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3940Re: [neoplatonism] Book Recommendation

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  • Curt Steinmetz
    Dec 1, 2010
      A little known, but extremely valuable, document in the debate over the
      "physicalist" view of the mind is an essay written by none other than
      Thomas Henry Huxley back in 1870 titled "On Descartes' 'Discourse
      Touching the Method of Using One's Reason Rightly and of Seeking
      Scientific Truth'".

      Here is a link to the full essay:
      http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE1/DesDis.html

      Huxley's position is quite simple, and, in my opinion, irrefutable:
      "that all our knowledge is a knowledge of states of consciousness."
      Indeed, Huxley does not stop there: "'Matter' and 'Force' are, as far as
      we can know, mere names for certain forms of consciousness."

      Also, it is quite enlightening to acquaint oneself with the
      "physicalism" of the ancient Stoic and Epicurean schools, whose
      physicalism extended to physicalist explanations for such things as
      souls and Gods. Julia Annas' little book, "The Hellenistic Philosophy of
      Mind" is an excellent source on this point:
      http://books.google.com/books?id=IS6M5dGyKtcC

      Curt Steinmetz

      On 11/30/10 3:46 PM, Thomas Mether wrote:
      > List,
      >
      > I've mentioned in the past that there are a growing number of defenders of a "substance dualist" philosophy of mind against the dominant physicalist paradigm. Some of these books include John Foster's The Immaterial Self (Oxford), Swinburne's The Evolution of the Soul (Oxford), and Moreland's Body and Soul (which, btw, is a defense not of Cartesian dualism but of what is variously described as classical Thomist-Bonaventurean-Neoplatonic dualism).
      >
      > The book I am now recommending I was referred to by a neuroscientist friend and colleague. It is by a group of neuroscientists and psychologists. It defends the "F.W.H Myers- W. James" model with the latest research evidence supporting the model.
      >
      > Here is the info with publisher's blurb.
      >
      > Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, With CD containing F. W. H. Myers's hard-to-find classic 2-volume Human Personality (1903) and selected contemporary reviews. Rowman& Littlefield Publishers, Inc. ( 2009).
      > Edward F. Kelly (Editor), Edward F. Kelly (Author) , Emily Williams Kelly (Author), Adam Crabtree (Author), Alan Gauld (Author), Michael Grosso (Author), Bruce Greyson (Author)
      > Publisher Description
      > Current mainstream opinion in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in brains. Views of this sort have dominated recent scholarly publication. The present volume, however, demonstrates--empirically--that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false. The authors systematically marshal evidence for a variety of psychological phenomena that are extremely difficult, and in some cases clearly impossible, to account for in conventional physicalist terms. Topics addressed include phenomena of extreme psychophysical influence, memory, psychological automatisms and secondary personality, near-death experiences and allied phenomena, genius-level creativity, and 'mystical' states of consciousness both spontaneous and drug-induced. The authors further show that these rogue phenomena are more readily accommodated by an alternative
      > 'transmission' or 'filter' theory of mind/brain relations advanced over a century ago by a largely forgotten genius, F. W. H. Myers, and developed further by his friend and colleague William James. This theory, moreover, ratifies the commonsense conception of human beings as causally effective conscious agents, and is fully compatible with leading-edge physics and neuroscience. The book should command the attention of all open-minded persons concerned with the still-unsolved mysteries of the mind.
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