Mind in Everyday Life and Cognitive Science

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Overview

Although cognitive science has obtained abundant data on neural and computational processes, it barely explains such ordinary experiences as recognizing faces, feeling pain, or remembering the past. In this book Sunny Auyang tackles what she calls "the large pictures of the human mind," exploring the relevance of cognitive science findings to everyday mental life. Auyang proposes a model of an "open mind emerging from the self-organization of infrastructures," which she opposes to prevalent models that treat mind as a disembodied brain or computer, subject to the control of external agents such as neuroscientists and programmers. Her model consists of three parts: (1) the open mind of our conscious life; (2) mind's infrastructure, the unconscious processes studied by cognitive science; and (3) emergence, the relation between the open mind and its infrastructure.

At the heart of Auyang's model is the mind that opens to the world and makes it intelligible. A person with an open mind feels, thinks, recognizes, believes, doubts,
anticipates, fears, speaks, and listens, and is aware of I, together with
it and thou. Cognitive scientists refer to the "binding problem," the question of how myriad unconscious processes combine into the unity of consciousness.
Auyang approaches the problem from the other end -- by starting with everyday experience rather than with the mental infrastructure. In so doing, she shows both how analyses of experiences can help to advance cognitive science and how cognitive science can help us to understand ourselves as autonomous subjects.

The MIT Press

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"With courage and verve, and in a style accessible to general readers, Jablonka andLamb lay out some of the exciting new pathways of Darwinian evolution that have been uncovered by contemporary research."—Evelyn Fox Keller, MIT, author of *Making Sense of Life: ExplainingBiological Development with Models, Metaphors and Machines*

"A brilliant and deeply original work. Auyang's argument for what would be required for an adequate theory of mind—i.e., for a coherent and self-consistent solution to the 'binding problem' that currently plagues cognitive science—is a tour de force. "—Evelyn Fox Keller, MIT,author of *Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors andMachines*

"This is a scholarly book. Written in an accessible and direct style, it undertakes a comprehensive review of current theories of mind. Drawing on a wide range of examples rooted in common sense, Dr. Auyang provides a powerful argument for the view that the mind is an emergent property of complex physical entities—its infrastructures."—Mriganka Sur, Sherman FairchildProfessor of Neuroscience and Head, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

"A brilliant and deeply original work. Auyang's argument for whatwould be required for an adequate theory of mind—i.e., for a coherentand self-consistent solution to the'binding problem' that currently plagues cognitive science—is a tour de force."Evelyn Fox Keller , Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Evelyn Fox Keller

A brilliant and deeply original work. Auyang's argument for what would be required for an adequate theory of mind -- i.e., for a coherent and self-consistent solution to the 'binding problem' that currently plagues cognitive science -- is a tour de force.

Mriganka Sur

This is a scholarly book. Written in an accessible and direct style, it undertakes a comprehensive review of current theories of mind. Drawing on a wide range of examples rooted in common sense, Dr. Auyang provides a powerful argument for the view that the mind is an emergent property of complex physical entities -- its infrastructures.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262011815
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2001
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sunny Y. Auyang holds a Ph.D. in physics and has written many books on the philosophical significance of quantum field theory and on complex-system theories.
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
1 The Emergence of Mind 1
2 The Openness of Mind 13
2 The Prevailing Theory of Mind and Its Discontents 25
3 How Mind Loses Its Body and World 25
4 The Closed Mind as Brain or Computer 39
5 The Control Power of Mind Designers 59
6 Mind Engaged in and Open to the World 79
3 The Emergence of Mind from It Infrastructures 93
7 Toward a Natural and Self-Consistent Model of Mind 93
8 The Mental Infrastructure: Locus of Cognitive Science 102
9 How Scientists Probe Infrastructural Processes 123
10 The Connection between Mind and Its Infrastructure 135
11 The General Notion of Emergence 159
12 Emergence of the Unity of Consciousness 177
13 Situated Properties and the Engaged-Personal Level 196
4 Language and Modularity: How Far Is Mind Analyzable? 209
14 Universal Grammar and Its Interpretations 209
15 Syntactic Competence and Its Infrastructure 229
5 Concepts in Perception: Making Things Intelligible 243
16 Two-Way Traffic in the Visual Infrastructure 243
17 Open, Closed, and Ecological Theories of Perception 262
6 Constructive Memory: Making Time Intelligible 283
18 More than Files on a Wet Disk 283
19 Giving Meaning to the Past and the Future 298
7 Emotion and Reason: Making Purposes Intelligible 317
20 From Bodily Feeling to Motivation 317
21 Impulsive and Cognitive Circuits Underlying Emotion 327
8 Mind Open to the World 343
22 How Is Intelligibility of the World Possible? 343
23 Intelligence, Consciousness, and Intentionality 354
24 Possibility: Opening the Informative Horizon 368
25 Perspectives and the Objectivity of Experiences 388
26 Subjectivity, Intersubjectivity, and Community 421
27 The Intelligible World: Everyday and Scientific 443
28 Language, Narrative, and Freedom of Action 460
App The Human Brain 477
Notes 481
References 489
Index 509
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