[ View menu ]

Archive for 'new books'

new book – ‘Applied Minds: How Engineers Think’ by Guru Madhavan

August 1, 2015

Applied Minds

Applied Minds: How Engineers Think by Guru Madhavan (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk – ‘Think Like an Engineer’), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

A journey inside the minds that build our world.

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa—the world’s tallest building—looks nothing like Microsoft’s Office Suite, and digital surround sound doesn’t work like a citywide telecommunication grid. Yet these engineering feats have much in common.

Applied Minds explores the unique visions and mental tools of engineers to reveal the enormous—and often understated—influence they wield in transforming problems into opportunities. The resulting account pairs the innovators of modern history—Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Steve Jobs—with everything from ATMs and the ZIP code system to the disposable diaper.

An engineer himself, Guru Madhavan introduces a flexible intellectual tool kit called modular systems thinking as he explains the discipline’s penchant for seeing structure where there is none. The creations that result from this process express the engineer’s answers to the fundamental questions of design: usefulness, functionality, reliability, and user friendliness.

Through narratives and case studies spanning the brilliant history of engineering, Madhavan shows how the concepts of prototyping, efficiency, reliability, standards, optimization, and feedback are put to use in fields as diverse as transportation, retail, health care, and entertainment.

Equal parts personal, practical, and profound, Applied Minds charts a path to a future where we apply strategies borrowed from engineering to create useful and inspired solutions to our most pressing challenges.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - new books,psychology

new book – ‘Thinking About Oneself: From Nonconceptual Content to the Concept of a Self’ by Kristina Musholt

July 31, 2015

Thinking About Oneself

Thinking about Oneself: From Nonconceptual Content to the Concept of a Self by Kristina Musholt (MIT Press. 2015)

(amazon.co.uk)

Book description from the publisher:

In this book, Kristina Musholt offers a novel theory of self-consciousness, understood as the ability to think about oneself. Traditionally, self-consciousness has been central to many philosophical theories. More recently, it has become the focus of empirical investigation in psychology and neuroscience. Musholt draws both on philosophical considerations and on insights from the empirical sciences to offer a new account of self-consciousness — the ability to think about ourselves that is at the core of what makes us human.

Examining theories of nonconceptual content developed in recent work in the philosophy of cognition, Musholt proposes a model for the gradual transition from self-related information implicit in the nonconceptual content of perception and other forms of experience to the explicit representation of the self in conceptual thought. A crucial part of this model is an analysis of the relationship between self-consciousness and intersubjectivity. Self-consciousness and awareness of others, Musholt argues, are two sides of the same coin.

After surveying the philosophical problem of self-consciousness, the notion of nonconceptual content, and various proposals for the existence of nonconceptual self-consciousness, Musholt argues for a non-self-representationalist theory, according to which the self is not part of the representational content of perception and bodily awareness but part of the mode of presentation. She distinguishes between implicitly self-related information and explicit self-representation, and describes the transitions from the former to the latter as arising from a complex process of self–other differentiation. By this account, both self-consciousness and intersubjectivity develop in parallel.

Google Books preview:

Comments (0) - consciousness,new books,self

new book – ‘Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel’ by Carl Safina

July 14, 2015

Beyond Words

Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

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

Book description from the publisher:

I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina’s landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack’s personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity’s place in the world.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s website, Book website

Comments (0) - new books

new Kindle ebook on Amazon: ‘Re-Modeling the Mind: Personality in Balance’ by Ruth A Johnston for $9.95

July 12, 2015

(UK kindle ed.)

Comments (0) - new books,psychology

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

June 16, 2015

Dreaming

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

(amazon.co.uk)

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