Minding the Brain


Is your mind the same thing as your brain, or are there aspects of mind beyond the brain’s biology? This is the mind-body problem, and it has captivated curious minds since the dawn of human contemplation. Today many insist that the mind is completely reducible to the brain. But is that claim justified? In this stimulating anthology, twenty-five philosophers and scientists offer fresh insights into the mind-brain debate, drawing on psychology, neurology, philosophy, computer science, and neurosurgery. Their provocative conclusion? The mind is indeed more than the brain.

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The mind-body problem lives! A stimulating collection of contemporary perspectives on a perennial conundrum.

Gregory Chaitin, algorithmic information theory pioneer; author, Building the World from Information & Computation

Materialism about the mind is a deeply entrenched assumption, so much so that alternative viewpoints are shrugged aside as inconsequential. Minding the Brain challenges that mindset, but not by giving a single, knock-down refutation of materialism or a single, obviously superior alternative. Instead, it presents a kaleidoscopic array involving multiple objections and multiple alternatives, authored by highly competent thinkers from neuroscience, consciousness studies, computer science, information theory, and philosophy. Both materialists and anti-materialists who want to understand the mind should not miss this book.

William Hasker, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Huntington University

Minding the Brain is an imposing assemblage of cutting-edge criticisms of materialist views of the mind while advancing compelling alternative accounts of consciousness. The chapters on information, computation, and quantum theory are groundbreaking, advancing serious unacknowledged problems for materialism that must be contended with.

Brandon Rickabaugh, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Palm Beach Atlantic University; Franz Brentano Fellow in the Metaphysics of Mind, The Martin Institute

Written by renowned experts in different fields of science and philosophy, Minding the Brain provides a thorough, multifaceted, and insightful analysis of the age-old mind-body problem. It is well known that even an apparently simple inanimate entity like a sandpile may present a complex, non-linear, and chaotic dynamic which cannot be predicted by the individual properties of its constituting elements. With a unique common thread, the essays in this anthology elegantly expose reductionism for what it truly is, a simplistic endeavor grounded on the scientific materialism creed which, on the topic of the mind-body problem, tries to explain all the complexity of higher-order cognitive phenomena exclusively through reference to the most basic physico-chemical interactions within its underlying biological strata. Such a myopic and simplistic naturalistic approach is not only intellectually disappointing but also inherently flawed, ultimately falling short of the awe-inspiring grandeur of the life of the mind as we all know and experience it. Try explaining the totality of the delightful experience of reading this academic masterpiece through a mathematical equation!

Tobias A. Mattei, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, St. Louis University School of Medicine

Minding the Brain is an important book on substance dualism that comes with breadth, depth, and insight. It incorporates a number of fields of study and academic disciplines; it is up-to-date and rigorous in its presentation and argument; and it is fresh, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. I am pleased to see this robust defense of substance dualism that pushes back against the dominant view of naturalism in the academy as well as alternative views that likewise attempt to avoid the explanatory power of substance dualism and its important implications.

Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University; coeditor, The Naturalness of Belief: New Essays on Theism’s Rationality

Minding the Brain is a very up-to-date anthology on the body-mind problem. The editors have assembled a team of excellent scholars from philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, computer science, quantum physics, and mathematics. Together they provide a very strong, cross-disciplinary, and cumulative argument for the need of non-material explanations of human characteristics such as consciousness, will, feelings, and creativity. A recurrent theme of several chapters is the importance of information as a mediator between the non-material and material. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why purely physical accounts of the mind have failed, and that alternative dualistic or idealistic theories are more credible than ever. I’m sure Minding the Brain will simulate many interesting discussions and much further research.

Ola Hössjer, Professor of Mathematical Statistics, Stockholm University

Minding the Brain is an intriguing and comprehensive anthology. This thought-provoking collection delves into the realms of philosophy of mind, neuroscience, psychology, and the intersections of information, computation, and quantum theory. The book presents a diverse range of perspectives and arguments, providing readers with a rich exploration of the mind-body problem and the nature of consciousness.

The book begins with an introductory chapter by the editors, setting the stage for the subsequent discussions. Angus J. L. Menuge’s chapter on declining physicalism and resurgent alternatives offers a compelling examination of philosophical viewpoints surrounding the mind. J. P. Moreland’s contribution on neuroscience and the metaphysics of consciousness and the soul raises intriguing questions about the nature of consciousness and its relationship to the brain.

One of the highlights of this book is the section dedicated to the philosophy of mind, where different perspectives such as substance dualism, idealism, and physicalism are thoroughly explored. Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro present a robust defense of substance dualism, while Douglas Axe offers a commonsensical defense of idealism. These chapters provide readers with a deep understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of different theories of mind.

The exploration of neuroscience and psychology in the anthology is equally engaging. Michael Egnor’s chapter on neuroscience and dualism challenges the prevailing materialistic view, while Cristi L. S. Cooper’s discussion on free will and the limitations of Libet experiments offers a fresh perspective on agency and determinism. Joseph Green’s chapter on the limitations of cutting-edge neuroscience prompts readers to critically examine the current state of the field.

The book also studies the fascinating relationship between information, computation, and quantum theory. Bruce L. Gordon’s chapter on consciousness and quantum information offers intriguing insights into the potential role of quantum processes in understanding consciousness. Additionally, Winston Ewert’s discussion on the human mind’s sophisticated algorithm presents a compelling argument about the nature of human creativity and its computational basis.

Overall, Minding the Brain is an excellent compilation of diverse perspectives on the mind-body problem. The book covers a wide range of topics and offers deep insights into the crossroads of philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, and quantum theory. Readers with an interest in the nature of consciousness, the mind-brain relationship, and the limits of empirical science will find this book to be a valuable resource. The contributors present rigorous arguments and engage in thought-provoking discussions, making this book a must-read for those seeking a deeper understanding of the complexities of the mind and human-level intelligence.

Lipo Wang, Associate Professor of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Minding the Brain is a fascinating look at the relationship between conscious experience and the three-pound mass of neurons resting in one’s skull. Scholars from different fields address the challenge of understanding the immaterial mind using a materialist framework, and they make the case that a multidisciplinary approach is required to unravel this enigma. What follows is a tour de force of philosophy, neuroscience, and computer science that presents non-materialist solutions to the mind-brain problem. Anyone who has wondered if people are more than a pile of atoms should read this book.

Andrew Knox, M.D., M.S., Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

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