The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them

Overview

Science has always created problems for traditional ways of seeing things, but now the very attributes that make us human—free will, the permanence of personal identity, the existence of the soul—are threatened by the science of the mind. If the mind is the brain, and therefore a physical object subject to deterministic laws, how can we have free will? If most of our thoughts and impulses are unconscious, how can we be morally responsible for what we do? If brains and bodies undergo relentless change, how can our...

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The Problem Of The Soul: Two Visions Of Mind And How To Reconcile Them

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Overview

Science has always created problems for traditional ways of seeing things, but now the very attributes that make us human—free will, the permanence of personal identity, the existence of the soul—are threatened by the science of the mind. If the mind is the brain, and therefore a physical object subject to deterministic laws, how can we have free will? If most of our thoughts and impulses are unconscious, how can we be morally responsible for what we do? If brains and bodies undergo relentless change, how can our identities be constant? The Problem of the Soul shows the way out of these paradoxes. Framing the conflict in terms of two dominant visions of the mind—the "manifest image" of humanistic philosophy and theology, and the scientific image—Owen Flanagan demonstrates that there is common ground, and that we need not give up our ideas of moral responsibility and personal freedom in order to have an empirically sound view of the human mind. This is a profoundly relevant work of philosophy for the common reader.

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Editorial Reviews

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Flanagan is a sparkling writer, leavening rigorous philosophical exposition with intimate personal disclosures, vivid examples, and humor. The Problem of the Soul is a pleasure to read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465024612
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 6/12/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 935,454
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Duke University. The author of the classic Consciousness Reconsidered, he lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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