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Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings [Paperback]

David J. Chalmers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £29.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

5 Sep 2002
Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings is an ideal text for introductory, advanced undergraduate, and graduate courses in the philosophy of mind and related areas. The most comprehensive collection of its kind, this volume ranges from the classical contributions of Descartes to the leading edge of the discipline. Three of the selections are being published here for the first time, while many other articles have been revised especially for this volume. Extensive sections cover foundational issues, the nature of consciousness, the nature of mental content, and miscellaneous issues. Each section opens with an in-depth introduction by the editor.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 690 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (5 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019514581X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195145816
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 18 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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a splendid introduction to the subject ... offers an attractive, timely alternative to the more empirically engaged perspective of Lycan's Mind and Cognition. Teachers, students, and non-specialists looking for a comprehensive overview of issues in the general philosophy of mind, de-emphasizing empirical concerns, need look no further. Philip Robbins, Philosophical Psychology

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tremendous resource 2 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first came across this book as part of the requirements for a distance learning course in Philosophy of the Mind from Oxford University. Virtually all our material for study came from it. It is a superb collection of the most important papers written on this subject since Descartes (and of course includes some of his Meditations). It is helpfully divided into the principle philosophical positions that are taken. A concise overview of the these is given at the beginning.

Chalmers has shown no real partiality in his choice of papers..preferring to reflect the work of the most influencial philosophers rather than his own views. His main contribution is a very helpful paper outlining most of the philsophical stances about the mind that are current, and he is one of the few who is sufficiently confident and humble to be fairly agnostic about the mind/body problem. If I had any quibble it would be that modern substance dualists,(admittedly a small breed),do not really get an airing; a physicalist world view predominates after Descartes. All in all however it is an excellent book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy 7 Jan 2012
By Eileen
I bought this book as a present for my nephew, I didnt know anything about philosophy so I found all the reviews very helpful. He has told me it is the best present he has had.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent selection papers 14 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I used this book extensively on the Philosophy of Mind module on my philosophy degree. It has a wide range of papers you could spend an age trying to find individually, including many of the classic and often referenced examples from Nagel, Jackson, Putnam, Burge, Lewis, Fodor and Kim - not to forget Chalmers himself. This is not a light read and some of the papers are fairly technical, but not all, and when they are they mostly reward the careful reader with new insights. Chalmers is famous for his own views, but he takes an unbiased view in the selection of papers representing all the main camps in philosophy of mind. Given volume and quality of contents, I think this book is great value. If you are looking for the right papers to support you in studying philosophy of mind then this is a great selection. Combine it with an introductory text such as one of the ones from Kim, Heil or Churchland and you could have all you need for a philosophy of mind at an undergraduate level.

Are there any criticisms? A few minor niggles. There is little in the way of introductory text for each section - and it would have been better to have had a few pages of positioning for each section in the book. Secondly, after a few weeks of intense reading my copy is looking pretty battered. It is a large book, which is always problematic in paperback format, but even so the physical quality is a little lower than I might ideally of liked. But these really are niggles.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! 5 May 2005
By Jonathan M. Knight - Published on Amazon.com
This is a fantastic collection compiled by David Chalmers, one of the leading philosophers of mind today. The best papers in here are "Quining Qualia" and " True Believers: The Intentional Strategy and Why It Works" by Dan Dennett, "The Rediscovery of Light" by Paul Churchland (all you hard-problemers out there should be forced to read at least the ending section of this paper), "What Experience Teaches" by David Lewis, "Sensations and Brain Processes" by J.J.C. Smart, "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?", and a good excerpt from "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" by Wilfrid Sellars. Non-reductive materialists and property dualists also will like this book as they are represented as well with papers from the likes of Jackson (classical paper of his is included in which he expounds the knowledge argument, "Epiphenomenal Qualia") Mcginn, Nagel, Block, Levine, and of course Chalmers himself. All in all this is a fair sampling of the competing views in the Philosophy of Mind.
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Neuroscientist's Perspective 5 Jan 2008
By Camilo Libedinsky - Published on Amazon.com
I want to start by saying that I highly recommend this for a scientific audience. Before starting the book I felt a bit like I was going into enemy territory. I didn't want to hear about Chalmers' dualistic views. I didn't want to get convinced by them. I'm a scientist for crying out loud!

This compilation gave me exactly what I was looking for. A balanced view with articles written by the luminaries in the field. Ideas and concepts that philosophers usually throw around as a matter of fact are clearly explained by the people who actually coined these very ideas.

It was surprisingly accessible for a non-philosopher, although some sections did get a little technical, so I had to skip them. But this didn't break the flow of the book or hinder the understanding of other articles.

Chalmers gives great introductions to every section in the book, so you never lose track of the development of different ideas and how they stand with respect to each other.

Finally, after learning so much (and even though it goes against Chalmers' own ideas) I am a much more confident materialist (Type A ;)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great primer on the philosophy of all things mind, thought, and consciousness. 9 Sep 2012
By Joshua - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a computer science professor by trade, and my area of interest is artificial intelligence. This book served as the primary text for a course on the philosophy of mind that I took while I was in graduate school. This was my first experience with the world of philosophy. This is a first rate text on the subject.

From past studies of AI/CS, cognitive science, and psychology I can tell that this is an important volume. This is a collection of studies of the philosophy of mind, it is a very self-contained read. This is an important feature of this book; it assumes little to no prior knowledge about philosophy. This book was edited by David Chalmers, and is comprised of over 60 essays from prominent philosophers spanning hundreds of years.

The treatment reads much like any thorough text on psychology would. You are not just reading about the current state of the field. The book starts from the beginning--the very beginning. The first chapters start with Rene Descartes (1600s) and Thomas Huxley (1800s). This book takes you through a number of phases of the philosophy of mind. Those who are familiar with the history of psychology will find some common ground in behaviorism, functionalism, and a number of the important questions that are grappled with over the course of the book. When read sequentially you will see how various theories are established, argued, and later refuted (or at least argued against) in later work. More contemporary works include John Searle's "Can computers think?", an essay that you may have encountered in a modern course on artificial intelligence.

This is a good read for those who are interested in AI, psychology, or cognitive science. While I hardly claim to be an expert in the field of philosophy of mind, there are a lot of interesting questions that I have grappled with in the past. There are also a number of question that hadn't occurred to me in the past given that I was trained as a scientist, and not a philosopher.

The author has even remarked that there will eventually be a companion piece on the philosophy of science. I am excited about the prospect of this companion, and look forward to studying the two volumes together in the future.
5.0 out of 5 stars Had to buy for study unit 23 Jan 2014
By jilyan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is amazing and fascinating but if I didn't have my study guides I wouldn't have a clue. Still reading it and my mind is being expanded :-)
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars by philosophers for philosophers 23 Feb 2014
By zenson1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A book written by philosophers for philosophers. Very dense reading, especially for a beginning student. Lots of jargon - keep a dictionary close at hand.
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