Seven Views of Mind  book cover
1st Edition

Seven Views of Mind

ISBN 9781138115880
Published June 16, 2017 by Psychology Press
128 Pages

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Book Description

A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2013!

This book examines seven different answers to the question, "What are we talking about when we talk about the mind?" It begins by considering the dualistic view, frequently taken for granted by students, that words like "belief," "anger," and "jealousy" refer to a realm quite distinct from the physical world, and notes the difficulties associated with this view as well as why many find it compelling. The book then describes six further major views of mind alternative to dualism that have been developed by psychologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists: Some claim that such words are just about behavior. Some claim that such words are theoretical constructs, like "quarks" in physics. Some identify the mind with the brain or with a kind of program in the brain like the software in a computer. Some think there is nothing to which such words refer. Some think mental talk reflects nothing but convention.

Students in psychology learn about different views of mind in various courses, but they tend to be left on their own to deal with the conflicts among them. How to conceive of mind is usually addressed in the context not of psychology but of philosophy, where it tends to be treated in ways that may seem esoteric to psychology students. Seldom discussed in one place, this book presents all seven views and the reasons for and against each in a relatively nontechnical, informal manner designed to appeal to psychology students and their instructors, permitting comparisons and possible resolutions.

Table of Contents

Preface. Introduction: The Problem. 1. Mind as Distinct from the Physical World. 2. Mind as a Manner of Speaking. 3. Mind as Behavior. 4. Mind as Software in the Head. 5. Mind as Brain. 6. Mind as Scientific Construct. 7. Mind as Social Construct. Conclusion: How to Avoid Dualism Without Losing Your Mind (Entirely).

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Lise Wallach is Senior Research Scholar in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. As Research Professor of Psychology at Duke for many years, she has also held faculty positions at Bryn Mawr, Wellesley, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has written on theoretical and philosophical psychology and on various aspects of cognition, including three previous books with Michael A. Wallach.

Michael A. Wallach is Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Duke University. In addition to Duke, he has also held faculty positions at Harvard, MIT, and the University of Chicago. He was Editor of the Journal of Personality for a decade (1963-72) and also Series Editor of the SUNY Press Alternatives in Psychology book series for two decades (1989-2008). He has published extensively on a number of topics ranging across cognitive, personality, social, clinical, developmental, educational, and theoretical psychology


"A fine history of the central views of mind. Highly recommended [for] upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals." - D. M. Chirico, York College CUNY, USA, in CHOICE

"This volume is a pleasure to read and makes accessible a range of difficult topics by staying with a single (but large) philosophical and psychological problem and attempting to tease out a number of responses to this problem. This is a brilliant idea, and although I wish I had thought of this, I am glad that Lise and Michael Wallach did." - Hank Stam, Ph.D., University of Calgary, Canada

"For advanced undergraduates and early graduate students, the coverage in this volume is quite fine. I am impressed with the range of what is included here, both from psychology and various philosophic standpoints." - Kenneth J. Gergen, Ph.D., Swarthmore College, USA

"The Wallach's conclusion--constituting the eighth view of mind--is an ambitious synthesis of the preceding seven. [...] [T]he book represents a valuable contrbiution to attempts to clarify the most basic categories of psychological knowledge, and to make explicit the assumptions underlying them. It should be read by anyonei nterested in a clear and insightful overview of the diversity of prspects on 'the mind' that are currently influential. In our headlong rush to produce more psychological knowledge, the book provides a rare resource with which to reflect on what we are really doing."

-Jeffrey Yen, University of Guelph, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences