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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

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Average Customer Ratings

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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."

41 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Not much meat to this course

The narrator was good and I enjoyed listening to him. But at the end I did not feel I got much out of the course. It really just seemed to be a series of comparisons between various theories with much time spent on theories that have been for the most part thrown out. I was hoping that the course would spend most of its time delving into the most current theories and really explaining what the state of the art is on thinking, mind, and consciousness. But if that is what you area looking for, you will be disappointed.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Terrific! but serious Audio Problem!

This lecture series is a fascinating survey of the problem of understanding the mind. It is broad and specific and surprisingly clear despite the high pace and density. unfortunately, there are stereo audio experiments and the file is mono, which ruins them. The information is comprehensible without them but less directly. it is unfortunate that the technology is reducing the quality of experience, not improving it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • TUCSON, ARIZONA, United States
  • 02-03-14

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Gary
  • Las Cruces, NM, United States
  • 02-19-18

Entertaining exposure to interesting topic

'I think, therefore I am’, it sounds so smart and dare I say erudite, but it is one of the least profitable ways to consider the human experience, and the lecturer will say the mind/body dichotomy is out of fashion today and Descartes’ cogito is a relic from the past. That doesn’t stop this lecturer from always seeming to frame the issues of the ‘philosophy of the mind’ in those terms within most of the lectures. That just strikes me as weird, but overall there are enough takeaways from this lecture to make it worth the one credit.

What do all of these items have in common? Mary and the black & white room; zombies; Penrose and his quantum consciousness with its pixie dust acting on the synapses; Searle and his Chinese room; Nagel and his inane question of what does a bat think; and other familiar often told elsewhere thought experiments. Answer: 1) they are all featured too prominently within these lectures and 2) I think they should be retired since they each border on the silly. Come on now, Zombies act and behave exactly like you do but have no subjective state what’s that really mean? That Chinese room, why make it Chinese in the first place?

I don’t really see consciousness as an un-crackable riddle. The functional perception paradigm is not necessarily the last way to think about the ‘Hard problem’ of consciousness as this lecture mostly focuses on. I think the author was out of his depth when it came to AI (and math and thinking machines). Not to overly criticize, but Alan Turing did not have the oversize role of breaking the Enigma code as he states; Bletchley Park had many, many moving parts which also was preceded by Polish mathematicians who broke the Enigma code first. It was interesting to hear how Hubert Dreyfus and Searle were wrong about AI and consciousness, and the syntax/semantic distinction stayed with me.

If one takes the good with the bad with this lecture, the listener will get a fairly entertaining exposure to an incredibly interesting topic.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Intriguing survey of philosophy & consciousness

Broken into a background in western philosophy, a history of computation, and the struggles to uncover the complexity of "consciousness", this series provides a versatile and provoking study of how we contemplate our own sense of self.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sam
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 05-30-15

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • neilium
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 11-24-14

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.)

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 04-23-15

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Gery Lynch
  • 03-26-14

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Faon
  • 06-23-16

An excellent overview

I am a psychiatrist who is interested in Philosophy and neuroscience, I really enjoyed this series of lectures I thought it covered a lot of ground quickly and clearly,I like the speaking voice

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Johnny
  • 02-14-15

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • CFye
  • 02-21-15

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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Júlio César Martins
  • 01-02-18

Excellent!

That was a great - and somewhat tough - introductory course on Philosophy of Mind.

The companion book and suggested readings are very useful for those who want to grasp more of the lectures material, which is very rich and provoke profound questionings.

Highly recommended!

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  • Booka
  • 01-15-17

Great course!

I've done a Philosophy of Mind course at the London School of Philosophy and this audible covered all the interesting bits in a clear and concise way.
If you want to know about the ways philosophers (both past and present) think about the mind and brain then I recommend this course.

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  • The Blue Reviewer
  • 06-21-16

Brilliant

One of the best in the Great Courses series. Well explained and thoroughly enjoyable. would recommend

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  • Cian O'Byrne
  • 06-09-16

fascinating

loved all of it, a wealth of insight. would recommend to anyone interested in learning about the self and others

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  • David
  • 07-16-15

David.

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