Digging in the brain terrain

Mind's Landscape
June 1, 2001

First appearances are against this book: it is at least 100 pages longer than one hopes for an introductory textbook and its title is a slightly clumsy metaphor that likens the mind to terrain that presents a surface appearance below which one can dig. This is not a very exciting way of presenting and organising a book and much of the writing lacks excitement too.

The first part "The mental landscape", aims to describe the surface, our everyday conception of the mind. It does so in a leisurely way, and the wit and radical rethinking with which this kind of work is done best, the prime example being that of J. L. Austin, is notably absent.

"Digging deeper", the second part, introduces a number of topics in a preliminary way: content, experience, action, "folk" psychological explanation, personal identity, marks of the mental. In the third part, "Bedrock", the standard responses to the mind-body problem are presented. In both these parts, various orthodox positions are set out and certain standard objections to them are raised in a balanced and measured way. But the chapter notes are often inadequate and the reader is not always directed to the source of the view or objection being presented, which is essential. In short, the book is a reliable up-to-date introductory survey of contemporary discussion in the field, but it shows little original insight or excitement.

Michael Morris is reader in philosophy, University of Sussex.

Mind's Landscape: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind. First Edition

Author - Samuel Guttenplan
ISBN - 0 631 20217 X and 20218 8
Publisher - Blackwell
Price - £55.00 and £16.99
Pages - 358

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns