Ecology of the Brain
The phenomenology and biology of the embodied mind
Present day neuroscience places the brain at the centre of study. But what if researchers viewed the brain not as the foundation of life, rather as a mediating organ?
Ecology of the Brain addresses this very question. It considers the human body as a collective, a living being which uses the brain to mediate interactions. Those interactions may be both within the human body and between the human body and its environment.
Within this framework, the mind is seen not as a product of the brain but as an activity of the living being; an activity which integrates the brain within the everyday functions of the human body. Going further, Fuchs reformulates the traditional mind-brain problem, presenting it as a dual aspect of the living being: the lived body and the subjective body – the living body and the objective body. The processes of living and experiencing life, Fuchs argues, are in fact inextricably linked; it is not the brain, but the human being who feels, thinks and acts.
For students and academics, Ecology of the Brain will be of interest to those studying or researching theory of mind, social and cultural interaction, psychiatry, and psychotherapy.
Self and Other
Exploring Subjectivity, Empathy, and Shame
- Original work by a leading scholar of his generation
- Brings together analytic philosophy and phenomenology
- A new answer to the question of what selfhood is, and how we should understand it
Can you be a self on your own or only together with others? Is selfhood a built-in feature of experience or rather socially constructed? How do we at all come to understand others? Does empathy amount to and allow for a distinct experiential acquaintance with others, and if so, what does that tell us about the nature of selfhood and social cognition? Does a strong emphasis on the first-personal character of consciousness prohibit a satisfactory account of intersubjectivity or is the former rather a necessary requirement for the latter?
Engaging with debates and findings in classical phenomenology, in philosophy of mind and in various empirical disciplines, Dan Zahavi’s new book Self and Other offers answers to these questions. Discussing such diverse topics as self-consciousness, phenomenal externalism, mindless coping, mirror self-recognition, autism, theory of mind, embodied simulation, joint attention, shame, time-consciousness, embodiment, narrativity, self-disorders, expressivity and Buddhist no-self accounts, Zahavi argues that any theory of consciousness that wishes to take the subjective dimension of our experiential life serious must endorse a minimalist notion of self. At the same time, however, he also contends that an adequate account of the self has to recognize its multifaceted character, and that various complementary accounts must be integrated, if we are to do justice to its complexity. Thus, while arguing that the most fundamental level of selfhood is not socially constructed and not constitutively dependent upon others, Zahavi also acknowledges that there are dimensions of the self and types of self-experience that are other-mediated. The final part of the book exemplifies this claim through a close analysis of shame.