Philosophy of Mind

Description

224 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
$55.00
ISBN 0-7735-1825-8
DDC 128'.2

Year

1999

Contributor

Reviewed by Jay Newman

Jay Newman is a professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph. He
is the author of Competition in Religious Life, Religion vs. Television:
Competitors in Cultural Context, and Inauthentic Culture and Its
Philosophical Critics.

Review

One more of many introductions to the burgeoning discipline of
philosophy of mind, this book opens with a perfunctory chapter on
Descartes unwisely assumed here, as in sundry other works of this kind,
to be the only philosophical writer on the mind before 1900 who requires
close attention, and proceeds to furnish a comprehensive survey of
widely discussed theories such as central state materialism,
functionalism, externalism, and interpretationalism. Emphasis is on
writers on whom perhaps too much has already been written, including
Donald Davidson, Daniel Dennett, Jerry Fodor, and Thomas Nagel; but
dozens of contemporary analytical philosophers of mind are at least
mentioned in passing.

Expository and critical comments on the proliferation of “isms”
paraded here before the reader are generally clear and concise but for
the most part not especially original or incisive. This volume could be
a useful reference resource for advanced students, but to be widely
effective as an introductory textbook in Canadian universities or as an
introductory guide for general readers, it might require a more
creatively engaging writing style (such as that in Elmer Sprague’s
recently published Persons and Their Minds) or, alternatively, study
aids such as figures, tables, a glossary, study questions, and more
flowcharts. The bibliography and suggestions for further reading do
help, but the authors seem somewhat unsure about their audience. Toward
the end of the volume, the authors sketch out some of their own ideas,
and they basically endorse a familiar but gussied-up form of
metaphysical pluralism. Their brief, sympathetic discussions of views of
Heidegger, Marcel, and particularly Merleau-Ponty suggest that they are
rather troubled by the parameters of the analytical methods pervading
their project.

Citation

Burwood, Stephen, Paul Gilbert, and Kathleen Lennon., “Philosophy of Mind,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/8139.