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Models of the Self

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About the Author

Shaun Gallagher is Director of the Cognitive Science Program, Canisius College. Jonathan Shear is a professor of philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University


"Gallagher and Shear have put together a fast paced yet savvy set of readings on the thorny problem of the self. It is a must read." -- Michael S. Gazzaniga, Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College; editor, The Cognitive Neurosciences "Never before has such a wide range of multidisciplinary expertise been brought to bear, in a single volume, upon the central and most perplexing question of the human condition - what is the self? This book will make fascinating and illuminating reading for anyone seeking a well-informed answer to that question." -- E.J. Lowe, Department of Philosophy, University of Durham; author, Subjects of Experience "We cannot understand consciousness without tackling the self - and this book tackles it head-on." -- Susan Blackmore, Department of Psychology, University of the West of England; author, The Meme Machine "In both its breadth and depth, Models of the Self is outstanding testimony to the success of cognitive science in unravelling the conundrum of personhood." -- Guy Claxton, University of Bristol School of Education; author, Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind "Models of the Self introduces the recent developments in a growing field of research, that of the embodiment of the self. Self-consciousness is probably the most fascinating aspect of this problem. The truly multidisciplinary approach to self-consciousness, from its development in infancy, to its disorders in neurological as well as psychiatric conditions, offers a real challenge to philosophers who are interested in such broad issues as the foundations of agency or the unity of the self. The book is fully edited, which is a rare feature in multi-authored works. The philosophical thread runs through the chapters, even those which deal with psychological or biological questions. No doubt this book will be widely read by philosophers, but also by researchers in neuroscience, psychology or cognitive science at large." -- Marc Jeannerod, Directeur, Institut des Sciences Cognitives, Lyon, France; co-editor, The Neuropsychology of Mental Imagery "In the last few years there has been a phenomenal growth of interest in the problem of consciousness and many of the books on this topic that have been published suggest that the problem is about to be solved. This book on the self presents a refreshingly different view. The contributors come from many backgrounds, ranging from eastern mysticism to robotics, and include the neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran and the philosopher Mary Midgley. The book springs from an essay written by Galen Strawson concerned with the problem of whether the self exists. All the commentators have fascinating and strikingly different things to say abut the self, but there is no pretence that the problem is solved. As Galen Strawson says at the end, 'the result is a festival of misunderstanding, but misunderstanding is one of the great engines of progress'." -- Christopher Frith, Wellcome Principal Research Fellow, Institute of Neurology, UCL; co-editor, Human Brain Function "The multiple conceptions of self constitute a diverse and entangled field. Gallagher and Shear have provided us with the most useful guided tour available. The breadth of coverage of its various articles is enormously useful to pull the reader away from his/her habitual assumptions and to peek into alternatives. The quality level of individual contributions is surprisingly good. It should find a place on the library shelf of every institution and individual concerned with the study of mind." -- Francisco J. Varela, CNRS, Paris; co-author, The Embodied Mind

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