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Brave New Mind

A Thoughtful Inquiry into the Nature and Meaning of Mental Life

by Peter Dodwell

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list price: $80.50
category: Philosophy
published: 2000

How was the standard model of the mind developed? Is it adequate? And is there a place in this model for the creative genius of artists, scientists, and mathematicians? This book looks at how scientists investigate the nature of the mind and the brain, providing answers to these important questions. It opens with a description of the historical roots of cognitive science and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the standard model of the mind, including its inability to account for the many dramatic features of human achievement. The final chapter develops the notion that human creativity and the unfolding of human consciousness demand two things: that we acknowledge the central role that ideals play in human knowledge and conduct and that such ideals have no role in the standard model. Brave New Mind proposes a new image of humankind that accommodates the place of ideals and creativity in cognition and life, without abandoning the scientific ideals of empirical soundness and theoretical rigor.

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Contributor notes

Peter Dodwell is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Queens University at Kingston in Ontario, Canada.

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Editorial Reviews

"Dodwell enthusiastically leads the reader through the history of thinking on cognition. But be warned: that thinking can be hard going. Dodwell is an experimental psychologist at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and he speaks with authority. Though the name was unfamiliar to me, I trusted him almost immediately. Maybe it's the way he cockily dismisses from the outset many of the 1990s' media sweethearts ... Dodwell argues that cognitive scientists have taken too restricted a view of the mind. He accuses them of concentrating too much on the brain's routines--perception, memory, problem-solving. ... Not enough attention is paid to the 'highlights', he says. What of creativity? What of ideals and imagination and inspiration? To really understand the human mind, these elements must be explored."--New Scientist

"Documenting the achievements of cognitive science, this volume is a mature retrospective on its limitations and, implicitly, its failures of intent, and this by a participant in the enterprise whose reflections reach back more than 40 years to the beginning of his academic career. It is also a book about the kind of science to which cognitive science aspires but cannot possibly attain given that it deals only with the 'grammar' of mental life and not with its 'drama.' Dodwell is unashamedly engaged in a metaphysical quest to renew cognitive science by calling it back to a prior understanding of the 'human condition.' This book is a courageous endeavor and deserves to be read not only as a critique of cognitive science, but as an autobiographical account of the enlightenment of one participant in that science. The author has opened a way for those of us whose calling it is to understand ourselves and our world. " -- Leendert P. Mos, Canadian Psychology 42:3

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