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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


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An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind by K. T. Maslin (Polity) contains a number of features which are designed to help introduce students to the basic questions and arguments in the philosophy of mind. It is a good primer that helps to create a quick grasp and sound and thorough understanding of what the subject is about.

There is a brief survey of the contents of each chapter by providing a list of objectives at the start of the chapter. These objectives specify the main ideas in the chapter. Next, exercises are designed to enable thinking about various topics are integrated into the text throughout the book. They are designed as discussion question that works well in dyads or small groups. Maslin provides a discussion of each topic as a check to the groups discussion.

There is a selection of questions typical of those asked by examiners at A-level and degree level are to be found at chapter ends, together with details of further reading for those keen to take the topics forward for themselves. Clearly, teachers could set these essays for students. Alternatively, students might try planning or writing these essays for themselves. The discussions are for the most part are non-technical but a useful glossary and a short select bibliography is available

OTHER MINDS by Alec Hysop (Kluwer Academic Publishers)

Synthese Library. Vol. 246

$80.00, 168 pages, notes, bibliography, index


This study is by far the most comprehensive examination yet of a problem that involves us all: the basis of our knowledge that others have minds. It insists against the received wisdom, that no theory of mind can avoid the problem or make it easier to solve. Nor is there any way to avoid a crucial reliance on the theorist’s own experience. Alec Hyslop rigorously defends a (modified) version of the traditional analogical inference to other minds and rejects alternatives, but only after subjecting each of them to a sustained, searching examination. Other Minds is a densely argued, original contribution to philosophy that will be useful, given its comprehensiveness and its non-technical language, to all who are interested in this great issue.

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