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VWN Product Reviews: The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them

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Site Shop > The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them




A reconciliation of two conflicting visions of what a person is--one embedded in our humanistic traditions, the other advanced by mind science--from one of the most influential philosophers of our time.

Science has always created problems for traditional ways of seeing things, but now the very attributes that make us human--free will, the permanence of personal identity, the existence of the soul--are threatened by the science of the mind. If the mind is the brain, and therefore a physical object subject to deterministic laws, how can we have free will?

If most of our thoughts and impulses are unconscious, how can we be morally responsible for what we do? If brains and bodies undergo relentless change, how can our identities be constant?

The Problem of the Soul shows the way out of these paradoxes. Framing the conflict in terms of two dominant visions of the mind--the "manifest image" of humanistic philosophy and theology, and the scientific image--Owen Flanagan demonstrates that there is common ground, and that we need not give up our ideas of moral responsibility and personal freedom in order to have an empirically sound view of the human mind. This is a profoundly relevant work of philosophy for the common reader.

 

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