Imagination and the Meaningful Brain

Overview

The ultimate goal of the cognitive sciences is to understand how the brain works—how it turns "matter into imagination." In Imagination and the Meaningful Brain, psychoanalyst ArnoldModell claims that subjective human experience must be included in any scientific explanation of how the mind/brain works. Contrary to current attempts to describe mental functioning as a form of computation, his view is that the construction of meaning is not the same as information processing.

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Overview

The ultimate goal of the cognitive sciences is to understand how the brain works—how it turns "matter into imagination." In Imagination and the Meaningful Brain, psychoanalyst ArnoldModell claims that subjective human experience must be included in any scientific explanation of how the mind/brain works. Contrary to current attempts to describe mental functioning as a form of computation, his view is that the construction of meaning is not the same as information processing.

The intrapsychic complexities of human psychology, as observed through introspection and empathic knowledge of other minds, must be added to the third-person perspective of cognitive psychology and neuroscience.Assuming that other mammals are conscious and conscious of their feelings, Modell emphasizes evolutionary continuities and discontinuities of emotion. The limbic system, the emotional brain, is of ancient origin, but only humans have the capacity for generative imagination.

By means of metaphor, we are able to interpret, displace, and transform our feelings. To bolster his argument, Modell draws on a variety of disciplines—including psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology,neurobiology, evolutionary biology, linguistics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind.

Only by integrating the objectivity of neuroscience, the phenomenology of introspection, and the intersubjective knowledge of psychoanalysis, he claims, will we be able fully to understand how the mind works.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A profound rumination on the perennial problem of how to understand other minds."
Jung-In Kwon Journal of Consciousness Studies

The MIT Press

"A profound rumination on the perennial problem of how to understand other minds."
Jung-In Kwon Journal of Consciousness Studies

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262633437
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Series: Philosophical Psychopathology
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,217,858
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Arnold H. Modell is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Uncertain Steps toward a Biology of Meaning 1
2 Metaphor, Memory, and Unconscious Imagination 25
3 Imagination's Autonomy 49
4 The Corporeal Imagination 69
5 Intentionality and the Self 91
6 Directing the Imagination 111
7 The Uniqueness of Human Feelings 131
8 Feelings and Value 151
9 Imagining Other Minds 171
10 Mirror Neurons, Gestures, and the Origins of Metaphor 183
11 Experience and the Mind-Body Problem 193
Notes 205
References 217
Index 235
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