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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This is an excellent new book based on a conference on Voluntary Action: Joint (Ad-) Ventures at the Interface of Nature and Culture, which was held in Germany in March 2000. The book covers a wide range of disciplines including cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and social science aspects of action, agency, and intention. Written and edited by scholars in the field, this book is a valuable contribution to neuroscience and philosophy.
Purpose: The purpose of the book, according to the editors, is to attempt to establish bridges linking the various disciplines that deal with the topic of voluntary action. This book is a preliminary step toward that goal and the editors and authors have succeeded in producing an outstanding and thought-provoking work.
Audience: The intended audience is neuroscientists, philosophers, psychologists, and social scientists. Attorneys, psychiatrists, and graduate students in the above disciplines would also enjoy this book.
Features: The book features 379 pages divided into five sections and 16 chapters. Section 1 reviews the psychology of voluntary action. Section 2 reviews the cognitive neuroscientific aspects of voluntary action. Section 3 addresses philosophical accounts of voluntary action. Section 4 covers the legal aspects, in terms of criminal law with an interesting chapter on criminal responsibility. This section also covers the socio-anthropological aspects of voluntary action. The final section attempts to synthesize these diverse disciplines. Each chapter concludes with relevant and timely references. There are also helpful author and subject indexes at the end of the book.
Assessment: This is an outstanding new book with a multidisciplinary approach to voluntary action. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in fascinating area.