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Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines | [The Great Courses]

Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines

The quest to understand the mind has motivated some of history's most profound thinkers. But only in our own time are we beginning to see the true complexity of this quest, as today's philosophers draw on the latest evidence from neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and other fields to probe deeply into the inner workings of the mind.
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Publisher's Summary

The quest to understand the mind has motivated some of history's most profound thinkers. But only in our own time are we beginning to see the true complexity of this quest, as today's philosophers draw on the latest evidence from neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and other fields to probe deeply into the inner workings of the mind.

These 24 stimulating lectures from an award-winning teacher and honored scholar present a clear, systematic, and compelling introduction to the philosophy of mind, exploring all of the major theories, including: Dualism, which holds that body and mind are separate substances; Behaviorism and Functionalism, which stress behavior and interactions with the world as clues to the mind's inner workings;. Idealism, the view that the physical world is an illusion and that only the mental realm exists; and the "antitheories" of mind, which posit that subjective mental experiences are fundamentally inexplicable and will always remain a mystery.

Examining the most intriguing questions and influential theories in what can often be a complex and often controversial intellectual terrain, Professor Grim sorts out the different approaches to give you the pros and cons of each.

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


©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 08-25-13
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 08-25-13 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stellar Course!"

    Patrick Grim lays out the groundwork for the major theories of mind and what it means to "be a being" with consciousness, thought and self-awareness. The course is in depth and very intelligent, but presented in such a way as the layman will readily understand if proper attention is paid to the lectures. Another Great Courses lecture series on this same topic by John Searle will also be quite helpful. Once these courses are completed, I recommend moving on to books like Brian Christian's The Most Human Human (artificial intelligence) V. Ramachandran's The Tell-Tale Brain (neurology and pathology) and Sebastian Seung's Connectome (neurology, consciousness and self-awareness). Grim and Searle's lectures are a wonderful place to start on the pathway to learning about the philosophy, physiology and psychology of who you are and why there is a "who you are."

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel TUCSON, ARIZONA, United States 02-03-14
    Daniel TUCSON, ARIZONA, United States 02-03-14
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    "Extensive and well rounded"
    What did you love best about Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines?

    I liked that this series took the problem of consciousness seriously, as David Chalmers might say. This series of lectures doesn't present the hard problem and then give a easy-problem solution dressed up as something that crosses the explanatory gap as some authors do.


    What other book might you compare Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines to and why?

    The Implications of consciousness (also part of the great courses)


    What about Professor Patrick Grim’s performance did you like?

    He gave a fair amount of time to various perspectives.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The most interesting tidbit that there are actually antitheories - it has always seemed clear to me that science could never give an illuminating explanation, solution to the mind/body problem. But I didn't know that such a stance rests on something called and antitheory.


    Any additional comments?

    Sometimes the way the professor talks can REALLY get on my nerves for some reason and that actually made listening to this somewhat less enjoyable than other professors like Daniel Robinson.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeongsup 05-04-14
    Jeongsup 05-04-14
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    "Brilliant book for A.I. and human-mind enthusiast"
    What made the experience of listening to Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines the most enjoyable?

    Full of useful content, no time-waster fill-ins


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines?

    Story about the history of A.I., and how messy the architecture of human consciousness really is


    What about Professor Patrick Grim’s performance did you like?

    Clear voice, easy pace (not too slow, not too fast)


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy B Sullivan 06-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great series"
    Where does Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    among the best - fascinating and well-presented


    What did you like best about this story?

    relevant to my work as a psychiatrist and residency training director


    What about Professor Patrick Grim’s performance did you like?

    energetic performance, useful analogies, explanations, history (of ideas) and context


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    I like this series so much I'm using it in a course

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 09-18-13
    James 09-18-13
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    "Outstanding"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, this has been a wonderful listen. I will probably listen 3 more times and return next year in an annual rotation


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines?

    The professor is captivating, hooked me with Einstein's brain


    Which scene was your favorite?

    every lecture is very good


    Any additional comments?

    I have enjoyed the Great courses, great add audible!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    neilium Chicago, IL, United States 11-24-14
    neilium Chicago, IL, United States 11-24-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding lectures on a challenging topic"
    What does Professor Patrick Grim bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Patrick Grim doe a very good job of making these very complex ideas palpable to the non-scientist and non-philosopher. He sounds a little like John Lithgow (not a complaint, just an observation.)


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben 06-18-15
    Ben 06-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Mind-blowing course (pardon the pun)!"
    If you could sum up Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines in three words, what would they be?

    Professor Grim explains philosophy of mind better than anyone I have ever heard or read on the topic. The subject-matter can be challenging, but the course makes everything clear. I have yet to encounter a more enlightening Great Course in the series. In fact, in my own research I have found this course to be so helpful that I have pursued the topics covered by Dr. Grimm further on my own. The result was an academic article written by me for my own discipline on the basis of what I learned from this course. I listened to this treasure trove of ideas many times over in the course of a month. The amount of valuable material is so great here that I could listen for another month. I sincerely recommend this course to anyone who wants to understand what thinking and feeling, perceiving and being human are all about.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Morgan Yoakum 06-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "loved this.."

    narrator took the perfectly neutral stance except for when he didn't. I am surprised at how many philosophers "think"their way thru questions with their mind.. Gorgeously illogical and a definitive downside to science, of which philosophy should be immune. fascinating

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Sydney, Australia 05-30-15
    Sam Sydney, Australia 05-30-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant"

    Professor Grim is a great find. Hugely enjoyable series of lectures, worth listening to at whatever level you think of yourself at, but especially good for surveying the fundamentals of a rapidly evolving area of philosophy and science.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    s 07-13-15
    s 07-13-15
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    "The best at times, the worst at times."

    First off I am very glad to have listened. Secondly I am have just cooled off. Listing to this I was fascinated and frustrated at almost every moment.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • David
    7/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "David."

    A very interesting review of the philosophy of the mind with an accessible but not patronising approach. I enjoyed very much. David

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    4/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Absolutely loved it!"

    A thoroughly engaging listen. I had not studied philosophy of mind for around 17 years since studying the subject at university and wanted a good overview/ refresher as I will be teaching the subject next term at AS level. The course was in a good level of depth and the professor had such an enthusiasm for the subject that I was left wanting more after each lecture. The thought experiments were particularly fun, I will certainly be using them with my students. I would certainly listen to more audio books in this series and more by this professor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • CFye
    2/21/15
    Overall
    "Exceptional"

    I've thoroughly enjoyed the previous three Great Course lecture series I listened to - but 'Philosophy of Mind' is in a class of it's own.
    Each lecture felt like an adventure story, without losing any academic rigour, and the whole series tied beautifully from beginning to end.
    I finished the course filled with 'where to from here' questions - what neuroplasticity and theories of network intelligence could add to the debate - and a much satisfied love of learning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Johnny
    Dublin
    2/14/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"

    I need to listen to it again so I can process this information. Not because it's hard to understand ! A subject as big as this for me can not be understood as a whole in one listening which makes it great, a history of the mind should not be taken lightly

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gerard Lynch
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    3/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, especially for anyone interested in the human condition


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is course of lectures, I have studied psychology and found this to be a fascinating tangent from standard psychology. It certainly puts some of the psychological ideas into a different perspective


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    AI


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No best at one lecture a day- let it sink in


    Any additional comments?

    These Great Courses are great, well worth multiple listens. The lecturers are certainty amongst the best I have heard.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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