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Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading
     

Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading

by Alvin I. Goldman
 

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People are minded creatures; we have thoughts, feelings and emotions. More intriguingly, we grasp our own mental states, and conduct the business of ascribing them to ourselves and others without instruction in formal psychology. How do we do this? And what are the dimensions of our grasp of the mental realm? In this book, Alvin I. Goldman explores these questions

Overview

People are minded creatures; we have thoughts, feelings and emotions. More intriguingly, we grasp our own mental states, and conduct the business of ascribing them to ourselves and others without instruction in formal psychology. How do we do this? And what are the dimensions of our grasp of the mental realm? In this book, Alvin I. Goldman explores these questions with the tools of philosophy, developmental psychology, social psychology and cognitive neuroscience. He refines an approach called simulation theory, which starts from the familiar idea that we understand others by putting ourselves in their mental shoes. Can this intuitive idea be rendered precise in a philosophically respectable manner, without allowing simulation to collapse into theorizing? Given a suitable definition, do empirical results support the notion that minds literally create (or attempt to create) surrogates of other peoples mental states in the process of mindreading? Goldman amasses a surprising array of evidence from psychology and neuroscience that supports this hypothesis.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Simulating Minds is an impressive achievement. It combines rich scholarship with clear, lively, and original argument to give us by far the best and most comprehensive defense of the simulation theory perspective that has been produced to date. Goldman's book is essential reading for all philosophers and empirical researchers interested in mindreading."—Stephen Stich, Rutgers University

"Alvin Goldman's Simulating Minds provides a superb and thought-provoking account of mind reading. Simulating Minds bridges philosophy of mind, psychology, and neuroscience, combining scholarly depth with a brilliant style. This is not only the definitive book on simulation theory but also a must-read for all people interested in knowing more about what it means to be human."—Vittorio Gallese, Universita' di Parma

"Alvin Goldman is a distinguished epistemologist. For several years he has also been one of the leading advocates of the simulation theory of human mindreading. Goldman's approach is hybrid and highly interdisciplinary. It gives a central, though by no means exclusive, role to mental simulation. Goldman makes sense of an impressive amount of empirical evidence from cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and social psychology. This evidence enables him to make a convincing case for the importance of mental simulation in both low-level and high-level tasks of third-person mindreading. In addition, Goldman offers his own account of first-person mindreading. This book has been awaited for some time: it brilliantly illustrates how a philosopher can contribute to an area that is currently subjected to much cognitive scientific investigation by sharpening the basic concepts involved." —Pierre Jacob, Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS, Paris

"This impressive book is sufficiently clear and accessible to serve as an introduction to simulation theory yet is full of new ideas. It is very clearly the work of a philosopher yet provides an extraordinarily informative guide to the relevant literature in cognitive science and neuroscience. Indeed, for everyone who is interested in our ability to understand each other as minded creatures, Simulating Minds is essential reading."—Martin Davies, Wilde Professor of Mental Philosophy, University of Oxford

"This superb book richly displays Goldman's virtues as a philosopher—it's clear, engaging, philosophically sensitive, and scrupulously well-informed about the science. It is also the most powerful statement of simulation theory to date."—Shaun Nichols, University of Arizona

"Simulating Minds is an impressive achievement. It combines rich scholarship with clear, lively, and original argument to give us by far the best and most comprehensive defense of the simulation theory perspective that has been produced to date. Goldman's book is essential reading for all philosophers and empirical researchers interested in mindreading."—Stephen Stich, Rutgers University

"Alvin Goldman's Simulating Minds provides a superb and thought-provoking account of mind reading. Simulating Minds bridges philosophy of mind, psychology, and neuroscience, combining scholarly depth with a brilliant style. This is not only the definitive book on simulation theory but also a must-read for all people interested in knowing more about what it means to be human."—Vittorio Gallese, Universita' di Parma

"Alvin Goldman is a distinguished epistemologist. For several years he has also been one of the leading advocates of the simulation theory of human mindreading. Goldman's approach is hybrid and highly interdisciplinary. It gives a central, though by no means exclusive, role to mental simulation. Goldman makes sense of an impressive amount of empirical evidence from cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and social psychology. This evidence enables him to make a convincing case for the importance of mental simulation in both low-level and high-level tasks of third-person mindreading. In addition, Goldman offers his own account of first-person mindreading. This book has been awaited for some time: it brilliantly illustrates how a philosopher can contribute to an area that is currently subjected to much cognitive scientific investigation by sharpening the basic concepts involved." —Pierre Jacob, Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS, Paris

"This impressive book is sufficiently clear and accessible to serve as an introduction to simulation theory yet is full of new ideas. It is very clearly the work of a philosopher yet provides an extraordinarily informative guide to the relevant literature in cognitive science and neuroscience. Indeed, for everyone who is interested in our ability to understand each other as minded creatures, Simulating Minds is essential reading."—Martin Davies, Wilde Professor of Mental Philosophy, University of Oxford

"This superb book richly displays Goldman's virtues as a philosopher—it's clear, engaging, philosophically sensitive, and scrupulously well-informed about the science. It is also the most powerful statement of simulation theory to date."—Shaun Nichols, University of Arizona

"Goldman's knowledge and drawing together of the field is impressive and there is certainly a great deal to be learned from this book..."—Minds & Machines

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198031765
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/06/2006
Series:
Philosophy of Mind
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
598 KB

Meet the Author

Alvin I. Goldman is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

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