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Brain, Mind and Consciousness in the History of Neuroscience

  • Book
  • © 2014


  • Traces significant work in neuroscience, from classical antiquity to the 21st century
  • Presents historic milestones in the investigation of correlating brain activity with consciousness
  • Examines the problem of mind at the interface between science and the humanities, looking at how the problem should be posed
  • Includes supplementary material:

Part of the book series: History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences (HPTL, volume 6)

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About this book

This volume of essays examines the problem of mind, looking at how the problem has appeared to neuroscientists (in the widest sense) from classical antiquity through to contemporary times. Beginning with a look at ventricular neuropsychology in antiquity, this book goes on to look at Spinozan ideas on the links between mind and body, Thomas Willis and the foundation of Neurology, Hooke’s mechanical model of the mind and Joseph Priestley’s approach to the mind-body problem.

The volume offers a chapter on the 19th century Ottoman perspective on western thinking. Further chapters trace the work of nineteenth century scholars including George Henry Lewes, Herbert Spencer and Emil du Bois-Reymond. The book covers significant work from the twentieth century, including an examination of Alfred North Whitehead and the history of consciousness, and particular attention is given to the development of quantum consciousness. Chapters on slavery and the self and the development of an understanding of Dualism bring this examination up to date on the latest 21st century work in the field.

At the heart of this book is the matter of how we define the problem of consciousness itself: has there been any progress in our understanding of the working of mind and brain? This work at the interface between science and the humanities will appeal to experts from across many fields who wish to develop their understanding of the problem of consciousness, including scholars of Neuroscience, Behavioural Science and the History of Science.

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Table of contents (18 chapters)


From the book reviews:

“The editors of and contributors to this volume are to be commended for rescuing from oblivion a number of historical philosophers and neuroscientists from classical Greece to the present. … This volume is highly recommended for programs in the history of psychology and neuroscience, cognitive science, and the philosophy of mind.” (Paul E. Tibbetts, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 90 (1), March, 2015)

“Any professional in the biological and social sciences with an interest in the genesis of mind-body problems or the current status of consciousness related to brain functioning would profit from reading this volume. … Anyone teaching a history of psychology or of neuroscience at the graduate level could use this text. … The collected essays provide an excellent selective history of the ‘hard problem’ and a sense of current theorizing about the problem.” (Dennis Jowaisas, PsyCRITIQUES, Vol. 60 (9), March, 2015)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Vision Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom

    C.U.M. Smith

  • Department of Psychology, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, USA

    Harry Whitaker

Bibliographic Information

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