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2014 - Volume 35, Numbers 1 and 2, Winter and Spring

Feeling
Jason Brown, New York City

This article attempts to establish on a psychological basis some foundational principles of a philosophy of mind grounded in process (microgenetic) and evolutionary theory, with a focus on the micro-temporal or diachronic aspects of mental contents and the derivation and intra-psychic structure of the mind/brain states in which they are ingredients. The subjectivity of the approach is in contrast to the externalist stance of cognitivist theory, a distinction with a venerable history. For example, Bosanquet asked, “is mental growth a process of compounding units . . . or a process of discrimination?” and cited James as preferring to begin with “the more concrete mental aspects . . . (and go) to elements we come to know by way of abstraction.” James went on to write that the ”process of ‘building-up’ the mind out of its ‘units of composition’ has the merit of expository elegance, and gives a neatly subdivided table of contents; but it often purchases these advantages at the cost of reality and truth.” James insisted on a focus on entire conscious states rather than “the postmortem study of their comminuted ‘elements’ (which is) the study of artificial abstractions, not of natural things.”

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jason Brown, Ph.D., 66 East 79th Street,
New York, New York, 10075. Email: drjbrown@hotmail.com


ADHD as Emergent Institutional Exploitation
Lincoln Stoller, Mind Strength Balance, Inc.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is examined in terms of the systems that define it and as a structure that creates the world around it. Considering ADHD as an aspect of the whole environment allows the assembly of partial and conflicting views to create a single, multi-faceted picture. The ADHD label is shown to be an emergent property that manifests the failure of the social, economic, therapeutic, and political parts of our culture. This approach provides a theoretical basis on which to analyze the diagnosis’s evolutionary path and to make predictions about its future.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lincoln Stoller, Ph.D., 148 Dubois Road, Shokan, New York 12481. Email: LS@mindstrengthbalance.com

Experimental Methods for Unraveling the Mind–Body Problem: The Phenomenal Judgment Approach
Victor Yu. Argonov, Pacific Oceanological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences

A rigorous approach to the study of the mind–body problem is suggested. Since humans are able to talk about consciousness (produce phenomenal judgments), it is argued that the study of neural mechanisms of phenomenal judgments can solve the hard problem of consciousness. Particular methods are suggested for: (1) verification and falsification of materialism; (2) verification and falsification of interactionism; (3) falsification of epiphenomenalism and parallelism (verification is problematic); (4) verification of particular materialistic theories of consciousness; (5) a non-Turing test for machine consciousness. A complex research program is constructed that includes studies of intelligent machines, numerical models of human and artificial creatures, language, neural correlates of consciousness, and quantum mechanisms in brain.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Victor Argonov, Ph.D., Pacific Oceanological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 41 Baltiiskaya Street, Vladivostok, Russia 690041. Email: argonov@list.ru

Critical Notices

Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content
Book Authors: Daniel D. Hutto and Erik Myin. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2013, 206 pages, $ 35.00 hardcover.
Reviewed by Tom Froese, National Autonomous University of Mexico

Increasing numbers of philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists are jumping on the embodied cognition bandwagon. Accordingly, mind is no longer viewed as locked away in some Platonic realm of pure logic, as the computational theory of mind has traditionally proposed. Instead, mind has become identified with purposeful activity in the world, an activity that is realized by the body, extended by usage of tools, and scaffolded by a sociocultural environment.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr.Tom Froese, IIMAS–UNAM, Apartado Postal 20–126, Col. San Ángel, DF, 01000, Mexico. Email: t.froese@gmail.com

 What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues
Book Author: David Coady. Oxford: Wiley–Blackwell, 2012, x + 202 pages, $96.95 hardcover, $31.99 paperback.
Reviewed by Andrew Alexandra, University of Melbourne

What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues is a lively, interesting, and stylishly written book. The author, David Coady, draws from an eclectic mix of epistemological theory to illuminate — albeit sometimes briefly — a range of currently controversial topics. These include the claims of “epistemic democrats” that democracy is better able than other political systems to “track the truth,” and the debate about whether votes in democratic elections should be understood as statements, as preferences, or as resources; torture; and government surveillance and privacy. However, the heart of the book, and its most significant contributions, lies in its assessment of the epistemic credentials of a number of sources of popular beliefs, in particular the testimony of experts, rumours, conspiracy theories and the blogosphere. Accordingly, this review will focus on those assessments. Though there is a certain amount of overlap, the content of each is distinct enough to merit individual consideration.

Correspondence concerning this review should be sent to Andrew Alexandra, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Old Quad, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia. Email: a.alexandra@unimelb.edu.au

 Book Reviews

 Transference and Countertransference Today
Book Editor: Robert Oelsner. London and New York: Routledge, 2013, 361 pages, $54.95 paper.
Reviewed by William Fried, Private Practice, New York City

Of considerable salience among the contents of this book is the publication in English, for the first time, of Racker’s “Observations on Countertransference as a Technical Instrument” [pp. 18–29].1 It is the first and keynote paper. The 16 papers that follow it are to a greater or lesser degree, responses to and elaborations on Racker’s ideas. Either because of difficulties with the translation or conceptual flaws, however, the paper falls short of other works by Racker, principally those collected in his book, Transference and Countertransference, that has been available in English since 1968.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to William Fried, Ph.D., FIPA, 29 West 64th Street, New York, New York 10023. Email: billfried9@gmail.com

 Schéma Corporel, Image du Corps, Image Spéculaire. Neurologie et Psychanalyse [Body Schema, Body Image, Specular Image. Neurology and Psychoanalysis]
Book Author: Catherine Morin. Toulouse: Éditions érès, 2013, 214 pages, 13 euros.
Reviewed by Dorothée Legrand, CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure

In her book, Schéma Corporel, Image du Corps, Image Spéculaire. Neurologie et Psychanalyse [Body Schema, Body Image, Specular Image. Neurology and Psychoanalysis], Catherine Morin aims at understanding the “subjective consequences of strokes” [« conséquences subjectives des accidents vasculaires cérébraux »] (p. 11) by relying on patients’ reports, and by interpreting them from a perspective at the interface of neurology and psychoanalysis. Throughout the book, Morin gives a brief description of different concepts she relies on, concepts about which there is no consensus, neither in neurology nor in psychoanalysis, nor, even less, between these two disciplines; she quickly criticizes different positions, alternative to her own, positions from cognitive sciences, psychology, or neuropsychoanalysis, the latter discipline being younger than the other two but no less prolific on the topics at stake. Her rapid treatment of these topics appears as a way to avoid getting stuck in the maze of historical and/or contemporary debates on what is an object, what is a subject, what is a delusion, and, a question that is not the least weighted, what is a body, a body image, a body schema. But is this rapidity superficiality or efficiency? Both maybe, but here we will leave this question unanswered, to follow the path pursued by the author herself. Thus, we won’t point to other definitions of the aforementioned notions, other definitions to which an objector may still object, and so on. A more interesting question to start from is one that Morin herself raises: given this theoretical and clinical setting, “What have we learned? That is to say: What did the patients teach us?” [« qu’avons-nous appris? C’est-à-dire: que nous ont appris les patients? »] (p. 189), and, in particular, what have we learned about the subjective consequences of brain injuries?

Correspondance concerning this review should be adressed to Dorothée Legrand, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Archives Husserl, 45 rue l’Ulm, 75005, Paris, France. Email: dorothee.legrand@ens.fr


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