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Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century [Paperback]

Edward F. Kelly , Emily Williams Kelly , Adam Crabtree , Alan Gauld , Michael Grosso
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 21.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Nov 2009
Current mainstream opinion in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in brains. Views of this sort have dominated recent scholarly publication. The present volume, however, demonstrates empirically that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false. The authors systematically marshal evidence for a variety of psychological phenomena that are extremely difficult, and in some cases clearly impossible, to account for in conventional physicalist terms. Topics addressed include phenomena of extreme psychophysical influence, memory, psychological automatisms and secondary personality, near-death experiences and allied phenomena, genius-level creativity, and 'mystical' states of consciousness both spontaneous and drug-induced. The authors further show that these rogue phenomena are more readily accommodated by an alternative 'transmission' or 'filter' theory of mind/brain relations advanced over a century ago by a largely forgotten genius, F. W. H. Myers, and developed further by his friend and colleague William James. This theory, moreover, ratifies the commonsense conception of human beings as causally effective conscious agents, and is fully compatible with leading-edge physics and neuroscience. The book should command the attention of all open-minded persons concerned with the still-unsolved mysteries of the mind.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (16 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442202068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442202061
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

pp. 153 of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, Simon & Schuster, 2012 For those still stuck in the trap of scientific skepticism, I recommend the book Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, published in 2007. The evidence for out-of-body consciousness is well presented in this rigorous scientific analysis. Irreducible Mind is a landmark opus from a highly reputable group, the Division of Perceptual Studies, based at the University of Virginia. The authors provide an exhaustive review of the relevant data, and the conclusion is inescapable: these phenomena are real, and we must try to understand their nature if we want to comprehend the reality of our existence. -- Eben Alexander, Author of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife The authors have not only plausibly argued that the empirical and conceptual horizon of science, particularly the science of the human mind, is both capable and in dire need of expansion, but-and I use this strong term deliberately-they have proven it. -- Andreas Sommer, University College, London Journal Of Mind and Behavior [A] comprehensive review of empirical evidence that questions the assumption that 'properties of minds will ultimately be fully explained by those of brains.'... Kelly et al. deserve to be praised for their courage and scholarship in dealing with such a controversial topic. -- Alexander Moreira-Almeida & Harold Koenig, Duke University Journal Of Nervous and Mental Disease Thoroughly scientific, systematically reasoned and courageous... as exciting and enjoyable as it is provocative and profound! -- David J. Hufford, Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine Irreducible Mind is an enormous and daring enterprise. Its scholarship is impressive... and made me think long and hard about many issues. -- Etzel Cardena, Professor of Psychology, Lund University PsycCRITIQUES [A] must-read for anyone working in consciousness studies, psychology and the history of science. -- Jonathan Edelman, Oxford University [A] monumental work... Only a very resistant observer will remain unpersuaded that a proportion, as least, of all this carefully evaluated data presents a significant challenge to conventional views. -- Paul Marshall Journal Of Consciousness Studies [A] sustained, sophisticated, and empirically based critique of contemporary cognitive psychology and mainstream neuroscience... the implications for the study of mind, consciousness, and religion border on the unspeakable. -- Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University Religious Studies Review [B]rilliant, heroic and astonishing ... a scientifically rigorous and philosophically informed critique of various contemporary orthodoxies in mainstream psychology, especially the idea that the human mind (including consciousness and our sense of free will and personal agency) is nothing more than a material entity and can be fully explained in terms of brain processes. -- Richard A. Shweder, Professor, Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago Irreducible Mind [is] yet another book on the mind-body problem. However, this book is different, very different, from all the rest... In the future history of the science of mind, Irreducible Mind may well prove a book of landmark significance, one that helped spark a revolution in the scientific investigation of the nature of consciousness... In the arena of neuroscience of mind, it is the most exciting reading to have crossed my path in years. -- David Presti, Professor of Neurobiology, University of California-Berkeley Irreducible Mind is well written, detailed, and passionately argued, and should be central to parapyschology for some years to come. Its great value is that it helps to close the gap between the conventional view of mind on the one hand, and on the other, responsible research into phenomena which are utterly antithetical to that view. In that sense, it greatly advances the process that Myers began more than a century ago, but was so rudely interrupted by behaviourism and the virtual outlawing of consciousness as a scientific entity. Journal Of The Society For Psychical Research, July 2009 The author's sincerity and the extent of their labors are beyond question. American Journal of Psychology, Summer 2010

About the Author

Edward F. Kelly is currently research professor in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia. He is author of Computer Recognition of English Word Senses and Altered States of Consciousness and Psi: An Historical Survey and Research Prospectus. His central long term interests revolve around mind-brain relations and functional neuroimaging studies of unusual states of consciousness and associated cognitive phenomena. Emily Williams Kelly is currently research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia. Adam Crabtree is currently on the faculty of the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy, Toronto. Alan Gauld is a retired reader in psychology, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, as well as past president of the Society for Psychical Research. Bruce Greyson is the Chester F. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia. Michael Grosso, though nominally retired, is currently teaching at the University of Virginia's School of Continuing Education. He is currently a director of the American Philosophical Practitioner's Association and Review Editor of the Journal of Philosophical Practice.


Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a courageous, ground-breaking book; but more significantly it is almost certainly a promise of things to come. The authors are a group of academics from Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychology departments (with the exception of Michael Grosso who comes from a more philosophical background) who have the distinction - rare in such environments - of being characterised by one overriding ambition: to take the mind seriously as mind. In their view it merits nothing less and they are determined not to submit to the common knee-jerk practice of pronouncing the mind to be `nothing but' matter.
Their basic assumptions are that scientific psychology is not at all well served by following the materialistic-naturalistic agenda of reducing all mental phenomena to the complicated operations of the neural mass in the skull. Indeed it is their view that this agenda has resulted in a kind of reductio ad absurdum within the discipline in which the practitioners of the method, writers such as the Churchlands, Dennett, Pinker, Hofstadter, Freeman, Wegner etc., despite the modish allure of their theories and the optimistic talk of a `computational theory of mind', have actually succeeded in the absurd project of pronouncing themselves non-existent. No bad thing, one may say; but this does not prevent the materialistic theory of mental function peddled by such high-profile ideologues from being the most dominant view of mind in academic circles.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going 13 Jun 2013
By A man
Format:Paperback
I borrowed this 'door stopper', as another reviewer called it, from the library, and have so far managed to read only one chapter - the one on NDE and OBEs. I'll probably leave it at that; but if I ever get a chance to be abandoned on a desert island, I might buy a copy to take with me.

I have some sympathy for the authors, as they are trying to come to a balanced assessment of subject matter that is considered by orthodox thinking, and therefore most scientists, as baloney. The chapter I read did an excellent job of evaluating all the explanations science has put forward for NDE and OBEs and then comprehensively dismantling them. It did this in a professional way, which necessitated many quotes and references. I found it hard work to read, but tremendously reassuring to discover my gut instinct (that science had no clear answer, and was casting about for straws) was right.

I just wish I had the time, patience and stamina to read the rest of the book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A groundbreaking volume 6 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback
An excellent collection of essays by experts in the field. The writing is scholarly and very thorough. It left me with my respect for so-called professional scientists much reduced. It's seems they are far happier working with their heads buried deep into the sand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read but very interesting 24 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It took me a long time to read through this book. English is not my first language, and I truly struggled with a highly scientific text. Some contributors to the volume are easier to read then others.

The book often refers to events that are dozens of years old, and pays a lot of attention to interpretation of developments in scientific understanding of human mind, starting from Victorian era.

However I give it 5 stars because it most definitely implies that even modern science doesn't understand all about our minds and their connection to the wider universe. And this corresponds well with what I instinctively feel.
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