Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind

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Harvard University Press, 2010 - Philosophy - 543 pages
1 Review

How is life related to the mind? The question has long confounded philosophers and scientists, and it is this so-called explanatory gap between biological life and consciousness that Evan Thompson explores in Mind in Life.

Thompson draws upon sources as diverse as molecular biology, evolutionary theory, artificial life, complex systems theory, neuroscience, psychology, Continental Phenomenology, and analytic philosophy to argue that mind and life are more continuous than has previously been accepted, and that current explanations do not adequately address the myriad facets of the biology and phenomenology of mind. Where there is life, Thompson argues, there is mind: life and mind share common principles of self-organization, and the self-organizing features of mind are an enriched version of the self-organizing features of life. Rather than trying to close the explanatory gap, Thompson marshals philosophical and scientific analyses to bring unprecedented insight to the nature of life and consciousness. This synthesis of phenomenology and biology helps make Mind in Life a vital and long-awaited addition to his landmark volume The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (coauthored with Eleanor Rosch and Francisco Varela).

Endlessly interesting and accessible, Mind in Life is a groundbreaking addition to the fields of the theory of the mind, life science, and phenomenology.

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Review: Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind

User Review  - Ted Stark - Goodreads

Wide ranging, large in scope, richly supported,rigorous. I was delighted with it and will be likely to refer to it again. Read full review

Review: Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind

User Review  - Eli Brooke - Goodreads

Little bit too academic in tone, couldn't hold my attention, though the subject matter is definitely intriguing. Read full review

About the author (2010)

Evan Thompson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

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