“Experience” is a thoroughly political category, a social and historical product not authored by any individual. At the same time, “the personal is political,” and one's own lived experience is an important epistemic resource. In Anaesthetics of Existence Cressida J. Heyes reconciles these two positions, drawing on examples of things that happen to us but are nonetheless excluded from experience. If for Foucault an “aesthetics of existence” was a project of making one's life a work of art, Heyes's “anaesthetics of existence” describes antiprojects that are tacitly excluded from life—but should be brought back in. Drawing on critical phenomenology, genealogy, and feminist theory, Heyes shows how and why experience has edges, and she analyzes phenomena that press against those edges. Essays on sexual violence against unconscious victims, the temporality of drug use, and childbirth as a limit-experience build a politics of experience while showcasing Heyes's much-needed new philosophical method.
In Animal Minds, Donald R. Griffin takes us on a guided tour of the recent explosion of scientific research on animal mentality. Are animals consciously aware of anything, or are they merely living machines, incapable of conscious thoughts or emotional feelings? How can we tell? Such questions have long fascinated Griffin, who has been a pioneer at the forefront of research in animal cognition for decades, and is recognized as one of the leading behavioral ecologists of the twentieth century.
With this new edition of his classic book, which he has completely revised and updated, Griffin moves beyond considerations of animal cognition to argue that scientists can and should investigate questions of animal consciousness. Using examples from studies of species ranging from chimpanzees and dolphins to birds and honeybees, he demonstrates how communication among animals can serve as a "window" into what animals think and feel, just as human speech and nonverbal communication tell us most of what we know about the thoughts and feelings of other people. Even when they don't communicate about it, animals respond with sometimes surprising versatility to new situations for which neither their genes nor their previous experiences have prepared them, and Griffin discusses what these behaviors can tell us about animal minds. He also reviews the latest research in cognitive neuroscience, which has revealed startling similarities in the neural mechanisms underlying brain functioning in both humans and other animals. Finally, in four chapters greatly expanded for this edition, Griffin considers the latest scientific research on animal consciousness, pro and con, and explores its profound philosophical and ethical implications.
Presenting prehistoric, historic, and ethnographic data from Mongolia, China, Iceland, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States, The Anthropological Study of Class and Consciousness offers a first step toward examining class as a central issue within anthropology. Contributors to this volume use the methods of historical materialism, cultural ecology, and political ecology to understand the realities of class and how they evolve.
Five central ideas unify the collection: the objective basis for class in different social orders; people's understanding of class in relation to race and gender; the relation of ideologies of class to realities of class; the U.S. managerial middle-class denial of class and emphasis on meritocracy in relation to increasing economic insecurity; and personal responses to economic insecurity and their political implications.
Anthropologists who want to understand the nature and dynamics of culture must also understand the nature and dynamics of class. The Anthropological Study of Class and Consciousness addresses the role of the concept of class as an analytical construct in anthropology and how it relates to culture. Although issues of social hierarchy have been studied in anthropology, class has not often been considered as a central element. Yet a better understanding of its role in shaping culture, consciousness, and people's awareness of their social and natural world would in turn lead to better understanding of major trends in social evolution as well as contemporary society. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of anthropology, labor studies, ethnohistory, and sociology.
At the Borders of Sleep is a unique exploration of the connections between literature and the liminal states between waking and sleeping—from falling asleep and waking up, to drowsiness and insomnia, to states in which sleeping and waking mix. Delving into philosophy as well as literature, Peter Schwenger investigates the threshold between waking and sleeping as an important and productive state between the forced march of rational thought and the oblivion of unconsciousness.
While examining literary representations of the various states between waking and sleeping, At the Borders of Sleep also analyzes how writers and readers alike draw on and enter into these states. To do so Schwenger reads a wide range of authors for whom the borders of sleep are crucial, including Marcel Proust, Stephen King, Paul Valéry, Fernando Pessoa, Franz Kafka, Giorgio de Chirico, Virginia Woolf, Philippe Sollers, and Robert Irwin. Considering drowsiness, insomnia, and waking up, he looks at such subjects as the hypnagogic state, the experience of reading and why it is different from full consciousness, the relationships between insomnia and writing and why insomnia is often a source of creative insight, and the persistence of liminal elements in waking thought. A final chapter focuses on literature that blurs dream and waking life, giving special attention to experimental writing.
Ultimately arguing that, taking place on the edges of consciousness, both the reading and writing of literature are liminal experiences, At the Borders of Sleep suggests new ways to think about the nature of literature and consciousness.
Popular science writer Philip Ball explores a range of sciences to map our answers to a huge, philosophically rich question: How do we even begin to think about minds that are not human?
Sciences from zoology to astrobiology, computer science to neuroscience, are seeking to understand minds in their own distinct disciplinary realms. Taking a uniquely broad view of minds and where to find them—including in plants, aliens, and God—Philip Ball pulls the pieces together to explore what sorts of minds we might expect to find in the universe. In so doing, he offers for the first time a unified way of thinking about what minds are and what they can do, by locating them in what he calls the “space of possible minds.” By identifying and mapping out properties of mind without prioritizing the human, Ball sheds new light on a host of fascinating questions: What moral rights should we afford animals, and can we understand their thoughts? Should we worry that AI is going to take over society? If there are intelligent aliens out there, how could we communicate with them? Should we? Understanding the space of possible minds also reveals ways of making advances in understanding some of the most challenging questions in contemporary science: What is thought? What is consciousness? And what (if anything) is free will?
Informed by conversations with leading researchers, Ball’s brilliant survey of current views about the nature and existence of minds is more mind-expanding than we could imagine. In this fascinating panorama of other minds, we come to better know our own.
David Foulkes is one of the international leaders in the empirical study of children's dreaming, and a pioneer of sleep laboratory research with children. In this book, which distills a lifetime of study, Foulkes shows that dreaming as we normally understand it--active stories in which the dreamer is an actor--appears relatively late in childhood. This true dreaming begins between the ages of 7 and 9. He argues that this late development of dreaming suggests an equally late development of waking reflective self-awareness.
Foulkes offers a spirited defense of the independence of the psychological realm, and the legitimacy of studying it without either psychoanalytic over-interpretation or neurophysiological reductionism.
In Coming To, Timothy M. Harrison uncovers the forgotten role of poetry in the history of the idea of consciousness. Drawing our attention to a sea change in the English seventeenth century, when, over the course of a half century, “conscience” made a sudden shift to “consciousness,” he traces a line that leads from the philosophy of René Descartes to the poetry of John Milton, from the prenatal memories of theologian Thomas Traherne to the unresolved perspective on natality, consciousness, and ethics in the philosophy of John Locke. Each of these figures responded to the first-person perspective by turning to the origins of how human thought began. Taken together, as Harrison shows, this unlikely group of thinkers sheds new light on the emergence of the concept of consciousness and the significance of human natality to central questions in the fields of literature, philosophy, and the history of science.
How, theorists ask, can our private experiences guide us to knowledge of a mind-independent reality? Exploring topics in logic, philosophy of mind, and epistemology, Anil Gupta proposes a new answer to this age-old question, explaining how conscious experience contributes to the rationality and content of empirical beliefs.
"An important and thought-provoking addition to the literature on the ethics of lawyers."
---Kimberly Kirkland, Franklin Pierce Law Center
The Consciousness of the Litigator investigates the role of the lawyer in modern American political and social life and in the judicial process, and plumbs lawyers' perceptions of themselves, their work, and, especially, their sense of right and wrong.
In so doing, the book sheds light on the unique and little-examined subject of the moral mind of the litigator, whose work extends to all corners of society and whose primary expertise---making legal arguments---is the fundamental skill of all lawyers.
The Consciousness of the Litigator stands with Michael Kelly's Lives of Lawyers as a must-read for the many law students, scholars, and practicing litigators who struggle to balance ethical questions with the dictates of their highly commercialized profession.
The question of the relationship between mind and body as posed by Descartes, Spinoza, and others remains a fundamental debate for philosophers. In Damasio’s Error and Descartes’ Truth, Andrew Gluck constructs a pluralistic response to the work of neurologist Antonio Damasio. Gluck critiques the neutral monistic assertions found in Descartes’ Error and Looking for Spinoza from a philosophical perspective, advocating an adaptive theory—physical monism in the natural sciences, dualism in the social sciences, and neutral monism in aesthetics. Gluck’s work is a significant and refreshing take on a historical debate.
Wallace Chafe demonstrates how the study of language and consciousness together can provide an unexpectedly broad understanding of the way the mind works. Relying on close analyses of conversational speech as well as written fiction and nonfiction, he investigates both the flow of ideas through consciousness and the displacement of consciousness by way of memory and imagination.
Chafe draws on several decades of research to demonstrate that understanding the nature of consciousness is essential to understanding many linguistic phenomena, such as pronouns, tense, clause structure, and intonation, as well as stylistic usages, such as the historical present and the free indirect style. While the book focuses on English, there are also discussions of the North American Indian language Seneca and the music of Mozart and of the Seneca people.
This work offers a comprehensive picture of the dynamic natures of language and consciousness that will interest linguists, psychologists, literary scholars, computer scientists, anthropologists, and philosophers.
On publication in 2012, Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece quickly met wide acclaim as a gripping work that, according to the Times Literary Supplement, “offers a wholly new way of thinking about dreams in their social contexts.” It tells an extraordinary story of spiritual fervor, prophecy, and the ghosts of the distant past coming alive in the present. This new affordable paperback brings it to the wider audience that it deserves.
Charles Stewart tells the story of the inhabitants of Kóronos, on the Greek island of Naxos, who, in the 1830s, began experiencing dreams in which the Virgin Mary instructed them to search for buried Christian icons nearby and build a church to house the ones they found. Miraculously, they dug and found several icons and human remains, and at night the ancient owners of them would speak to them in dreams. The inhabitants built the church and in the years since have experienced further waves of dreams and startling prophesies that shaped their understanding of the past and future and often put them at odds with state authorities. Today, Kóronos is the site of one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the Mediterranean. Telling this fascinating story, Stewart draws on his long-term fieldwork and original historical sources to explore dreaming as a mediator of historical change, while widening the understanding of historical consciousness and history itself.
Mark Johnson is one of the great thinkers of our time on how the body shapes the mind. This book brings together a selection of essays from the past two decades that build a powerful argument that any scientifically and philosophically satisfactory view of mind and thought must ultimately explain how bodily perception and action give rise to cognition, meaning, language, action, and values.
A brief account of Johnson’s own intellectual journey, through which we track some of the most important discoveries in the field over the past forty years, sets the stage. Subsequent chapters set out Johnson’s important role in embodied cognition theory, including his cofounding (with George Lakoff) of conceptual metaphor theory and, later, their theory of bodily structures and processes that underlie all meaning, conceptualization, and reasoning. A detailed account of how meaning arises from our physical engagement with our environments provides the basis for a nondualistic, nonreductive view of mind that he sees as most congruous with the latest cognitive science. A concluding section explores the implications of our embodiment for our understanding of knowledge, reason, and truth. The resulting book will be essential for all philosophers dealing with mind, thought, and language.
Feeling Faint is a book about human consciousness in its most basic sense: the awareness, at any given moment, that we live and feel. Such awareness, it argues, is distinct from the categories of selfhood to which it is often assimilated, and can only be uncovered at the margins of first-person experience. What would it mean to be conscious without being a first person—to be conscious in the absence of a self?
Such a phenomenon, subsequently obscured by the Enlightenment identification of consciousness and personal identity, is what we discover in scenes of swooning from the Renaissance: consciousness without self, consciousness reconceived as what Fredric Jameson calls "a registering apparatus for transformed states of being." Where the early modern period has often been seen in terms of the rise of self-aware subjectivity, Feeling Faint argues that swoons, faints, and trances allow us to conceive of Renaissance subjectivity in a different guise: as the capacity of the senses and passions to experience, regulate, and respond to their own activity without the intervention of first-person awareness.
In readings of Renaissance authors ranging from Montaigne to Shakespeare, Pertile shows how self-loss affords embodied consciousness an experience of itself in a moment of intimate vitality which precedes awareness of specific objects or thoughts—an experience with which we are all familiar, and yet which is tantalizingly difficult to pin down.
In this interdisciplinary and controversial work, Igal Halfin takes an original and provocative stance on Marxist theory, and attempts to break down the divisions between history, philosophy, and literary theory.
Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit has been one of the most important works of philosophy since the nineteenth century, while the question of energy has been crucial to life in the twenty-first century. In this book, Michael Marder integrates the two, narrating a story about the trials and tribulations of energy embedded in Hegel’s dialectics. Through an original interpretation of actuality (Wirklichkeit) as energy in the Hegelian corpus, the book provides an exciting lens for understanding the dialectical project and the energy‑starved condition of our contemporaneity. To elaborate this theory, Marder undertakes a meticulous rereading of major parts of the Phenomenology, where the energy deficit of mere consciousness gives way to the energy surplus of self‑consciousness and its self‑delimitation in the domain of reason. In so doing, he denounces the current understanding of energy as pure potentiality, linking this mindset to pollution, profit-driven economies, and environmental crises. Surprising and deeply engaged with its contemporary implications, this book doesn’t simply illuminate aspects of The Phenomenology of Spirit—it provides an entirely new understanding of Hegel’s ideas.
Hegel's classic Phenomenology of Spirit is considered by many to be the most difficult text in all of philosophical literature. In interpreting the work, scholars have often used the Phenomenology to justify the ideology that has tempered their approach to it, whether existential, ontological, or, particularly, Marxist. Werner Marx deftly avoids this trap of misinterpretation by rendering lucid the objectives that Hegel delineates in the Preface and Introduction and using these to examine the whole of the Phenomenology. Marx considers selected materials from Hegel's text in order both to clarify Hegel's own view of it and to set the stage for an examination of post-Hegelian philosophy.
The primary focus of Marx's book is on the account. Hegel gives of the phenomenological journey from natural consciousness to philosophical wisdom (or absolute knowledge, as Hegel calls it). In showing that Hegel's many statements concerning consciousness 'finding itself' or 'knowing itself' in its world can be understood as discovering the rationality of the conditioning world, Marx offers a solution to several sets of interrelated problems that have troubled students of Hegel. His book contains valuable analyses of the relation between Hegel's thought and that of Descartes and Kant as well as that of Karl Marx, and it also sheds considerable light on the question of the internal unity or coherence of the Phenomenology.
The publication in 1807 of Georg Wilhelm Frederich Hegel's Phanomenologie des Geistes (translated alternately as "Phenomenology of the Mind" or "Phenomenology of the Spirit") marked the beginning of the modern era in philosophy. Hegel's remarkable insights formed the basis for what eventually became the Existentialist movement. Yet the Phenomenology remains one of the most difficult and forbidding works in the canon of philosophical literature. Hegel's Phenomenology, Part 1: Analysis and Commentary by Howard P. Kainz provides a coherent and readable key to understanding Hegel.
Kainz provides an accessible entry into the complexities of Hegelian thought by asking a series of questions about such matters as the literary form of the Phenomenology, its "plot," its relation to the "system," its subject matter, the problem of objectivity, dialectical necessity, the concept of "experience," and the Hegelian concept of consciousness. Building of the work of previous commentators, and presenting the work of these commentators in a clear and unbiased manner, Kainz offers an analysis that will be helpful both to experienced Hegelian scholars and to those readers preparing to approach the large and bewildering territory of the Phenomenology for the first time.
The publication in 1807 of Georg Wilhelm Frederich Hegel’s Phanomenologie des Geistes (translated alternately as “Phenomenology of Mind” or “Phenomenology of Spirit”) marked the beginning of the modern era in philosophy. Hegel’s remarkable insights formed the basis for what eventually became the Existentialist movement. Yet the Phenomenology remains one of the most difficult and forbidding works in the canon of philosophical literature.
At the core of Swedenborg’s thought is the understanding that our purpose in this life is to progress spiritually—to learn, to grow, to do good works, and, ultimately, to allow as much of God’s love as possible to enter into us and manifest through us.
Scattered throughout his works are descriptions of our mind and how it relates to both the physical and spiritual worlds. In this book, Taylor pulls these loose threads together and weaves them into a simple, coherent whole, presenting Swedenborg’s teachings as a system that anyone can follow. Taylor describes the external or natural mind as primarily concerned with material things, and the inner mind, in its essence, as love. As we elevate our thoughts toward higher and higher types of love and wisdom, we draw closer to God and begin the process of regeneration, or rebirth as spiritual beings.
This is the first time in many decades that a book has been published on Swedenborg’s philosophy of the mind. Taylor’s straightforward commentary gives readers a rare insight into this crucial aspect of Swedenborg’s theology.
Bernard Lonergan's ambitious study of human knowledge, based on his theory of consciousness, is among the major achievements of twentieth-century philosophy. He challenges the principles of contemporary intellectual culture by finding norms and standards not in external perceptions or reified concepts, but in the dynamism of consciousness itself.
Lonergan and the Philosophy of Historical Existence explores the implications of Lonergan's approach to the philosophy of history in a number of distinct but related contexts, covering a variety of intellectual disciplines. Each chapter can be read independently, but the series of chapters provides a coherent unfolding of Lonergan's case that the norms of inquiry endure as a standard of human thought and action amid continuous changes and fluctuations in politics, morals, religion, science, and scholarship. The book explains how Lonergan's idea of development follows from his theory of consciousness and how his treatment of human development inevitably focuses on historical development. The central theme of the book is that Lonergan's philosophy of history makes a pronounced distinction between historicity and historicism.
McPartland relates Lonergan's work to existentialist themes and, in the last chapters, to the work of Eric Voegelin. The book addresses the existentialist themes of dread, suffering, guilt, shame, and ressentiment—within overall themes of history, philosophy, and religion. McPartland argues that Lonergan's unique perspective on scientific method, epistemology, metaphysics, and critical theory can illuminate what seem to be the quite alien topics of reason as religious experience, the anxiety of existence, the existential roots of bias, and mythopoesis and mystery. Here there is a remarkable parallel to the philosophy of history of Eric Voegelin. The concluding chapters of the book show how the equivalence of the two philosophies offers a mutually enriching dialogue between Lonergan's critical realism and Voegelin's existential exegesis.
In Mexico Mystique Frank Waters draws us deeply into the ancient but still-living myths of Mexico. To reveal their hidden meanings and their powerful symbolism, he brings to bear his gift for intuitive imagination as well as a broad knowledge of anthropology, Jungian psychology, astrology, and Eastern and esoteric religions. He offers a startling interpretation of the Mayan Great Cycle — our present Fifth World — whose beginning has been projected to 3113 B.C., and whose cataclysmic end has been predicted by 2011 A.D.
How is life related to the mind? Thompson explores this so-called explanatory gap between biological life and consciousness, drawing on sources as diverse as molecular biology, evolutionary theory, artificial life, complex systems theory, neuroscience, psychology, Continental Phenomenology, and analytic philosophy. Ultimately he shows that mind and life are more continuous than previously accepted, and that current explanations do not adequately address the myriad facets of the biology and phenomenology of mind.
Our subjective inner life is what really matters to us as human beings--and yet we know relatively little about how it arises. Over a long and distinguished career Benjamin Libet has conducted experiments that have helped us see, in clear and concrete ways, how the brain produces conscious awareness. For the first time, Libet gives his own account of these experiments and their importance for our understanding of consciousness.
Most notably, Libet's experiments reveal a substantial delay--the "mind time" of the title--before any awareness affects how we view our mental activities. If all conscious awarenesses are preceded by unconscious processes, as Libet observes, we are forced to conclude that unconscious processes initiate our conscious experiences. Freely voluntary acts are found to be initiated unconsciously before an awareness of wanting to act--a discovery with profound ramifications for our understanding of free will.
How do the physical activities of billions of cerebral nerve cells give rise to an integrated conscious subjective awareness? How can the subjective mind affect or control voluntary actions? Libet considers these questions, as well as the implications of his discoveries for the nature of the soul, the identity of the person, and the relation of the non-physical subjective mind to the physical brain that produces it. Rendered in clear, accessible language, Libet's experiments and theories will allow interested amateurs and experts alike to share the experience of the extraordinary discoveries made in the practical study of consciousness.
Nietzsche and the philosopy of language have been a well trafficked crossroads for a generation, but almost always as a checkpoint for post-modernism and its critics. This work takes a historical approach to Nietzsche’s work on language, connecting it to his predecessors and contemporaries rather than his successors. Though Nietzsche invited identification with Zarathustra, the solitary wanderer ahead of his time, for most of his career he directly engaged the intellectual currents and scientific debates of his time.
Emden situates Nietzsche’s writings on language and rhetoric within their wider historical context. He demonstrates that Nietzsche is not as radical in his thinking as has been often supposed, and that a number of problems with Nietzsche disappear when Nietzsche’s works are compared to works on the same subjects by writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Further, the relevance of rhetoric and the history of rhetoric to philosophy and the history of philosophy is reasserted, in consonance with Nietzsche’s own statements and practices. Important in this regard are the role of fictions, descriptions, and metaphor.
How do poems and novels create a sense of mind? What does literary criticism say in conversation with other disciplines that addresses problems of consciousness? In Paper Minds, Jonathan Kramnick takes up these vital questions, exploring the relations between mind and environment, the literary forms that uncover such associations, and the various fields of study that work to illuminate them.
Opening with a discussion of how literary scholarship’s particular methods can both complement and remain in tension with corresponding methods particular to the sciences, Paper Minds then turns to a series of sharply defined case studies. Ranging from eighteenth-century poetry and haptic theories of vision, to fiction and contemporary problems of consciousness, to landscapes in which all matter is sentient, to cognitive science and the rise of the novel, Kramnick’s essays are united by a central thematic authority. This unified approach of these essays shows us what distinctive knowledge that literary texts and literary criticism can contribute to discussions of perceptual consciousness, created and natural environments, and skilled engagements with the world.
The first study of its kind to appear in English, The Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty is a sustained ontological reading of Merleau-Ponty which traces the evolution of his philosophy of being from his early work to his late, unfinished manuscripts and working notes. Merleau-Ponty, who contributed greatly to the theoretical foundations of hermeneutics, is here approached hermeneutically.
Most commentators are agreed that towards the end Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy underwent a strange and interesting mutation. The exact nature of this mutation or conceptual shift is what this study seeks to disclose. Thus, although Madison proceeds in a generally progressive, chronological fashion, examining Merleau-Ponty’s major works in the order of their composition, his reading is ultmately regressive in that Merleau-Ponty’s earlier works are viewed in the light of the new and enigmatic ontological orientation which makes its appearance in his later work. The merit of this approach is that, as Paul Ricoeur has remarked, it enables the author to expose the “anticipatory, hollowed-out presence” of Merleau-Ponty’s late philosophy “in the difficulties of his early phenomenology,” such that “the unifying intention between his first philosophy of meaning and the body and the late, more ontological philosophy is made manifest.”
This book begins with a detailed study of Merleau-Ponty’s two major early works, The Structure of BehaviorThe Phenomenology of Perception. In the following three chapters, Madison traces the development of Merleau-Ponty’s thought from the beginning to the end of his philosophical career in regard to three topics of special concern to the French phenomenologist: painting, language, philosophy. In the final chapter, he is concerned to articulate, as much as the unfinished state of Merleau-Ponty’s final work allows, the unspoken thought of this work and of The Visible and Invisible in particular. Merleau-Ponty’s notion of “wild being” and his attempt to work out an “indirect” or “negative” ontology are thoroughly analyzed.
In the end the reader will see that through his self-criticism and the development in his own phenomenology Merleau-Ponty has brought phenomenology itself to its limits and to the point where it must transcend itself as a philosophy of consciousness in the Husserlian sense if it is to remain faithful to Husserl’s own goal of bringing “experience to the full expression of its own meaning.” Because Madison submits Merleau-Ponty to the same kind of interpretive retrieval as the latter did with Husserl, Roger Cailloise has said of this “clear and very complete book” that it “goes will beyond a simple exposition and merits being read as an original work.”
During the lengthy and complex process of human evolution our ancestors had to adapt to testing situations in which survival depended on making rapid choices that subjected muscles and body to extreme tension. In order to seize a prey travelling at 36 km per hour Homo sapiens had just thousandths of a second in which to prepare the appropriate gesture. While we are no longer faced with such an environment, our brain continues to use the adaptive mechanisms, enabling us to avoid danger and sense interlocutor intentions. This book sets out to show that our brain is not only a reactive mechanism, reacting to external stimuli, but is pro-active -- allowing us to make hypotheses, anticipate consequences, and formulate expectations: in short, to wrong foot an adversary. The body and its movements are at the origin of all abstract modes of behaviour, starting from language. The evolution of motor modes of behaviour (e.g the ability to construct and manipulate instruments) has given rise to an "embodied logic" underpinning not only action and prediction but also gestures and syllable sequences that are the basis of human communication. Some motor experiences have progressively moulded the nervous infrastructures and led to the development of symbols/metaphors used in language, coming to serve as classes of perceptions, behavioural patterns and universal linguistic conventions. Whether shaking some- one's hand or writing a letter, each executive function -- controlled by nervous structures and mental procedures that process the information -- requires behaviours that are oriented to a specific end. The executive functions imply planning/selecting an action; the process is linked to an embodied cognition supported by consciousness. If consciousness is caused by specific neuronal processes and, therefore, conscious states are causally reducible to neurobiological processes, it is also true that conscious states exist at a higher level than neuron activity. For this reason it is necessary to go beyond a hierarchical idea of levels of consciousness, and to refute the idea according to which the 'mental' sphere is qualitative, subjective, and in the 'first person', while the 'physical' sphere is quantitative, objective and in the 'third person'.
In recent criticism, Samuel Beckett's prose has been increasingly described as a labor of refusal: not only of what traditionally has made possible narrative and the novel but also of the major conventional suppositions concerning the primacy of consciousness, subjectivity, and expression for the artistic act. Beginning from the premise that Beckett never betrays his belief in "the impossibility to express," Saying I No More explores the Beckettian refusal. Katz posits that the expression of voicelessness in Beckett is not silence, that the negativity and negation so evident in the great writer's work are not simply affirmed, but that the valorization of abnegation, emptiness, impotence, or the "no" can all too easily become itself an affirmation of power or an inverted imposition of force.
Beginning with the seemingly simple act of seeing red, this brilliantly unsettling essay builds toward an explanation of why consciousness makes compelling evolutionary sense. From sensations that probably began in bodily expression to the evolutionary advantages of a conscious self, Seeing Red tracks the "hard problem" of consciousness to its source and its solution, a solution in which the very hardness of the problem may make all the difference.
An accessible guide to the work of American psychologist and affect theorist Silvan Tomkins
The brilliant and complex theories of psychologist Silvan Tomkins (1911–1991) have inspired the turn to affect in the humanities, social sciences, and elsewhere. Nevertheless, these theories are not well understood. A Silvan Tomkins Handbook makes his theories portable across a range of interdisciplinary contexts and accessible to a wide variety of contemporary scholars and students of affect.
A Silvan Tomkins Handbook provides readers with a clear outline of Tomkins’s affect theory as he developed it in his four-volume masterwork Affect Imagery Consciousness. It shows how his key terms and conceptual innovations can be used to build robust frameworks for theorizing affect and emotion. In addition to clarifying his affect theory, the Handbook emphasizes Tomkins’s other significant contributions, from his broad theories of imagery and consciousness to more focused concepts of scenes and scripts. With their extensive experience engaging and teaching Tomkins’s work, Adam J. Frank and Elizabeth A. Wilson provide a user-friendly guide for readers who want to know more about the foundations of affect studies.
In a new retelling of the romantic rationalist adventure of ideas that is Hegel’s classic The Phenomenology of Spirit, Robert Brandom argues that when our self-conscious recognitive attitudes take Hegel’s radical form of magnanimity and trust, we can overcome a troubled modernity and enter a new age of spirit.
At their family’s New Jersey seaside cottages, Susanne Paola Antonetta’s grandmother led seances, swam nude, and imaginatively created a spiritualist paradise on earth. In The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here, Antonetta chronicles how in that unique but tightly controlled space, she began to explore the questions posed by her family’s Christian Science beliefs, turning those questions secular: What is consciousness? Does time exist? And does the world we see reflect reality? In this book, scientific research, family story, and memoir intertwine to mimic the indefinable movements of quantum particles.
Antonetta reflects on a life spent wrestling with bipolar disorder, drug dependency, and the trauma of electroshock treatment—exploring these experiences alongside conversations with some of the world’s leading neuroscientists and physicists, and with psychics. The result is a meditation on the legacy of family, on thought and being, and what we humans can actually ever really know about our world.
For the last ten to fifteen years, many disciplines of scholarship have been involved in the study of consciousness, often on an interdisciplinary basis. They include philosophy, neurosciences, psychology, physics and biology, and approaches focusing on human experience. The Centre for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson spearheaded this development with its bi-annual conferences since 1994, and a wide range of associations, journals and book publications bear witness to its importance. Over the same number of years, scholarly interest in the relationship of consciousness to theatre has equally grown.
The book discusses a range of questions relevant to understanding the phenomenon of theatre against a consciousness studies background. Those questions include:
• What inspires the dramatist to write a play? This question addresses the nature of the creative process.
• How do different plays reflect human consciousness?
• What kinds of new ideas did major directors or theatre makers, such as Artaud, Grotowski, Barba, and Brook introduce?
• Should actors be personally involved with the emotions they have to portray?
• Are puppets or marionettes superior to actors?
• How to account for the designer’s combination of creativity and practical skill? What part does mental imagination play in the design process? How do designers get their own spatial awareness across to their spectators?
• How does theatre affect the spectator? Why do spectators react as they do? How do distance and suspension of disbelief ‘work’?
An improved and expanded understanding of theatre, resulting from answering the questions above in the context of consciousness studies, should inspire new developments in theatre practice.
Hegel's Phenomenology is considered by many to be the most difficult book in the philosophical canon. While some authors have published excellent essays on various chapters and aspects of the book, few authors have successfully tackled the whole.
In The Unity of Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit", Jon Stewart interprets Hegel's work as a dialectical transformation of Kantian transcendental philosophy, providing from this unified standpoint a case for Hegel's own conception of philosophy as a system. In restoring them to their larger systematic contexts, Stewart clarifies Hegel's individual analyses, as well as indicating the meaning and significance of the transitions and illustrating the parallelisms between the respective analyses. Many of Hegel's main themes-
universal-particular, mediacy-immediacy-are traced through the text, demonstrating Hegel's formal continuity.
By examining at the microlevel the particulars of the dialectical movement, and by analyzing at the macrolevel the role of the argument in question in the context of the work as a whole, Stewart provides a detailed analysis of the Phenomenology and a significant scholarly demonstration of Hegel's own conception of the Phenomenology as a part of a systematic philosophy.
In Who Says?, scholars of rhetoric, composition, and communications seek to revise the elitist “rhetorical tradition” by analyzing diverse topics such as settlement house movements and hip-hop culture to uncover how communities use discourse to construct working-class identity. The contributors examine the language of workers at a concrete pour, depictions of long-haul truckers, a comic book series published by the CIO, the transgressive “fat” bodies of Roseanne and Anna Nicole Smith, and even reality television to provide rich insights into working-class rhetorics. The chapters identify working-class tropes and discursive strategies, and connect working-class identity to issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Using a variety of approaches including ethnography, research in historic archives, and analysis of case studies, Who Says? assembles an original and comprehensive collection that is accessible to both students and scholars of class studies and rhetoric.