Also, the book called to my attention the work of Derek Parfit, which I am going to spend some time getting better acquainted with.

The book is largely a tour of some of t
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Ghalia
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
A nice and page turning book about how we perceive minds around us starting from animals, computers, deceased people and even our own minds.
Robert
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
The central theme of this book is some research about how people feel about different kinds of minds. At it's heart it's a Harvard Business Review style quadrant analysis with the two dimensions being doing and feeling (and doers doing things to feelers). This isn't nearly as interesting (or difficult) as actually trying to understand different minds. This is touched on briefly and mainly via that experiment where people report that they made a decision half a second after their body started doi ...more
Rita Vo
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mesmerizing. This book could have you question about your existence and doubt everything you thought you knew. Informative, interesting, yet not actually relaxing to read.
Tim
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quiz time. Which of the following have minds?

The family dog
An advanced AI program
A corporation
A fetus
A venus fly trap
A bedbug
A person in a vegetative state
God
An ant colony
A strict religious cult
A person that has been deceased for ten years

The way you answer determines who you think deserves entry into the titular mind club. There is only one entry requirement – you have to have a mind.

This book was a fun, popular treatment of the nebulous concept of mind – what a mind is and what kinds of things
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Scott Wozniak
Apr 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an interesting philosophical and scientific exploration of what it means to have a mind--and how whether we believe that about another creature has big impact on how we treat them. From slavery to artificial intelligence to abortion, this is at the heart of our choices.

The book gets high marks for identifying two independent variables to a mind: the ability to act as we choose and the ability to experience, especially to suffer. We can believe high or low for each person. For example a
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Meghan
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Mind Club is a psychological and philosophical exploration of our perception of minds -- our own minds and the "minds" of others: animals, babies, machines, enemies, "silent minds", groups, the dead, and God. This book provides frameworks for thinking about minds, consciousness, and human behavior more generally, all founded on the principle that we perceive minds through a dyadic lens: they exhibit agency (and are therefore considered agents) and / or have the ability to experience (and are ...more
Richard Thompson
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A intriguing look at "mind" and consciousness that I hadn't come across in my other readings. I Wegner's view (and the view of his collaborator, Kurt Gray) mind isn't something that we can observe so we construct and image the minds of those in our environment (including our own). We intuitively sort people, animals, infants, robots, corporations, coma victims and dead people according to how much "mind" we perceive them to have. We also — and this was the interesting twist on the subject — see ...more
Gibson
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a folksy popular psychology book written by erudite authors. The agent/patient duality is an interesting one and provides useful insights in two chapters in particular: the enemy and he group. The patient is quite a good chapter, but the chapter on the animal was thin except where it leant on Peter Singer. The chapters on the dead and God had me skimming over them, but I went back just in case there was something. I was disappointed.
Overall I came away with half a dozen well thought out
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Ryan Young
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
what is a mind? who or what qualifies as having a mind? how does granting something or someone a 'mind' change the way we need to treat them? at what point does a creature deserve something on the order of human rights? at what point do we hold a human 100% responsible for its actions? how about 0%? why do humans seek an agent to explain phenomena of all kinds? the mind club explores these questions and more!
Rossdavidh
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: green, blue
This book opens with a pretty heavy piece of news. One of the authors, Daniel Wegner, died before it was published. What is more, he died of ALS, and towards the very end of his life, he was essentially a mind only, with his body able to do little more than breathe (and eventually, not even that). It is almost certainly not a complete coincidence that Wegner had become interested in the topic, but since he was a Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he must have had an interest in the relations be ...more
Rhiannon
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More Books Like This, Please!

This was a satisfying sampler of psychology and philosophy. I call it a sampler because it's the first book of its kind that I've read and it whet my appetite for more. While reading this, I supplemented it with Crash Course Philosophy on YouTube and Robert Arp's The Devil and Philosophy. I needed the former to better understand the latter, but watching those videos while reading this book was a winning combination, too. My perception of the world is forever changed.
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Wing
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anything that is perceived to have both agency and patiency is a mind. However, our perceptions get frequently distorted through anthropomorphism, anthropocentrism, machine-state functionalism, egocentrism, dehumanization, objectification, entitativity, intuitive mind-body dualism, and apophenia, to name a few examples. Our propensity to multistable perception renders the simultaneous perception of agency/patiency and mind/body at times difficult, further distorting our views towards sentience. ...more
Suzanne
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was quite disappointed in this book. Chris Branch's insightful review below sums up the main reasons why I felt this way. I would only add two comments. First, that I found the authors assumption that psychology is a science, along with their sometimes specious arguments relying on this assumption, problematic. Second, I found the injection of politics into unnecessary realms (usually accompanied by a lack of parallel structure) aggravating and distracting in a book that should have been apoli ...more
Florent Diverchy
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very comprehensive introduction to all the questions related to mind:
- Which animals do we perceive as having a mind, and why?
- Why, during war, we try to forget that our enemies have mind too?
- When will we be able to say that a machine has a mind?
- When does mind arise in the unborn child
- At which moment of death is the mind disappearing?
- Do people in coma or vegetative state have a mind?
And many more question you were not expecting but who tend to be very interesting and thought provoking
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J Crossley
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This philosophical book looks at what makes a mind a mind. How do we think about thinking, and how do we see other beings and their minds. People look at minds in two realms. One is the inside mind, which is experience, and the other is the from the outside, which is agency. It seems that there are many ways that we skew other people’s minds. For instance, we see our enemies as having limited or distorted minds, and we see animals that are more like ourselves as having a better mind than animals ...more
Bill Holmes
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this to learn more about how your subconscious mind works to explain events and place blame. I was fascinated by discussion of dyadic completion, or how we tend to attribute intentions to the actions of people or things. This book helped me better understand other's behavior as well as my own. It is a nice compliment to Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki, and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
David Teachout
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, psychology, science
Filled with great research and wit, this is a book you read when you want your intuitive thoughts challenged and sense of self questioned. A careful look at what “mind” is, how we use the concept and it’s implications for how we live our lives. The struggle with what you learn here is worth every moment.
Mehrsa
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is so much to think about here. Some interesting research and some great questions. There were several pronouncements in there that I thought needed more evidence. The section on free will, in my opinion was the weakest. Or perhaps I just wanted more.
Sam
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting read with a broad range of research areas covered and noted. However, there isn't a clear take-away from this book. I guess that's in no small part due to the fact that understanding the mind itself is difficult and with a lot of open questions.
JP
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This truly one of the best book in the world
Wow!!
Really enjoyed the journey
It's more like discipline approach by authors to give a neat and clear expression of the topic they discussed
I felt very very bad, when the book got over
Thanks to authors
Antonio
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great theory about how we perceive and classify minds giving them moral rights based on agency and experience. It provides great insight on human behaviour based on these mind perceptions.
Meshal Khojah
May 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As an Audiobook it was hard to follow.
Donna
A fun, light look at what is mind and how we perceive it.
Raja Annam
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Fun and interesting read.
Dan
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
A popular psychology book for light and casual reading. Ok for those who want to get exposed to the subject of a perception and psychology on mind.
Pamela
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book about the mind, self, consciousness was well written and thought provoking. Quote of note, "we are a source of perception; all minds rest in perception." Studies confirm that, "there is a high correlation between the mind wandering and unhappiness. People with mind in the here and now are happier.."
Caroline
Sep 30, 2016 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very interesting and comprehensive book about how we perceive our own and other people's minds, and how little we are really aware of how it works, what we think, perceive, etc. and why.... and who we give credit to as having a mind like ours. Do animals have minds, and are they able to think in equivalent ways to us?
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“So next time your selflessness is praised in front of others, beware: making sacrifices for others makes it easier for them to sacrifice you.” 0 likes
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