Cognitive Science: An Introduction to Mind and Brain

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Cognitive Science is a major new guide to the central theories and problems in the study of the mind and brain. The authors clearly explain how and why cognitive science aims to understand the brain as a computational system that manipulates representations. They identify the roots of cognitive science in Descartes - who argued that all knowledge of the external world is filtered through some sort of representation - and examine the present-day role of Artificial Intelligence, computing, psychology, linguistics and neuroscience.
Throughout, the key building blocks of cognitive science are clearly illustrated: perception, memory, attention, emotion, language, control of movement, learning, understanding and other important mental phenomena. Cognitive Science:
  • presents a clear, collaborative introduction to the subject
  • is the first textbook to bring together all the different strands of this new science in a unified approach
  • includes illustrations and exercises to aid the student
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About the author

Daniel Kolak is Professor of Philosophy at William Paterson University in New Jersey, USA. He is Series Editor of the Wadsworth Philosophers series and Longman Library of Philosophy.

William Hirstein is Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Elmhurst College, Illinois, USA.

Peter Mandik is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science Laboratory Chairman at the William Paterson University in New Jersey, USA.

Jonathan Waskan is Assistant Professor at the Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Oct 3, 2006
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781134598816
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Phenomenology is about subjective aspects of the mind, such as the conscious states associated with vision and touch, and the conscious states associated with emotions and moods, such as feelings of elation or sadness. These states have a distinctive first-person ‘feel’ to them, called their phenomenal character. In this respect they are often taken to be radically different from mental states and processes associated with thought.

This is the first book to fully question this orthodoxy and explore the prospects of cognitive phenomenology, applying phenomenology to the study of thought and cognition. Does cognition have its own phenomenal character? Can introspection tell us either way? If consciousness flows in an unbroken ‘stream’ as William James argued, how might a punctuated sequence of thoughts fit into it?

Elijah Chudnoff begins with a clarification of the nature of the debate about cognitive phenomenology and the network of concepts and theses that are involved in it. He then examines the following topics:

introspection and knowledge of our own thoughts phenomenal contrast arguments the value of consciousness the temporal structure of experience the holistic character of experience and the interdependence of sensory and cognitive states the relationship between phenomenal character and mental representation.

Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading, and a glossary, this book is essential reading for anyone seeking a clear and informative introduction to and assessment of cognitive phenomenology, whether philosophy student or advanced researcher. It will also be valuable reading for those in related subjects such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and epistemology.

An examination of the relationship between the brain and culpability that offers a comprehensive neuroscientific theory of human responsibility.

When we praise, blame, punish, or reward people for their actions, we are holding them responsible for what they have done. Common sense tells us that what makes human beings responsible has to do with their minds and, in particular, the relationship between their minds and their actions. Yet the empirical connection is not necessarily obvious. The “guilty mind” is a core concept of criminal law, but if a defendant on trial for murder were found to have serious brain damage, which brain parts or processes would have to be damaged for him to be considered not responsible, or less responsible, for the crime? What mental illnesses would justify legal pleas of insanity? In Responsible Brains, philosophers William Hirstein, Katrina Sifferd, and Tyler Fagan examine recent developments in neuroscience that point to neural mechanisms of responsibility. Drawing on this research, they argue that evidence from neuroscience and cognitive science can illuminate and inform the nature of responsibility and agency. They go on to offer a novel and comprehensive neuroscientific theory of human responsibility.

The authors' core hypothesis is that responsibility is grounded in the brain's prefrontal executive processes, which enable us to make plans, shift attention, inhibit actions, and more. The authors develop the executive theory of responsibility and discuss its implications for criminal law. Their theory neatly bridges the folk-psychological concepts of the law and neuroscientific findings.

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