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Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century Paperback – 16 Nov 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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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: 15.5 x 4.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

a must-read for anyone working in consciousness studies, psychology and the history of science.--Jonathan Edelman, Oxford University

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 "

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, Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University "Religious Studies Review "

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 "

...brilliant, 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

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

[A] must-read for anyone working in consciousness studies, psychology and the history of science.--Jonathan Edelman, Oxford University

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 ""

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 E. Presti, Professor of Neurobiology, University of California-Berkeley, Professor of Neurobiology, University of California-Berkeley

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 III, MD, Neurosurgeon and author of Proof of Heaven and The Map of Heaven

[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, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies, 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, Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago

[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 "

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, junior research fellow in history and philosophy of science, Churchill College, University of Cambridge "Journal Of Mind and Behavior ""

[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, scholar of religion, and author of Mystical Encounters with the Natural World "Journal of Consciousness Studies "

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

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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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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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I am a retired research chemist with experience also in computing. Since my student days I have also taken an interest in philosophy, religion, evolutionary theory, physics and so on. Particularly intriguing have been issues involving the mind, brain and consciousness and unexplained associated phenomena. Good examples are mysticism, near death experiences (NDEs), the capabilities of yoga adepts and occurrences of 'terminal lucidity' in the dying. It is clear to me that a model of the brain/mind as a computer is woefully inadequate and that consciousness is a distinct entity separate from the world as described by traditional physics. A short while ago I read Eben Alexander's book 'Proof of Heaven'. So many things that I had pondered over the years seemed to be coming together. At this point I decided to tackle 'Irreducible Mind' to find out more.

Be warned, 'Irreducible Mind' is an academic tome, but carefully put together by a group of authors. It is not for the fainthearted! I have read a substantial portion of it and some sections, e.g. concerning NDEs, I have read more thoroughly than others. A huge range of topics is covered especially certain phenomena, well proven, that cannot be explained by main stream psychological theory. The authors have been truly scientific and considered all relevant phenomena including those that do not fit easily into the 'conventional wisdom'. The book strikingly reveals what miserable progress has been made, in the previous 100 or so years, in describing what consciousness really is . They stress that we must develop in psychology a 'theory of everything' that will bring together many disparate threads of human experience. They do not themselves claim to have all of the answers.
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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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Although not the actual author, Michael Murphy with his partner set up Esalen Institute Big Sur California in 1962, and created a Gateway for the emerging ideas in Physics, Philosophy, Scientific Psychology, Health, Alternative treatments and the growing awareness of the Eastern Wisdom Traditions, to be accessed by lay persons. This book, with 6 contributing authors looks comprehensively at all the research on consciousness, the neuroscience of the mind and is already becoming a landmark publication that has helped spark the revolution of further scientific investigation into the nature of consciousness. At 800 pages - quite a tome and original copies are expensive - so very pleased to get this copy (though as a layperson I could use a few diagrams/images to break it up), but reading it in measurable bites, it is a treasure trove of information.
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