Mindmelding: Consciousness, Neuroscience, and the Minds Privacy

Hardcover | February 3, 2012

byWilliam Hirstein

not yet rated|write a review
Can consciousness and the human mind be understood and explained in sheerly physical terms? Materialism is a philosophical/scientific theory, according to which the mind is completely physical. This theory has been around for literally thousands of years, but it was always stymied by itsinability to explain how exactly mere matter could do the amazing things the mind can do. Beginning in the 1980s, however, a revolution began quietly boiling away in the neurosciences, yielding increasingly detailed theories about how the brain might accomplish consciousness. Nevertheless, a fundamental obstacle remains. Contemporary research techniques seem to still have the scientific observer of the conscious state locked out of the sort of experience the subjects themselves are having. Science can observe, stimulate, and record events in the brain, but can it everenter the most sacred citadel, the mind? Can it ever observe the most crucial properties of conscious states, the ones we are aware of? If it can't, this creates a problem. If conscious mental states lack a basic feature possessed by all other known physical states, i.e., the capability to beobserved or experienced by many people, this give us reason to believe that they are not entirely physical. In this intriguing book, William Hirstein argues that it is indeed possible for one person to directly experience the conscious states of another, by way of what he calls mindmelding. This would involve making just the right connections in two peoples' brains, which he describes in detail. He thenfollows up the many other consequences of the possibility that what appeared to be a wall of privacy can actually be breached. Drawing on a range of research from neuroscience and psychology, and looking at executive functioning, mirror neuron work, as well as perceptual phenomena such as blind-sight and filling-in, this book presents a highly original new account of consciousness.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$81.95

Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Can consciousness and the human mind be understood and explained in sheerly physical terms? Materialism is a philosophical/scientific theory, according to which the mind is completely physical. This theory has been around for literally thousands of years, but it was always stymied by itsinability to explain how exactly mere matter coul...

William Hirstein is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Elmhurst College, in Elmhurst, Illinois, USA. He received his PhD from the University of California, Davis, in 1994. His graduate and postdoctoral studies were conducted under the supervision of John Searle, V. S. Ramachandran, and Patricia Churchland. He is the au...

other books by William Hirstein

Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:February 3, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199231907

ISBN - 13:9780199231904

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Mindmelding: Consciousness, Neuroscience, and the Minds Privacy

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

1. The Impasse2. An Alternative Framework3. The Brain and its Cortex4. Consciousness5. Preparing Representations6. Executive Processes7. Sense of Self8. The Reality and Importance of the Executive Self9. Sharing Conscious States10. Mindtalk11. Disentangling Self and Consciousness12. Representation and Consciousness13. The Mind and Its Care