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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good little book, 8 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness (Hardcover)
Alva Noe is a good philosopher, and the argument he presents in this book is worth taking seriously. As a philosopher too (who should disclose that he has traded words and shared parties with Alva), I'm not convinced entirely by his case, but I find the general drift quite persuasive. Essentially, the prevailing orthodoxy that minds are implemented by brains is conceptually lazy and possibly only half the truth, but we have our work cut out trying to go beyond it. Noe has made a brave start. Naturally, there's still an awful lot of mileage in the mind-brain orthodoxy, and much of the hard science in the area would be incomprehensible without it, in some form, but minds extend beyond brains and are sustained in being by more than brains. As an intuition pump here, imagine that minds are like money. Dollar bills and so on implement money, but money is a lot more, even if you exclude collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps and so on as beyond the pale. Minds are part of a huge public institution by which we build our organized and collective appreciation of nature and our place in it. Noe sees something like this (my gloss on the view is of course my own to live down) and gives the view a hearty helping hand. My reservation (hence four stars) is over the rather folksy rhetoric that decorates the book. This creditably personal style makes the hard core argument easier and smoother reading, and many will welcome it for that reason, but for me as a logical purist is was rather ad hominem. Anyway, that said, read this book in conjunction with Andy Clark's Supersizing the Mind. The basic message is the same. This is a message whose time is coming, I think. And Noe has done a great job in putting it out there for all interested readers to enjoy.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Oct 2010 08:56:40 BDT
It's great for once to read a philosophically informed Amazon review of a philosophy book! Thank you for a very helpful review.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Oct 2010 16:07:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Oct 2010 16:07:59 BDT
I second Myles' comment.

Time to just sit and think is becoming an "expensive" commodity. But if the book is half as focused and well-informed as the review I imagine it will be well worth taking time over.

Thanks Andrew.

Posted on 17 Mar 2013 09:44:01 GMT
Great review and I too, believe that this message's time IS coming - shame there are SO many recalcitrant so-called professional scientists with closed minds.
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