Filters and Reflections: Perspectives on Reality

ICRL Press
Free sample

When confronting the unexplained, it is helpful to consider it from many different points of view. In an essay published in 2004, entitled "Sensors, Filters, and the Source of Reality," Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne of Princeton University's PEAR laboratory proposed that consciousness constructs its reality by ordering the information it derives from the external world through an array of physiological, psychological, and cultural filters. This thesis has now been considered by nineteen distinguished scholars who here present their commentaries from a broad spectrum of professional and personal perspectives. Drawn from such diverse backgrounds as art, Buddhism, evolutionary biology, fantasy, out-of-body experiences, philosophy, physics, psychology, semiotics, and systems engineering, among others, these contributions offer an assortment of unique and fascinating glimpses of how our experiences and their styles of representation are reflected through these filters of consciousness.
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Publisher
ICRL Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2009
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Pages
310
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ISBN
9781936033010
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
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This content is DRM protected.
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In Coming to Our Senses, cognitive scientist Viki McCabe argues that prevailing theories of perception, cognition, and information cannot explain how we know the world around us. Using scientific studies and true stories, McCabe shows that the ecological disasters, political paralysis, and economic failures we now face originate in our tendency to privilege cognitive processes and products over the information we access with our perceptual systems. As a result, we typically default to making decisions using inaccurate information such as mechanistic theories that reduce the world to extractable, exploitable parts. But the world does not function as an assembly of parts; it functions as a coalition of complex systems--from cells to cities--that organize and sustain themselves and cannot be partitioned and retain their purpose. McCabe also argues that we cannot describe such systems using theories and words. Instead, each system reveals itself in fractal-like geometric configurations that emerge from and reflect the structural organization that brings it into existence and determines its functions--a veritable physics of information. Thus, we comprehend phenomena as disparate as neural networks, river deltas, and economies by perceiving the branching geometry that organizes them into distribution systems. McCabe's key point is that form not only follows function, it doubles as information. If we put our theories aside and focus on the information the world displays, our perceptions can block hostile mental takeovers, reconnect us to reality, and bring us back to our senses.
A core philosophical project is the attempt to uncover the fundamental nature of reality, the limited set of facts upon which all other facts depend. Perhaps the most popular theory of fundamental reality in contemporary analytic philosophy is physicalism, the view that the world is fundamentally physical in nature. The first half of this book argues that physicalist views cannot account for the evident reality of conscious experience, and hence that physicalism cannot be true. Unusually for an opponent of physicalism, Goff argues that there are big problems with the most well-known arguments against physicalismChalmers' zombie conceivability argument and Jackson's knowledge argumentand proposes significant modifications. The second half of the book explores and defends a recently rediscovered theory of fundamental realityor perhaps rather a grouping of such theoriesknown as 'Russellian monism.' Russellian monists draw inspiration from a couple of theses defended by Bertrand Russell in The Analysis of Matter in 1927. Russell argued that physics, for all its virtues, gives us a radically incomplete picture of the world. It tells us only about the extrinsic, mathematical features of material entities, and leaves us in the dark about their intrinsic nature, about how they are in and of themselves. Following Russell, Russellian monists suppose that it is this 'hidden' intrinsic nature of matter that explains human and animal consciousness. Some Russellian monists adopt panpsychism, the view that the intrinsic natures of basic material entities involve consciousness; others hold that basic material entities are proto-conscious rather than conscious. Throughout the second half of the book various forms of Russellian monism are surveyed, and the key challenges facing it are discussed. The penultimate chapter defends a cosmopsychist form of Russellian monism, according to which all facts are grounded in facts about the conscious universe.
A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2013!

This book examines seven different answers to the question, "What are we talking about when we talk about the mind?" It begins by considering the dualistic view, frequently taken for granted by students, that words like "belief," "anger," and "jealousy" refer to a realm quite distinct from the physical world, and notes the difficulties associated with this view as well as why many find it compelling. The book then describes six further major views of mind alternative to dualism that have been developed by psychologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists: Some claim that such words are just about behavior. Some claim that such words are theoretical constructs, like "quarks" in physics. Some identify the mind with the brain or with a kind of program in the brain like the software in a computer. Some think there is nothing to which such words refer. Some think mental talk reflects nothing but convention.

Students in psychology learn about different views of mind in various courses, but they tend to be left on their own to deal with the conflicts among them. How to conceive of mind is usually addressed in the context not of psychology but of philosophy, where it tends to be treated in ways that may seem esoteric to psychology students. Seldom discussed in one place, this book presents all seven views and the reasons for and against each in a relatively nontechnical, informal manner designed to appeal to psychology students and their instructors, permitting comparisons and possible resolutions.

Major New York Times bestseller
Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012
Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011
A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title
One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year
One of The Wall Street Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011
2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient
Kahneman's work with Amos Tversky is the subject of Michael Lewis's The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“One of the most important books I’ve ever read—an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates

“Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.” —Melinda Gates

"Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." - Former U.S. President Barack Obama

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

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“This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance...Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn’t enough. But I hope this book will be.” Hans Rosling, February 2017.

Have you ever . . . Invested time in something that, in hindsight, just wasn't worth it? Paid too much in an eBay auction? Continued to do something you knew was bad for you? Sold stocks too late, or too early? Taken credit for success, but blamed failure on external circumstances? Backed the wrong horse?

These are examples of what the author calls cognitive biases, simple errors all of us make in day-to-day thinking. But by knowing what they are and how to identify them, we can avoid them and make better choices: whether in dealing with personal problems or business negotiations, trying to save money or earn profits, or merely working out what we really want in life—and strategizing the best way to get it.

Already an international bestseller, The Art of Thinking Clearly distills cutting-edge research from behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience into a clever, practical guide for anyone who's ever wanted to be wiser and make better decisions. A novelist, thinker, and entrepreneur, Rolf Dobelli deftly shows that in order to lead happier, more prosperous lives, we don't need extra cunning, new ideas, shiny gadgets, or more frantic hyperactivity—all we need is less irrationality.

Simple, clear, and always surprising, this indispensable book will change the way you think and transform your decision making—at work, at home, every day. From why you shouldn't accept a free drink to why you should walk out of a movie you don't like, from why it's so hard to predict the future to why you shouldn't watch the news, The Art of Thinking Clearly helps solve the puzzle of human reasoning.

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