THE PROBLEM OF THE SOUL TWO VISIONS OF MIND AND HOW TO RECONCILE THEM

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The Problem Of The Soul

Author : Owen Flanagan
ISBN : 9780786725311
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 29.95 MB
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Science has always created problems for traditional ways of seeing things, but now the very attributes that make us human--free will, the permanence of personal identity, the existence of the soul--are threatened by the science of the mind. If the mind is the brain, and therefore a physical object subject to deterministic laws, how can we have free will? If most of our thoughts and impulses are unconscious, how can we be morally responsible for what we do? If brains and bodies undergo relentless change, how can our identities be constant? The Problem of the Soul shows the way out of these paradoxes. Framing the conflict in terms of two dominant visions of the mind--the "manifest image" of humanistic philosophy and theology, and the scientific image--Owen Flanagan demonstrates that there is common ground, and that we need not give up our ideas of moral responsibility and personal freedom in order to have an empirically sound view of the human mind. This is a profoundly relevant work of philosophy for the common reader.
Category: Philosophy

Self Expressions

Author : Owen J. Flanagan
ISBN : 9780195096965
Genre : Fiction
File Size : 80.51 MB
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Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism.
Category: Fiction

Dreaming Souls

Author : Owen Flanagan
ISBN : 9780195349580
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 20.70 MB
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What, if anything, do dreams tell us about ourselves? What is the relationship between types of sleep and types of dreams? Does dreaming serve any purpose? Or are dreams simply meaningless mental noise--"unmusical fingers wandering over the piano keys"? With expertise in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, Owen Flanagan is uniquely qualified to answer these questions. And in Dreaming Souls he provides both an accessible survey of the latest research on sleep and dreams and a compelling new theory about the nature and function of dreaming. Flanagan argues that while sleep has a clear biological function and adaptive value, dreams are merely side effects, "free riders," irrelevant from an evolutionary point of view. But dreams are hardly unimportant. Indeed, Flanagan argues that dreams are self-expressive, the result of our need to find or to create meaning, even when we're sleeping. Rejecting Freud's theory of manifest and latent content--of repressed wishes appearing in disguised form--Flanagan shows how brainstem activity during sleep generates a jumbled profusion of memories, images, thoughts, emotions, and desires, which the cerebral cortex then attempts to shape into a more or less coherent story. Such dream-narratives range from the relatively mundane worries of non REM sleep to the fantastic confabulations of deep REM that resemble psychotic episodes in their strangeness. But however bizarre these narratives may be, they can shed light on our mental life, our well being, and our sense of self. Written with clarity, lively wit, and remarkable insight, Dreaming Souls offers a fascinating new way of apprehending one of the oldest mysteries of mental life.
Category: Psychology

The Really Hard Problem

Author : Owen Flanagan
ISBN : 9780262262750
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 85.84 MB
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If consciousness is "the hard problem" in mind science -- explaining how the amazing private world of consciousness emerges from neuronal activity -- then "the really hard problem," writes Owen Flanagan in this provocative book, is explaining how meaning is possible in the material world. How can we make sense of the magic and mystery of life naturalistically, without an appeal to the supernatural? How do we say truthful and enchanting things about being human if we accept the fact that we are finite material beings living in a material world, or, in Flanagan's description, short-lived pieces of organized cells and tissue?Flanagan's answer is both naturalistic and enchanting. We all wish to live in a meaningful way, to live a life that really matters, to flourish, to achieve eudaimonia -- to be a "happy spirit." Flanagan calls his "empirical-normative" inquiry into the nature, causes, and conditions of human flourishing eudaimonics. Eudaimonics, systematic philosophical investigation that is continuous with science, is the naturalist's response to those who say that science has robbed the world of the meaning that fantastical, wishful stories once provided.Flanagan draws on philosophy, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and psychology, as well as on transformative mindfulness and self-cultivation practices that come from such nontheistic spiritual traditions as Buddhism, Confucianism, Aristotelianism, and Stoicism, in his quest. He gathers from these disciplines knowledge that will help us understand the nature, causes, and constituents of well-being and advance human flourishing. Eudaimonics can help us find out how to make a difference, how to contribute to the accumulation of good effects -- how to live a meaningful life.
Category: Philosophy

The Science Of The Mind

Author : Owen J. Flanagan
ISBN : 0262560569
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 53.90 MB
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Consciousness emerges as the key topic in this second edition of Owen Flanagan's popular introduction to cognitive science and the philosophy of psychology. in a new chapter Flanagan develops a neurophilosophical theory of subjective mental life. He brings recent developments in the theory of neuronal group selection and connectionism to bear on the problems of the evolution of consciousness, qualia, the unique first-personal aspects of consciousness, the causal role of consciousness, and the function and development of the sense of personal identity. He has also substantially revised the chapter on cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence to incorporate recent discussions of connectionism and parallel distributed processing.
Category: Philosophy

Neuroexistentialism

Author : Gregg Caruso
ISBN : 9780190460723
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 27.3 MB
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Existentialisms arise when the foundations of being, such as meaning, morals, and purpose come under assault. In the first-wave of existentialism, writings typified by Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche concerned the increasingly apparent inability of religion, and religious tradition, to support a foundation of being. Second-wave existentialism, personified philosophically by Sartre, Camus, and de Beauvoir, developed in response to similar realizations about the overly optimistic Enlightenment vision of reason and the common good. The third-wave of existentialism, a new existentialism, developed in response to advances in the neurosciences that threaten the last vestiges of an immaterial soul or self. Given the increasing explanatory and therapeutic power of neuroscience, the mind no longer stands apart from the world to serve as a foundation of meaning. This produces foundational anxiety. In Neuroexistentialism, a group of contributors that includes some of the world's leading philosophers, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and legal scholars, explores the anxiety caused by third-wave existentialism and possible responses to it. Together, these essays tackle our neuroexistentialist predicament, and explore what the mind sciences can tell us about morality, love, emotion, autonomy, consciousness, selfhood, free will, moral responsibility, law, the nature of criminal punishment, meaning in life, and purpose.
Category: Philosophy

Matters Of The Mind

Author : William E. Lyons
ISBN : 0415937884
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 88.5 MB
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First published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Category: Philosophy

A Historical Introduction To The Philosophy Of Mind Second Edition

Author : Peter Morton
ISBN : 9781551118529
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 86.66 MB
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This is an expanded and revised second edition of Peter Morton's highly acclaimed A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, a text that combines primary readings with detailed commentary. The book has two aims: to present the philosophy of mind from a historical perspective so that the theories in the field are seen to emerge in the process of solving problems with earlier theories; and to give students access to original source material together with commentaries that explain technical terms and jargon, outline argumentative structures, and place the texts in their historical context. The second edition adds several new chapters covering recent issues in the field, and revises earlier chapters to improve the readings and update the commentaries.
Category: Philosophy

Consciousness Reconsidered

Author : Owen J. Flanagan
ISBN : 0262560771
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 54.58 MB
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Owen Flanagan argues that we are on the way to understanding consciousness and its place in the natural order.
Category: Philosophy