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Life Sciences | Origins of Mind

Origins of Mind

Series: Biosemiotics, Vol. 8

Swan, Liz (Ed.)

2013, XI, 409 p. 53 illus., 11 illus. in color.

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  • Highly multidisciplinary collection of essays on mind
  • The first biosemiotic collection devoted entirely to mind
  • Many chapters contain extensive lists of references that constitute suggestions for further reading
  • Several chapters are written by early career mind scientists and provide cutting edge thinking on mind

The big question of how and why mindedness evolved necessitates collaborative, multidisciplinary investigation. Biosemiotics provides a new conceptual space that attracts a multitude of thinkers in the biological and cognitive sciences and the humanities who recognize continuity in the biosphere from the simplest to the most complex organisms, and who are united in the project of trying to account for even language and human consciousness in this comprehensive picture of life. What philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists can contribute to the growing interdiscipline are insights into how the biosemiotic weltanschauung applies to complex organisms like humans where such signs and sign processes constitute human society and culture.

The purpose of this volume is to gather together a sampling of contemporary thinking on when, why, and how mindedness evolved in the natural world from researchers working in the biological, cognitive, and medical sciences. The question of the origin of mind is no longer the exclusive domain of philosophers; it has, in recent decades, become a respectable question for research scientists to work on as well.

The volume’s contents are pluralistic. One element that most of the chapters in the volume have in common is in their adherence to the principle that the phenomenon of mindedness, including the peculiarities of human mindedness, is a biological phenomenon. Fully represented in this volume are thoughts, ideas, and theories that contribute to our naturalistic understanding of mindedness that address its biological origins and evolutionary development. The volume is divided into five sections devoted to the sub-topics of: biosemiotics theories of mindedness, the evolution of mental representation in humans, the evolution of various aspects of consciousness, problems in philosophy of mind, and simulation approaches to understanding human intelligence.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Evolution - Human - Mind - Origins - Philosophy

Related subjects » Anthropology & Archaeology - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - Life Sciences - Neuropsychology - Philosophy - Theoretical Computer Science

Table of contents 

Introduction: exploring the origins of mindedness in nature; Liz Swan
BIOSEMIOTICS
1. Organic Codes and the Natural History of Mind; Marcello Barbieri
2. The Descent of Humanity; Angelo Recchia-Luciani
3. From Non-Minds to Minds: biosemantics and the Tertium Quid; Crystal L’Hote
4. Cybersemiotics:  a new foundation for a transdisciplinary theory of consciousness, cognition, meaning and communication; Soren Brier
MENTAL REPRESENTATION
5. The Emergence of Empathy in the Context of Cross-Species Mind-reading; John Sarnecki
6. The Evolution of Scenario Visualization and the Early Hominin Mind; Rob Arp
7. Representation in Biological Systems: teleofunction, etiology, and structural preservation; Michael Nair-Collins
8. Beyond embodiment: from internal representation of action to symbolic processes; Isabel Barahona da Fonseca
CONSCIOUSNESS
9. Imitation, Learning, and Conceptual Thought: an embodied, developmental approach; Ellen Fridland
10. Evolving Consciousness: the very idea! James Fetzer
11. Mind or Mechanism: which came first? Teed Rockwell
12. Origins of the Qualitative Aspects of Consciousness: evolutionary answers to Chalmers’ hard problem; Jonathan Tsou
PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
13. Neuropragmatism on the Origins of Conscious Minding; Tibor Solymosi
14. Not So Exceptional: away from Chomskian salationism and towards a naturally gradual   account of mindfulness; Andrew Winters and Alex Levine
15. Mental Organs and the Origins of Mind; Thomas Ray
16. Mnemo-psychography: the origin of mind and the problem of biological memory storage; Frank Scalambrino
SYNTHETIC INTELLIGENCE
17. Minimal Mind; Alexei Sharov
18. Concept Combination and the Origins of Complex Cognition; Liane Gabora and Kirsty Kitto
19. The Mind of the Noble Ape in Three Simulations; Tom Barbalet
20. From the Natural Brain to the Artificial Mind; Massimo Negrotti

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