The Mind's I Fantasies And Reflections On Self & Soul
Ever wondered who you are? Who you really are? This collection of writings and reflections by some of today's most notable thinkers is designed to enliven this most central, and most baffling, question in the philosophy of mind. In some ways, the questions posed and bantered about in this book are at the heart of all philosophical reasoning. They are the ultimate questions about the self. The Mind's I contains an astonishing variety of approaches to answering the question, "Who am I?" Between the covers of this book one encounters the literary erudition of Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges alongside the analytic rigor of John Searle. There are sophisticated metaphorical pieces (such as "The Princess Ineffabelle" by Polish philosopher and writer Stanislaw Lem), intriguing dialogues (like Raymond Smullyan's "Is God a Taoist?"), and serious but engaging philosophical essays from a host of thinkers (see Thomas Nagel's "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?").
Editors Hofstadter and Dennett--leading lights in the study of cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and the philosophy of mind--follow each selection with a short reflection designed to elaborate on their main themes. The Mind's I admirably broadens their fields to a more general audience. The book's essays are grouped into six categories, each successively raising the philosophical stakes by introducing new levels of complexity. Ultimately, one confronts some of the thorniest questions in modern philosophy here, such as the nature of free will, our place in the metaphysical world, and the possibility of genuine artificial intelligence. The book closes with a playful and perplexing piece by Robert Nozick, an adequate summation to The Mind's I. He writes, "Perhaps God has not decided yet whether he has created, in this world, a fictional world or a real one.... Which decision do you hope for?" --Eric de Place