Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How The Mind Works

From the New York Review of Books, Reviews of:
The Physiology of Truth: Neuroscience and Human Knowledge, by Jean-Pierre Changeux, translated from the French by M.B. DeBevoise
Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors: From Molecular Biology to Cognition, by Jean-Pierre Changeux and Stuart J. Edelstein
Conversations on Mind, Matter, and Mathematics, by Jean-Pierre Changeux and Alain Connes, translated from the French by M.B. DeBevoise
What Makes Us Think? A Neuroscientist and a Philosopher Argue about Ethics, Human Nature, and the Brain, by Jean-Pierre Changeux and Paul Ricoeur, translated from the French by M.B. DeBevoise
Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind, by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee, with a foreword by Oliver Sacks
Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions and and Emotions, by Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia, translated from the Italian by Frances Anderson
A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination, by Gerald M. Edelman and Giulio Tononi


A. G. Rud said...

This is important material for at least two reasons (caveat: I have not read the review or any of these books): neuroscientific explanations of behavior are altering the way we look at social phenomena, as well as cultural explanations of such. Second, those of us in education, and in particular foundations of education, should learn about these areas to enrich our own understandings and to collaborate with colleagues who are working in these areas, as well as to deconstruct and critique neuroscientific claims (I have noticed the language of neuroscience is increasingly prominent in my COE, partly because our former dean and current associate dean for research both work in that area and send around RFPs and other information pertinent to neuroscience and education.)

I suspect there are an increasing number of neuroscientific educational topics in educator conferences, in-services, and such.

Barbara Stengel said...

I agree that those of us who consider issues related to mind and motivation as well as the purposes of education generally ought to be conversant (in at least a pedestrian way) with this literature.

There's a piece in today's NYTimes that describes research in "plant behavior" and the work of an organization devoted to "plant neurobiology". The horizons of our understanding of plant, animal and human behavior are being pushed back all the time and significantly alter our answers to educational -- and ethical -- issues. Thanks for this list.

A. G. Rud said...

Yes, indeed, plants and all our environs. We are at a very exciting frontier in many of the sciences. I have worked in the past in the nascent science of anthrozoology, aka the human/animal bond, with vet researchers. I affirm what Barb has said about how all these new sciences are altering our views of ethics, foundations of education, and all. And yes, I am not a scientist, just a traveler trying to learn a bit more...

My previous post last sentence should be "is" not "are." Arrrrggghh.