Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Among my circles, at least, the prevailing wisdom is that the mind is made of material stuff, and nothing more. This is sometimes called the mind-body identity theory, and sometimes also represented as a 'reductionist' theory: that is, explanations of mental phenomena 'reduce' to statements about physical phenomena. For a variety of reasons, the reductionist approach is (in my view) wrong - not wrong in such a way that physicality becomes false, but wrong in the sense that the reductionist view of science, in general, is false. The book reviewed here explores these themes, describing what it calls 'cognitive pluralism', an approach that essentially places 'truth about P' into a framework that includes P. This is fair enough as it goes, but it's really difficult to pull off without descending into some sort of full-blown relativism, which is the point at which most observers resist.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 05:01 a.m.