Soul, Mind and Brain from Descartes to Cognitive Science: A Critical History

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Springer Nature, Oct 15, 2020 - Philosophy - 142 pages

This interdisciplinary book ties the historical work of Descartes to his successors through current research and critical overviews on the neuroscience of consciousness, the brain, and cognition. This text is the first historical survey to focus on the cohesions and discontinuities between historical and contemporary thinkers working in philosophy, physiology, psychology, and neuroscience.

The book introduces and analyzes early discussions of consciousness, such as: metaphysical alternatives to scientific explanations of consciousness and its connection to brain activity; claims about the possibilities and limits of neuroscientific accounts of consciousness and cognition; and the proposition of a “non-reductive naturalism” concerning phenomenal consciousness and rationality. The author assesses the contributions of early philosophers and scientists on brain, consciousness and cognition, among them: Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Newton, Haller, Kant, Fechner, Helmholtz and du Bois-Reymond. The work of these pioneers is related to that of modern researchers in physiology, psychology, neuroscience and philosophy of mind, including: Freud, Hilary Putnam, Herbert Feigl, Gerald Edelman, Jean-Pierre Changeux, Daniel Dennett and David Chalmers, amongst others. This text appeals to researchers and advanced students in the field.



1 Descartes Double Legacy
2 Mechanism Metaphysics and Mind in the Seventeenth Century
3 Active Matter Mental Powers and the Limits of Knowledge
A Kantian Legacy
5 Brain Consciousness and the Unconscious in the Nineteenth Century
Evidence Hypotheses Critique

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About the author (2020)

Paolo Pecere is a Professor of History of Philosophy at the University of Roma TRE. His research has focused on the history of philosophy of science from Kant to the 20th century. He has written a number of books, including La filosofia della natura in Kant (2009) and Meccanica quantistica rappresentazione realtÓ (2011, with A. Bassi and N. Argentieri). He also edited the special issue “Philosophy and the books of Quaestio” of the Yearbook for the History of Metaphysics (2011) and the collection Il libro della natura (2 vols., 2015).

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