Neither Brain nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory

Neither Brain nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory

by W. Teed Rockwell

Hardcover

$8.75

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262182478
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 08/12/2005
Series: Bradford Books Series
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

W. Teed Rockwell is in the philosophy department at Sonoma State University.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     xi
Minds, Brains, and Behavior     1
Functionalism     3
Eliminative Materialism     4
Some Cartesian Materialist Presuppositions     9
Ryle's Dispositional Psychology     11
A Rylean Alternative to Functionalist Cartesian Materialism     12
Beyond the Cranium     21
Beyond the Neuronal Mind     37
The James-Cannon Debate     37
New Data on the Relationship between the Body and Emotions/Sensations     39
Is Causation Different from Embodiment?     44
Causation and Embodiment     51
Mill's Criticism of Atomistic Causality     51
The Lure of Atomistic Causality     55
Mill's Criticism (and the Modern Defense) of Intrinsic Causal Powers     59
The Myth of the Autonomous Mind-Brain     65
Supervenience, Causation, and Embodiment     69
Experience, Sense Data, and Language: Putting Experience Back into the Environment     83
Language and Thought as Biological and Functional Categories     90
Subjective Experience and the Environment     97
Minds, Worlds, and Reality     101
The Return of the Zombies     111
Why Physiological Zombies Have Scientific Significance     113
Functional and Behavioral Zombies     115
The Roots of the Problem     117
Zombies, Experience, and Skepticism     118
The "Frame Problem" and the "Background"     135
Searle versus Dewey     141
Searle's Intrinsicality Argument     141
Searle's Darwinian Argument     146
Dennett's Darwinian Argument: Genes versus Memes     149
Dreyfus, Clark, and Conscious Experience     154
Dreams, Illusions, and Errors     161
Cartesian Materialism and the Empiricists     162
The Pragmatist Alternative     164
Bridge Laws versus New Wave Reductionism     167
The Pragmatic Answer to Eliminative Skepticism     169
Connectionist Support for Pragmatism     174
Dewey and the Dynamic Alternative     177
The Traditional View of Neural Nets     183
A Brief Introduction to DST     192
Thelen and Smith on Infant Locomotor Development     196
Freeman and the Attractor Landscape of the Olfactory Brain     199
How Animals Move     201
Dynamic Systems as Behavioral Fields     204
Notes      209
References     219
Index     227

What People are Saying About This

Walter J. Freeman

Well researched and well written, this is an excellent introduction to the nascent field of nonlinear neurodynamics. Rockwell has some excellent passages on causality and supervenience, and he is to be congratulated for having extricated himself from the swamps of GOFAI, materialism, and functionalism.

Colin Allen

Where does the mind end and the world begin? Although the view that the mind is confined to the brain isn't dead yet, Rockwell offers a Deweyan nail for the Cartesian coffin with his answer that the boundary between mind and world is a flexible one. Drawing on embodied and dynamical systems approaches to cognitive science, he proposes an intriguing alternative to the separation of mind and world, which underlies the Cartesian materialism of traditional cognitive science and the philosophical puzzles it spawns.

J. A. Scott Kelso

If everything else is governed by dynamics, why not mind? Or is the science of mind outside the natural sciences? In recent times, notions of self-organizing, dynamical systems have begun to permeate the social, behavioral, cognitive and brain sciences. With a few notable exceptions, however, dynamical concepts (which embrace nonlinearity, emergence, interactions and context) remain to be explored. This book, full of scientific wisdom, wit, and understanding, is a pleasure to read. Ward brings the full armamentarium of concepts, methods, and modeling tools of dynamical systems—old and new—to bear on a wide variety of psychological phenomena. By filling dynamics with content from specific fields of cognitive research, he points the way to a far richer cognitive science in which conceptual content, dynamical modeling, and experiments mutually complement each other. This is a ground-breaking book that bridges the cognitive and the natural sciences. And it's two-way traffic. I suspect, were they around after 300 years, that David Hume and Isaac Newton might just smile.

Endorsement

If everything else is governed by dynamics, why not mind? Or is the science of mind outside the natural sciences? In recent times, notions of self-organizing, dynamical systems have begun to permeate the social, behavioral, cognitive and brain sciences. With a few notable exceptions, however, dynamical concepts (which embrace nonlinearity, emergence, interactions and context) remain to be explored. This book, full of scientific wisdom, wit, and understanding, is a pleasure to read. Ward brings the full armamentarium of concepts, methods, and modeling tools of dynamical systems—old and new—to bear on a wide variety of psychological phenomena. By filling dynamics with content from specific fields of cognitive research, he points the way to a far richer cognitive science in which conceptual content, dynamical modeling, and experiments mutually complement each other. This is a ground-breaking book that bridges the cognitive and the natural sciences. And it's two-way traffic. I suspect, were they around after 300 years, that David Hume and Isaac Newton might just smile.

J. A. Scott Kelso, Glenwood and Martha Creech Chair in Science and Director, Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Florida Atlantic University

From the Publisher

If everything else is governed by dynamics, why not mind? Or is the science of mind outside the natural sciences? In recent times, notions of self-organizing, dynamical systems have begun to permeate the social, behavioral, cognitive and brain sciences. With a few notable exceptions, however, dynamical concepts (which embrace nonlinearity, emergence, interactions and context) remain to be explored. This book, full of scientific wisdom, wit, and understanding, is a pleasure to read. Ward brings the full armamentarium of concepts, methods, and modeling tools of dynamical systems—old and new—to bear on a wide variety of psychological phenomena. By filling dynamics with content from specific fields of cognitive research, he points the way to a far richer cognitive science in which conceptual content, dynamical modeling, and experiments mutually complement each other. This is a ground-breaking book that bridges the cognitive and the natural sciences. And it's two-way traffic. I suspect, were they around after 300 years, that David Hume and Isaac Newton might just smile.

J. A. Scott Kelso, Glenwood and Martha Creech Chair in Science and Director, Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Florida Atlantic University

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Neither Brain nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
CynthiaSueLarson More than 1 year ago
A Clearly Stated Case for Mind as Behavioral Field At this time when a fuller understanding of consciousness is required in the fields of quantum physics, linguistics, psychology, computer science, and neuroscience, clear philosophical reasoning such as is presented in Teed Rockwell's excellent book, "Neither Brain Nor Ghost," is in high demand. Rockwell presents a nondualist "behavioral field" alternative to Cartesian materialism with its presumptions of "the mind is the brain." While the brain might seem one of the most likely candidates for situating the mind, recent studies in pain research point out the inadequacies of such thinking, so clearly we need a fuller explanation for what's going on.  Rockwell appreciates that getting from a starting point of presuming that the "mind is the brain" to a view of mind being more of a behavioral field engaged in constant interaction with the world requires taking several carefully measured, rational steps, which he carefully provides. Rockwell's writing is entertaining and engaging as he presents a comprehensive, elegant perspective of a behavioral field conceptualization of mind capable of resolving paradoxes that have plagued dualist theories for years. "Neither Brain Nor Ghost" begins by presenting American philosopher John Dewey's criticisms of Cartesian materialism with remarkable clarity. Readers are encouraged to discover new insights through each chapter regarding the idea of reality being fundamentally an ongoing process whose parts cannot exist independently of the interactions in which they are involved. Added to this emphasis on experiential process is the notion proposed by John Stuart Mills that conditions have every bit as much to do with initiating change as any single so-called "cause." We are not only the products of our environments, but also entangled with them to such a degree that lines of demarcation may have been blocking us from seeing the true degree of interconnectedness that exists in the world.   Rockwell's conceptualization of the mind as a "behavioral field" is in keeping with the Dynamic Systems Theory approach that is proving itself to be so efficacious in computer science and artificial intelligence. In Dynamic Systems Theory, patterns are observed that shift between various fluctuating basins of attraction amidst ever-changing processes and experiences. We can thus observe for example, that horses tend toward four different movement patterns at different speeds: walk, trot, canter, and gallop. There are efficiencies at certain speeds depending on environmental conditions, and horses can switch from one to another gracefully.  "Neither Brain nor Ghost" truly shines when demonstrating logical arguments and scientific evidence in support of viewing the mind as a behavioral field that fluctuates between and interacting with the brain-body-world. Rockwell does an outstanding job of presenting convincing arguments for why the borders of mental embodiment do not belong at the skin, let alone our brains.  This book is highly recommended for anyone working in the field of consciousness interested in gaining a clear philosophical picture of mind as behavioral field. "Neither Brain Nor Ghost" is as informative as a college textbook, yet as entertaining to read as any New York Times best-seller, and it's guaranteed to provide you with an entirely fresh new view of the mind in general, and your mind in particular. Highly recommended!