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Archive for 'new books'

new book – ‘Dreaming: A Conceptual Framework for Philosophy of Mind and Empirical Research’ by Jennifer M. Windt

June 16, 2015


Dreaming: A Conceptual Framework for Philosophy of Mind and Empirical Research by Jennifer M. Windt (MIT Press, 2015)


Book description from the publisher:

Dreams, conceived as conscious experience or phenomenal states during sleep, offer an important contrast condition for theories of consciousness and the self. Yet, although there is a wealth of empirical research on sleep and dreaming, its potential contribution to consciousness research and philosophy of mind is largely overlooked. This might be due, in part, to a lack of conceptual clarity and an underlying disagreement about the nature of the phenomenon of dreaming itself. In Dreaming, Jennifer Windt lays the groundwork for solving this problem. She develops a conceptual framework describing not only what it means to say that dreams are conscious experiences but also how to locate dreams relative to such concepts as perception, hallucination, and imagination, as well as thinking, knowledge, belief, deception, and self-consciousness.

Arguing that a conceptual framework must be not only conceptually sound but also phenomenologically plausible and carefully informed by neuroscientific research, Windt integrates her review of philosophical work on dreaming, both historical and contemporary, with a survey of the most important empirical findings. This allows her to work toward a systematic and comprehensive new theoretical understanding of dreaming informed by a critical reading of contemporary research findings. Windt’s account demonstrates that a philosophical analysis of the concept of dreaming can provide an important enrichment and extension to the conceptual repertoire of discussions of consciousness and the self and raises new questions for future research.

Google Books preview:

Comments (0) - consciousness,new books,philosophy of mind,self

new book – ‘Social Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society’ ed. by Schutt, Seidman, & Keshavan

June 10, 2015

Social Neuroscience

Social Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society ed. by Russell K. Schutt, Larry J. Seidman, and Matcheri Keshavan (Harvard University Press, 2015)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

Human beings evolved in the company of others and flourish in proportion to their positive social ties. To understand the human brain, we must situate its biology in the wider context of society. To understand society, we must also consider how the brains and minds of individuals shape interactions with other human beings. Social Neuroscience offers a comprehensive new framework for studying the brain, human development, and human behavior.

In this book, leading researchers in the fields of neurobiology, psychiatry, psychology, and sociology elucidate the connections between brain biology and the brain’s functioning in the social world, providing a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary explanation of how humans think and act, as well as the ways we define and treat pathological behavior. Synthesizing the insights and perspectives of these experts, Social Neuroscience examines how neural processes make the brain sensitive to social experience, how cognition shapes social behavior, and how social networks create a range of responses among different individuals to the same environmental stimuli.

The mutually reinforcing connections between brain, mind, and society have profound implications for human health, from the emotionally damaging effects of severe social deprivation to the neurological impact of parental abuse and neighborhood violence. The authors explore these connections, with special focus on mental illnesses, including schizophrenia?a disorder characterized by marked social deficits in which a neurological basis is now well established.

Comments (0) - cognitive science,new books

new book – ‘Screw the Zoo: Escape from Your Cage, Free Your Mind & Take Over the World’ by Sam McRoberts – only $3.99 on kindle

June 9, 2015

Book description from the publisher:

What if you could travel back in time? What would you tell your younger self, if you had the opportunity? These are questions I’ve asked myself a thousand times, and Screw the Zoo is my answer.

If you feel trapped, stuck in a rut, or in any way disheartened by the path your life has taken, then this book is for you. It contains every lesson, shortcut, and mind-hack I’ve found on my quest for freedom, broken down into practical lessons and simple steps that literally anyone can follow.

This step-by-step guide to freedom will teach you:
• How to walk into a room, any room, and command attention and respect
• How to negotiate reality, redefine your worth, and achieve your dreams
• How to develop a Sherlockian-mind through the use of observational tricks and mnemonics
• How to control your body language and facial expressions to conceal your true feelings
• How to identify and break free from personal habits and traditions that are holding you back

If you’re ready to be free, to escape from your cage and forge your own path through life, then look no further. This is the road map through life that I wish I’d had from the very beginning.

Comments (0) - happiness,new books,psychology

new book – ‘Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies’ by Cesar Hidalgo

June 4, 2015

Why Information Grows

Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo (Basic Books, 2015)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

What is economic growth? And why, historically, has it occurred in only a few places? Previous efforts to answer these questions have focused on institutions, geography, finances, and psychology. But according to MIT’s antidisciplinarian César Hidalgo, understanding the nature of economic growth demands transcending the social sciences and including the natural sciences of information, networks, and complexity. To understand the growth of economies, Hidalgo argues, we first need to understand the growth of order.

At first glance, the universe seems hostile to order. Thermodynamics dictates that over time, order–or information–will disappear. Whispers vanish in the wind just like the beauty of swirling cigarette smoke collapses into disorderly clouds. But thermodynamics also has loopholes that promote the growth of information in pockets. Our cities are pockets where information grows, but they are not all the same. For every Silicon Valley, Tokyo, and Paris, there are dozens of places with economies that accomplish little more than pulling rocks off the ground. So, why does the US economy outstrip Brazil’s, and Brazil’s that of Chad? Why did the technology corridor along Boston’s Route 128 languish while Silicon Valley blossomed? In each case, the key is how people, firms, and the networks they form make use of information.

Seen from Hidalgo’s vantage, economies become distributed computers, made of networks of people, and the problem of economic development becomes the problem of making these computers more powerful. By uncovering the mechanisms that enable the growth of information in nature and society, Why Information Grows lays bear [sic] the origins of physical order and economic growth. Situated at the nexus of information theory, physics, sociology, and economics, this book propounds a new theory of how economies can do, not just more, but more interesting things.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - culture,new books

new book – ‘Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning’ by Scott Soames

May 26, 2015

Rethinking Mind, Language, Meaning

Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning (Carl G. Hempel Lecture Series) by Scott Soames (Princeton University Press, 2015)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

In this book, Scott Soames argues that the revolution in the study of language and mind that has taken place since the late nineteenth century must be rethought. The central insight in the reigning tradition is that propositions are representational. To know the meaning of a sentence or the content of a belief requires knowing which things it represents as being which ways, and therefore knowing what the world must be like if it is to conform to how the sentence or belief represents it. These are truth conditions of the sentence or belief. But meanings and representational contents are not truth conditions, and there is more to propositions than representational content. In addition to imposing conditions the world must satisfy if it is to be true, a proposition may also impose conditions on minds that entertain it. The study of mind and language cannot advance further without a conception of propositions that allows them to have contents of both of these sorts. Soames provides it.

He does so by arguing that propositions are repeatable, purely representational cognitive acts or operations that represent the world as being a certain way, while requiring minds that perform them to satisfy certain cognitive conditions. Because they have these two types of content—one facing the world and one facing the mind—pairs of propositions can be representationally identical but cognitively distinct. Using this breakthrough, Soames offers new solutions to several of the most perplexing problems in the philosophy of language and mind.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s webpage

Comments (0) - language,new books,philosophy of mind