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Over 70 “Top-Rated Reads” in Today’s Kindle Daily Deal (Sunday 8/9)

August 9, 2015

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new book – ‘Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain’ by Jonathan Fineberg

August 8, 2015

Modern Art at the Border

Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain by Jonathan Fineberg (University of Nebraska Press, 2015)

(amazon.co.uk)

Book description from the publisher:

Human beings have made images continuously for more than thirty thousand years. The oldest known cave paintings are between six and ten times older than the first forms of written language. Images help us organize our thoughts and represent them in our memory. We make images, Jonathan Fineberg argues, because we need them to aid not only in structuring our social and psychological self-conceptions but also in developing the circuitry of our brains.

Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain is a broad investigation by one of the foremost scholars of modern art of the relationship between modern art and the structure of the mind and brain. Based on Fineberg’s Presidential Lectures at the University of Nebraska, his book examines the relationship between artistic production, neuroscience, and the way we make meaning in form. Drawing on the art of Robert Motherwell, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Christo, Jean Dubuffet, and others, Fineberg helps us understand the visual unconscious, the limits of language, and the political impact of art. Throughout, he works from the conviction that looking is a form of thinking that has a profound impact on the structure of the mind.

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - cognitive science,culture,new books

new book – ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self’ by Anil Ananthaswamy

August 4, 2015

The Man Who Wasn't There

The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self by Anil Ananthaswamy (Dutton, 2015)

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

Book description from the publisher:

In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, a tour of the latest neuroscience of schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ecstatic epilepsy, Cotard’s syndrome, out-of-body experiences, and other disorders—revealing the awesome power of the human sense of self from a master of science journalism

Anil Ananthaswamy’s extensive in-depth interviews venture into the lives of individuals who offer perspectives that will change how you think about who you are. These individuals all lost some part of what we think of as our self, but they then offer remarkable, sometimes heart-wrenching insights into what remains. One man cut off his own leg. Another became one with the universe.

We are learning about the self at a level of detail that Descartes (“I think therefore I am”) could never have imagined. Recent research into Alzheimer’s illuminates how memory creates your narrative self by using the same part of your brain for your past as for your future. But wait, those afflicted with Cotard’s syndrome think they are already dead; in a way, they believe that “I think therefore I am not.” Who—or what—can say that? Neuroscience has identified specific regions of the brain that, when they misfire, can cause the self to move back and forth between the body and a doppelgänger, or to leave the body entirely. So where in the brain, or mind, or body, is the self actually located? As Ananthaswamy elegantly reports, neuroscientists themselves now see that the elusive sense of self is both everywhere and nowhere in the human brain.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - new books,self

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