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Unfolding BodymindUnfolding Bodymind : Exploring Possibility Through Education by Hocking, Haskell, Linds

Volume Three of the Foundations of Holistic Education Series

Unfolding Bodymind is a gathering of bold, fascinating ideas by twenty-one educators exploring the frontiers of contemporary educational thought and practice. The authors are engaged in various ways with the task of overcoming the philosophical separation of the mind from the physical world that has characterized Western culture, especially our educational practices, since Descartes at the dawn of the scientific era. Reporting their experiences in diverse learning situations (from college classrooms to scuba diving instruction to theatre warm up exercises), they investigate how learning is immersed in the world and takes place only through purposeful action and dynamic relationship. Body and mind form an inseparable whole; thus, knowing is no longer simply a "cognitive" process but an engagement of the integrated "bodymind" with the environment. The authors describe how thought is intrinsically infused with feeling, desire, and sensation, and therefore the task of education is to "rekindle our senses." When we no longer view the human self as an independent, isolated atom (as assumed in so many of the methods and techniques of modern schooling) but as constituted in interaction with the world, then learning is not a dry acquisition of information but a reaching out to the world with a sense of wonder to explore new possibilities.

Inspired by several streams of unconventional thinking--Buddhism, phenomenology, the holistic biology of Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana, and an exquisite ecological sensibility such as that in David Abram's work (The Spell of the Sensuous)--the authors construct a strong philosophical foundation for a holistic understanding of knowing, teaching, and learning. To express their unfamiliar insights, many of them play with conventional language to make it serve a more holistic, relational view of the world. For example, the editors replace "understanding" with the term "interstanding"; several authors insert poetry and free verse into their essays; words are sometimes broken up with parentheses or slashes to emphasize their root meanings or their ambiguity. This book challenges the reader to step out of the linear, overly rational discourse that has conditioned our worldview.

With the exception of Abram and Canadian theorist David Jardine (whose writings grace this collection), most of the authors are largely unknown young scholars whose work has not yet circulated in established academic or professional circles. They came together at a conference in Vancouver in May, 1999 to share their experiences and ideas about "enactive" and embodied learning, and their chapters are carefully revised versions of their conference presentations. One of them, Franc Feng, suggests that that conference "may turn out to be a watershed in holism and ecological discourse ... which contributed to the reversal of anthropocentric greed and arrogance towards a discourse of love, compassion, humility, and reverence for all life."

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cover The Nature of Consciousness : Philosophical Debates by Ned Joel Block (Editor), Owen Flanagan (Editor), Guven Guzeldere (Editor)

Almost everyone agrees that we possess consciousness, but as this book demonstrates, that's where the agreement ends. What can we say about the mind without fear of contradiction? Not much, and that's how the study of consciousness stands out from other scientific and philosophical endeavors--the field's great minds argue cogently with little common ground, and nothing is safe from questioning.

For the adventurous and thoughtful reader, this is a paradise on the frontiers of knowledge. The Nature of Consciousness presumes a basic familiarity with science and philosophy, as well as a willingness to think and read carefully. With articles by such bright lights as Daniel Dennett, John Searle, Patricia Smith Churchland, and even the great William James, it provides both a comprehensive overview of the field and in-depth analyses of such issues as the mind-body problem and how we can study a phenomenon that may not be observed directly. It is best read as an update on Western scientific and philosophical replies to one of the great questions: Who are we? Given the universal appeal of such a question, the reader will undoubtedly find much within to challenge, puzzle, frustrate, and delight. --Rob Lightner

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Cognitive Questions

Original Contribution:  Teed RockwellThis site contains several papers by Teed Rockwell on issues in Philosophy of Mind, with commentary written by a variety of philosophers and scientists. It also contains the Archives of an Internet Mailing list called Cognitive Questions, and uses a complex network of links to show how the Internet postings and the commentaries created a dialogue that gave rise to each paper.

 Papers include:

bulletExperience and Sensation- Sellars and Dewey on the Non-cognitive aspects of Mental Life
bulletA Critique of Rorty's analysis of Modern Epistemology
bulletThe Hard Problem is Dead; Long live the hard problem
bulletA Defense of Emergent Downward Causation
bulletThe Modularity of Dynamic Systems
bulletThe Effects of Atomistic Ontology on the History of Psychology

 

The Consciousness in the Natural World Project

ne plus award winner Nigel J. T. Thomas

Created and Maintained by the Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling.

Director: Dr Jose Luis Bermudez 
Research Assistant: Fiona Macpherson 

The site includes details of the project, previous and forthcoming conferences, papers by members and guests of the project, a bibliography on self-deception and links. 

Site Includes:

bulletDetailed programme statement
bulletDetails of forthcoming conferences, colloquia and visiting speakers
bulletDetails of previous colloquia
bulletSelected contributing guest papers
bulletSelected project member's papers and work
bulletSelected project member's book reviews
bulletInformation on a special edition of Philosophical Explorations on the personal/subpersonal distinction, to be published in January 2000, edited by Jose Luis Bermudez and Matthew Elton
bulletSelf-Deception Bibliography
bulletDetails of the Stirling locality, local accommodation and tourist information
bulletUseful links

Nigel J. T. Thomas

Original Contribution:  Nigel J. T. Thomas"Are Theories of Imagery Theories of Imagination? An Active Perception Approach to Conscious Mental Content"  

Can theories of mental imagery, conscious mental contents, developed within cognitive science throw light on the obscure (but culturally very significant) concept of imagination? Three extant views of mental imagery are considered: quasi-pictorial, description, and perceptual activity theories. The first two face serious theoretical and empirical difficulties. The third is (for historically contingent reasons) little known, theoretically underdeveloped, and empirically untried, but has real explanatory potential. It rejects the "traditional" symbolic computational view of mental contents, but is compatible with recent situated cognition and active vision approaches in robotics. This theory is developed and elucidated. Three related key aspects of imagination (non-discursiveness, creativity, and seeing as) raise difficulties for the other theories. Perceptual activity theory presents imagery as non-discursive and relates it closely to seeing as. It is thus well placed to be the basis for a general theory of imagination and its role in creative thought.

Imagination, Mental Imagery, Consciousness, and Cognition

ne plus award winner Nigel J. T. ThomasCreated and Maintained by Nigel J. T. Thomas.  A gateway resource site for the philosophical, scientific, and historical study of imagination and mental imagery, and their role in consciousness and cognition. 

This site specifically covers imagination and mental imagery approached from serious scientific, philosophical or historical perspectives.

 

Folk Psychology vs. Mental Simulation: How Minds Understand Minds

By Nigel J. T. Thomas

Folk Psychology vs. Mental Simulation: How Minds Understand Minds. Papers from or relating to Robert Gordon's NEH Seminar on the "Simulation" Theory of "Folk Psychology": relevant to understanding interpersonal understanding, empathy, the nature and origins of mental concepts, the causes of autism, etc. Articles by Gordon, Stich, and others.

 

David Chalmers Philosophy of Mind Website

This site includes work by Chalmers as well as other philosophy of mind resources.  Site Includes: 

Works by Chalmers:

bulletSome papers on consciousness
bulletPapers on the foundations of AI
bulletMiscellaneous bits and pieces
bulletOnline discussions of my work
bulletResponses to articles on my work
bulletPapers on Mind, Modality and Meaning

Other Resources

bulletPhilosophy of mind: A bibliography
bulletConsciousness in science: A bibliography
bulletOnline papers on consciousness
bulletIndividuals with online papers in philosophy
bulletWeb resources
bulletPhilosophical humor
bulletZombies on the web

 

Consciousness as Existence

Essay by Ted Honderich

Functionalism and other materialisms leave out consciousness in their attempt to say what it is. Something very new is needed -- maybe the idea in this first paper to the effect that perceptual consciousness consists in a state of affairs -- the existence in a way of things or a world.

Excerpt:

The difference for present purposes between ourselves and stones, chairs and our computers is that we are conscious. The difference is fundamental. Being conscious is sufficient for having a mind in one sense of the word `mind', and being conscious is necessary and fundamental to having a mind in any decent sense. What is this difference between ourselves and stones, chairs and our computers? The question is not meant to imply that there is a conceptual or a nomic barrier in the way of non-biological things being conscious. It may happen one decade that the Other Minds problem will shoot up the philosophical agenda and get a lot of attention as a result of a wonderful computer attached to perceptual and behavioral mechanisms, and that the thing will in the end be taken as conscious, rightly. Our question is not what things can be conscious, but what the property or nature of consciousness is...

Ted Honderich's Online Essays:

bulletConsciousness as Existence
bulletTed Honderich's second paper on Consciousness as Existence
bulletFunctionalism, Identity Theories, The Union Theory
bulletConsciousness and Microtubules
bulletFree Will and Determinism:  Compatibilism, Incompatibilism, and the Smart Aleck
bulletConsequentialism, Moralities of Concern, and Selfishness
bulletEquality:  What It Is Not
bulletEquality:  What It Is

   

Philosophy of Mind

Luca Malatesti

Extensive index of links to resources covering all aspects of the philosophy of mind.

   

The Ladder of Mind

Yacov Feldman's system to explain development of groups - from one person to mankind (sic).

 

A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind

Philosophy of mind and the philosophical issues arising in the allied domain of cognitive sciences constitute a fast developing territory, which is very well introduced by a number of excellent web resources (see our choice at RECOMMENDED LINKS section). In the hope not just to follow the stream, but to be interestingly complementary to them, more focused views of specific regions will be supplied here. We call them GUIDED TOURS, each being an in depth exploration of a particular topic that comprises two parts: 1) a preliminary state-of-the-art report on the issue, which explains what the question is, how it arises and what ramifications result from it; how the debate goes on with all the theories, objections, proposed solutions, etc. 2) a bibliographical guide to the relevant literature, which consists of copiously annotated items. Such a bibliography does not aim at an abstract completeness, but it should reasonably cover all the material worth mentioning, or at least what so seems in the opinion of the author. As it is in the ‘field guide’ genre, the reader is provided with helpful signposts by experienced authors, but is encouraged to eventually take his own path. In the continuous effort of enlarging and keeping them updated, the ‘tours’ will be always in progress.  Annotated items can be individually searched in the DATABASE section, where they are listed by AUTHORS and by TITLES.  

 

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