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Mind-Body Philosophy

Narrated by: Patrick Grim
Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

How is it that our brain creates all the subjective experiences of our lives every single day - the experiences we call reality? That is the mind-body problem. In Mind-Body Philosophy, Professor Patrick Grim of the State University of New York at Stony Brook leads an intellectually exhilarating tour through millennia of philosophy and science addressing one of life's greatest conundrums. But you won't just be a spectator as Dr. Grim engages and encourages each of us to come to our own conclusions. Is the mind part of the body? Or could the body be part of the mind? And if they are separate, what is the mechanism for interaction? This course poses these challenging questions, and more, for philosophers and scientists of all levels.

In this course you'll learn about the many ways in which philosophy, mathematics, psychology, and cutting-edge neuroscience have weighed in on the mind-body problem, all to varying degrees of success. You'll learn how computers and artificial intelligence have challenged our notions of the mind and consciousness and what scientists have learned from our dreams, hallucinations, and experiences under anesthesia. And you'll enjoy the fascinating, creative thought experiments that address knowledge, perception, and consciousness.

What is the answer to the mind-body problem? No one knows...yet. But in Mind-Body Philosophy, Dr. Grim suggests a new method of inquiry that could possibly lead to a solution: a philosophical science of consciousness combining the best that philosophy and science have to offer. But even without an answer, Dr. Grim says, this passionate pursuit of truth is a crucially important enterprise in itself.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 The Great Courses (P)2017 The Teaching Company, LLC

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  • Mike
  • 2017-01-24

Another Great Courses Homerun!

Any additional comments?

In this course, an old crusty philosophical problem crashes headlong into bleeding edge science. In 1,000 years from now, will we have a decisive answer to the philosophical puzzle of consciousness? I don't know. But in 100 years from now, it seems likely we'll have made exciting progress into the relevant neuroscience and hopefully AI as well. This is why I believe most contemporary academics - as Professor Grim states in the first lecture - are materialists; this is where the progress is.

Also for this reason, the course really starts for me around Lecture 15 on machine consciousness, and is in full swing by Lecture 19 on the binding problem. So if you are not impressed in the beginning, make sure to ride it out. Lecture 21 "Of Mind, Materialism, and Zombies" is probably the coolest and most intellectually stimulating single Great Courses lecture. Not to say the course as a whole is the best - although it's up there - but that one lecture alone is worth this whole course.

If you are interested in further (very technical and abstract) knowledge on the AI side of this coin, I highly recommend On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins, as I fully recommend this course.

37 of 41 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan Vogel
  • 2017-07-09

Clearly from the materialistic perspective.

What made the experience of listening to Mind-Body Philosophy the most enjoyable?

Hey the best thing about this is it puts forth the best case for a materialist view of the mind as just part of the brain. Unfortunately it is too early to conclude that the mind is just an illusion we have about our brains. This course makes the best effort to come to that conclusion.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Bill
  • 2017-03-29

Engaging and challenging

This is an excellent survey of the subject. it is the sort of experience which will leave you wanting to find further courses on the various thinkers and ideas he discusses.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Monika Rossa Wheatley
  • 2017-05-21

AWESOME BOOK!

Would you listen to Mind-Body Philosophy again? Why?

I already listened to this book about ten times. I'm saying "about", because I choose different lectures and I repeat them over and over. I finally bought the transcript and I read it the same way.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Mind-Body Philosophy?

This is a very long course, so it has many "memorable" moments. I think that the history of William James, the binding in the brain, the story of Touring, the determinism versus free will, to name a few.

Which scene was your favorite?

Imagining the binding in the brain. Or rather the search for consciousness.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

What and how we are.

Any additional comments?

This book elevated my interest in quantum physics as well in other philosophical questions. I felt that I was trusted enough as a reader or listener, to engage my own reasoning and intuition in search for the answers to the very basic questions, that in a regular life are simply overlooked.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mtollefsrud
  • 2017-04-25

Spotlight of Clarity on the Mind-Body Problem

A masterful elucidation of an age old philosophical problem. Narration was excellent making listening easy and enjoyable. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Mind-Body Problem.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Spencer
  • 2019-06-24

Heavy on neuroscience, light on philosophy.

As other reviewers have noted, Professor Grim stands firmly within the physicalist (if non-reductive) camp of the philosophers of mind. This would not have been an issue if he didn’t let his predilections bias the structure and content of the course.

But, unfortunately, he does.

Grim spends very little time exploring the gamut of alternative, non-physicalist theories of mind: hylomorphism, an Aristotelian theory of mind which has been gaining prominence among contemporary philosophers, is merely outlined in about five minutes and never referred to again in the entire course. Any mind-body philosophy course worth its salt would thoroughly explore the most popular arguments made in favor of each theory, as articulated by its most respected philosophical defenders, and then present the counter-arguments that are most commonly brought to bear against the theory. Unfortunately, Professor Grim only employs this procedure when treating of the various materialist theories of mind and when he outlines substance dualism (but, of course, he fails to mention any ways in which the objections made against substance dualism have been or could possibly be addressed).

Instead, Grim deluges the listener with an endless stream of recent neurological and psychological findings, all of which – how shocking – appear to confirm his own physicalist anthropology. Again, this would not have been terrible if Grim gave dualists, idealists, etc., a chance to reconcile their own theories with the scientific data he presents. But he does not. He merely declares that such data make more sense on a physicalist theory of mind and passes on as though non-physicalist views have nothing more to add to the debate.

While the studies and experiments that Grim relates are quite fascinating and should be given careful consideration in philosophical debates on the nature of mind, they were given far too much emphasis and discussed at too great length for a course entitled, “Mind-Body Philosophy”. Professor Grim is obviously a knowledgeable and incisive thinker, but the lecture series he has created does not capture the richness and variety of the philosophy of mind. Those looking for a comprehensive introduction to the field should look elsewhere.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-01-23

Eye-opening...and brain perplexing.

This is an excellent series of lectures, in which the lecturer presents you with all the info you need to come up with your own educated opinion on one of the most complex problems in history.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-10-03

Bit repetitive

Each lesson with a long summary. The author often restates the summary multiple times during the lesson, then ends with a final restating of the summary. starting and ending with a summary is a good way to teach an idea. However, it starts to feel repetitive.

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  • J. Arnold
  • 2017-11-04

Enjoyable!

A worthwhile great course. A thoughtful survey of the present status of various disciplines relating to the mind body phenomena.

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  • Kandice
  • 2017-10-25

Interesting theories, well written and spoken.

The professor had and interesting take on how our minds work and why. I'll need to listen a few times to absorb it all.