The Ego Tunnel

The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self

The Ego Tunnel

Examine the inner workings of the mind and learn what consciousness and a sense of self really means - and if it even exists. We're used to thinking about the self as an independent entity, something that we either have or are. In The Ego Tunnel, philosopher Thomas Metzinger claims otherwise: No such thing as a self exists. The conscious self is the content of a model created by our brain-an internal image, but one we cannot experience as an image. Everything we experience is "a virtual self in a virtual reality."But if the self is not "real," why and how did it evolve? How does the brain construct it? Do we still have souls, free will, personal autonomy, or moral accountability? In a time when the science of cognition is becoming as controversial as evolution, The Ego Tunnel provides a stunningly original take on the mystery of the mind.

The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving in Adulthood

The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving in Adulthood

Over the last decade, the field of socio-emotional development and aging has rapidly expanded, with many new theories and empirical findings emerging. This trend is consistent with the broader movement in psychology to consider social, motivational, and emotional influences on cognition and behavior. The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving in Adulthood provides the first overview of a new field of adult development that has emerged out of conceptualizations and research at the intersections between socioemotional development, social cognition, emotion, coping, and everyday problem solving. This field roundly rejects a universal deficit model of aging, highlighting instead the dynamic nature of socio-emotional development and the differentiation of individual trajectories of development as a function of variation in contextual and experiential influences. It emphasizes the need for a cross-level examination (from biology and neuroscience to cognitive and social psychology) of the determinants of emotional and socio-emotional behavior. This volume also serves as a tribute to the late Fredda Blanchard-Fields, whose thinking and empirical research contributed extensively to a life-span developmental view of emotion, problem solving, and social cognition. Its chapters cover multiple aspects of adulthood and aging, presenting developmental perspectives on emotion; antecedents and consequences of emotion in context; everyday problem solving; social cognition; goals and goal-related behaviors; and wisdom. The landmark volume in this new field, The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving in Adulthood is an important resource for cognitive, developmental, and social psychologists, as well as researchers and graduate students in the field of aging, emotion studies, and social psychology.

Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth

Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth

Leading feminist scholars and activists as well as new voices introduce and explore themes central to contemporary ecofeminism. Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth first offers an historical, grounding overview that situates ecofeminist theory and activism and provides a timeline for important publications and events. This is followed by contributions from leading theorists and activists on how our emotions and embodiment can and must inform our relationships with the more than human world. In the final section, the contributors explore the complexities of appreciating difference and the possibilities of living less violently. Throughout the book, the authors engage with intersections of gender and gender non-conformity, race, sexuality, disability, and species. The result is a new up-to-date resource for students and teachers of animal studies, environmental studies, feminist/gender studies, and practical ethics.

Waking, Dreaming, Being

Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy

Waking, Dreaming, Being

A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the "I" as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate—either in the waking state or in a lucid dream—we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as "me." We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness its dissolution with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives.

Networks of Mind: Learning, Culture, Neuroscience

Networks of Mind: Learning, Culture, Neuroscience

This ground breaking book is unique in bringing together two perspectives on learning - sociocultural theory and neuroscience. Drawing on both perspectives, it foregrounds important developments in our understanding of what learning is, where and how learning occurs and what we can do to understand learning as an everyday process. Leading experts from both disciplines demonstrate how sociocultural ideas (such as the relevance of experience, opportunity to learn, environment, personal histories, meaning, participation, memory, and feelings of belonging) align with and reflect upon new understandings emerging from neuroscience concerning plasticity and neural networks. Among the themes critically examined are the following: Mind and brain Culture Ability and talent Success and failure Memory Language Emotion Aimed at and accessible to a broad audience and drawing on both schools of thought, Networks of Mind employs case studies, vignettes and real life examples to demonstrate that, though the language of sociocultural theory and that of neuroscience appear very different, ultimately the concepts of both perspectives align and converge around some key ideas. The book shows where both perspectives overlap, collide and diverge in their assumptions and understanding of fundamental aspects of human flourishing. It shows how neuroscience confirms some of the key messages already well established by sociocultural theory, specifically the importance of opportunity to learn. It also argues that the ascendency of neuroscience may result in the marginalization of sociocultural science, though the latter, it argues, has enormous explanatory power for understanding and promoting learning, and for understanding how learning is afforded and constrained.

Critical Neuroscience

A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience

Critical Neuroscience

Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience brings together multi-disciplinary scholars from around the world to explore key social, historical and philosophical studies of neuroscience, and to analyze the socio-cultural implications of recent advances in the field. This text’s original, interdisciplinary approach explores the creative potential for engaging experimental neuroscience with social studies of neuroscience while furthering the dialogue between neuroscience and the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities. Critical Neuroscience transcends traditional skepticism, introducing novel ideas about ‘how to be critical’ in and about science.

Speculative Realism

Problems and Prospects

Speculative Realism

Speculative realism is one of the most talked-about movements in recent Continental philosophy. It has been discussed widely amongst the younger generation of Continental philosophers seeking new philosophical approaches and promises to form the cornerstone of future debates in the field. This book introduces the contexts out of which speculative realism has emerged and provides an overview of the major contributors and latest developments. It guides the reader through the important questions asked by realism (what can I know? what is reality?), examining philosophy's perennial questions in new ways. The book begins with the speculative realist's critique of 'correlationism', the view that we can never reach what is real beneath our language systems, our means for perception, or our finite manner of being-in-the-world. It goes on to critically review the work of the movement's most important thinkers, including Quentin Meillassoux, Ray Brassier, and Graham Harman, but also other important writers such as Jane Bennett and Catherine Malabou whose writings delineate alternative approaches to the real. It interrogates the crucial questions these thinkers have raised and concludes with a look toward the future of speculative realism, especially as it relates to the reality of time.

Sociality

New Directions

Sociality

The notion of 'sociality' is now widely used within the social sciences and humanities. However, what is meant by the term varies radically, and the contributors here, through compelling and wide ranging essays, identify the strengths and weaknesses of current definitions and their deployment in the social sciences. By developing their own rigorous and innovative theory of human sociality, they re-set the framework of the debate and open up new possibilities for conceptualizing other forms of sociality, such as that of animals or materials. Cases from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe explore the new directions of human sociality, illuminating how and why it is transformed when human beings engage with such major issues as economic downturn, climate change, new regimes of occupational and psychological therapy, technological innovations in robotics and the creation of new online, 'virtual' environments. This book is an invaluable resource, not only for research and teaching, but for anyone interested in the question of what makes us social.

Brain Evolution, Language and Psychopathology in Schizophrenia

Brain Evolution, Language and Psychopathology in Schizophrenia

This book provides a comprehensive review of new developments in the study of language processing and related neural networks in schizophrenia by addressing the complex link between psychopathology, language and evolution at different levels of analysis. Psychopathological symptoms in schizophrenia are mainly characterized by thought and language disorders, which are strictly intertwined. In particular, language is the distinctive dimension of human beings and is ontologically related to brain development. Although normal at the levels of segmental phonology and morphological organization, the speech of patients suffering from schizophrenia is often characterized by flattened intonation and word-finding difficulties. Furthermore, research suggests that the superior temporal gyrus and specific prefrontal areas which support language in humans are altered in people with schizophrenia. Brambilla and Marini bring together international contributors to explore the link between brain evolution and the psychopathological features of schizophrenia, with a focus on language and its neural underpinnings. Divided into three sections the book covers: • brain evolution and language phylogenesis • brain abnormalities in schizophrenia • psychopathology and schizophrenia. This theoretical approach will appeal to professionals including clinical psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, neuropsychiatrists, neuropsychologists, neurolinguists, and researchers considering the links between brain evolution, language and psychopathology in schizophrenia.

Applied Theatre: Aesthetics

Applied Theatre: Aesthetics

Applied Theatre: Aesthetics re-examines how the idea of 'the aesthetic' is relevant to performance in social settings. The disinterestedness that traditional aesthetics claims as a key characteristic of art makes little sense when making performances with ordinary people, rooted in their lives and communities, and with personal and social change as its aim. Yet practitioners of applied arts know that their work is not reducible to social work, therapy or education. Reconciling the simultaneous autonomy and heteronomy of art is the problem of aesthetics in applied arts. Gareth White's introductory essay reviews the field, and proposes an interdisciplinary approach that builds on new developments in evolutionary, cognitive and neuro-aesthetics alongside the politics of art. It addresses the complexities of art and the aesthetic as everyday behaviours and responses. The second part of the book is made up of essays from leading experts and new voices in the practice and theory of applied performance, reflecting on the key problematics of applying performance with non-performers. New and innovative practice is described and interrogated, and fresh thinking is introduced in response to perennial problems.