Book Reviews

Additions to the Bibliography on Mind and Consciousness

compiled by Piero Scaruffi

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Dalenoort G.J.: THE PARADIGM OF SELF-ORGANIZATION (Gordon & Breach, 1989)

A collection of articles from experts in various disciplines that all deal with autonomous systems. Topics include cybernetics, evolution, complexity, morphogenesis, self-reference. Csanyi offers a general theory of evolution based on a "replicative model" of self-organization.

Dalenoort G.J.: THE PARADIGM OF SELF-ORGANIZATION II (Gordon & Breach, 1994)

The new collection includes articles on learning, the arrow of time, cellular automata, cognition, etc.

Damasio Antonio: DESCARTES' ERROR (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1995)

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Damasio Antonio: THE FEELING OF WHAT HAPPENS (Harcourt Brace, 1999)

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Damasio, Antonio: LOOKING FOR SPINOZA (Pantheon, 2003)

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Damasio, Antonio: "Self Comes to Mind" (Harcourt, 2011)

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Davidson Donald: INQUIRIES INTO TRUTH AND INTERPRETATION (Clarendon Press, 1984)

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Davies Paul: GOD AND THE NEW PHYSICS (Penguin, 1982)

The book surveys the mysteries of the universe, life, mind, consciousness, particle physics by updating the debate to the theories of non-linear dynamics and self-organization.

Davies Paul: ABOUT TIME (Touchstone, 1995)

A popular introduction to relativistic and quantum time, roaming from big bang to black holes, speculating on time reversal and tachyons.

Davies Paul: THE FIFTH MIRACLE (Simon & Schuster, 1998)

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The first part is devoted to the system AM, that was built to study and simulate discovery of heuristics in solving mathematical problems. The second part describes TEIRESIAS, a system to acquire and maintain large knowledge bases.

Davis Steven: CONNECTIONISM (Oxford University Press, 1992)

An introduction to the field with emphasis on how higher cognitive tasks can be explained by lower connectionist models.

Davis Steven: PRAGMATICS (Ocford University Press, 1991)

An ambitious collection of seminal papers on speech acts (Grice, Kripke, Searle), indexicals (Kaplan's logic of demonstratives), implicature and relevance (Grice's "Logic and conversation", Wilson & Sperber's "Inference and implicature"), presupposition (Lewis, Stalnaker), metaphor (Davidson, Searle, Sperber & Wilson).
Robyn Carston advances a proposal to distinguish two kinds of semantics: a linguistic semantics (a theory of utterance) and a truth-conditional semantics (a theory of propositions). Linguistics semantics provides the input to pragmatics and the two together provide the input to truth-conditional semantics.
Kent Bach views linguistic communication as an inferential process and presents a theory of speech acts.
John Searle attempts to explain "indirect speech acts" in terms of his theory of speech acts and metaphor as "speaker's utterance meaning" (a set of principles allow the hearer to compute the possible meanings).

Dawkins Richard: THE SELFISH GENE (Oxford Univ Press, 1976)

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Dawkins Richard: THE EXTENDED PHENOTYPE (OUP, 1982)

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Dawkins Richard: THE BLIND WATCHMAKER (Norton, 1987)

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Dawkins Richard: CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE (Norton, 1996)

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Dawkins Richard: RIVER OUT OF EDEN (Basic, 1995)

This is an introduction for the general audience to Dawkins' ideas and to modern evolutionary theories.
Within his own theory of the genes' struggle and competition for survival, Dawkins tries to answer philosophical questions such as how life began and why are we alive at all. Nature's excesses and cruelties are explained by the need of genes to survive and reproduce. Suffering, pain and fear to the most horrible extremes, are part of this game.

Deacon Terrence: THE SYMBOLIC SPECIES (W.W. Norton & C., 1997)

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Deacon Terrence: "Incomplete Nature" (Norton, 2012)

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DeDuve Christian: VITAL DUST (Basic, 1995)

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Dehaene, Stanislas: "Consciousness and the Brain" (Penguin, 2014)

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De Waal Frans: BONOBO: THE FORGOTTEN APE (University of California Press, 1997)

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de Waal Frans: GOOD NATURED (Harvard Univ Press, 1996)

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An introduction to recursive functions, Church's thesis, Lambda calculus, first-order predicate calculus, resolution, unification; all the logical tools needed to understand the Prolog programming language.

Depew David & Weber Bruce: DARWINISM EVOLVING (MIT Press, 1994)

A competent, comprehensive and exhaustive history and survey of evolutionary theories from Darwin to Gould and Lewontin.
The first half of this book is a history of darwinism. The second part deals with Galton, Mendel, Fisher, Wright up to the modern day synthesis. The third part starts with the discovery of the DNA and ends with modern models of evolution.
The book shows that the idea of natural selection has undergone three stages of development, parallel to developments in the physical sciences: the deterministic dynamics of Isaac Newton, the stochastic dynamics of Clerk Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann, and now the dynamics of complex systems. If initially Darwin's theory could be related to Newton's physics in that it assumed an external force (natural selection) causing change in living organisms (just like Newton posited an external force, gravity, causing change in the motion of astronomical objects), with the invention of population genetics by Ronald Fisher and others darwinism became stochastic (the thermodynamic model of genetic natural selection, in which fitness is maximized like entropy), just what physics had become with Boltzmann's theory of gases.
Population genetics showed that Darwin's theory (that change occurred by the natural selection of many minute variations) and Mendel's theory (that change occurred suddenly, by mutation) were complementary: changes occur in the frequencies of genes.
The authors point to the dynamics of complex systems, and specifically to the idea of self-organization, as the next step in the study of evolution.

DeMey Marc: THE COGNITIVE PARADIGM (Univ of Chicago Press, 1982)

Philosophical reflections on the emergence of a new scientific revolution, the cognitive paradigm.

Dennett Daniel: CONTENT AND CONSCIOUSNESS (Routledge, 1969)

The distinction between mental and physical is ambigous. The distinction between psychological language and scientific language, on the other hand, corresponds to the distinction between intentional sentences and extensional sentences. In order to reduce the mind to the body, one must reduce intentionality to the extensional.
An extensional reduction of intentional sentences is possible with internal events serving as the conditions of ascription. There could be a system of internal states whose extensional description provides also an intentional description. The problem is whether it make sense to ascribe content to neural states.
Dennett distinguishes between consciousness (conscious of, non-intentional sense) and awareness (aware that, intentional sense). Consciousness is then merely awareness of the contents of internal states.
Knowledge does not divide into independent parts and therefore cannot be listed and therefore people can't really say what they know.

Dennett Daniel: THE INTENTIONAL STANCE (MIT Press, 1987)

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Dennett Daniel: CONSCIOUSNESS EXPLAINED (Little & Brown, 1991)

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Dennett Daniel: DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA (Simon & Schuster, 1995)

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Dennett Daniel: KINDS OF MINDS (Basic, 1998)

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DeSousa Ronald: THE RATIONALITY OF EMOTION (MIT Press, 1987)

A study on emotions from a biological (rather than psychological) perspective.
Emotions are not irrational behavior. They play the same role as perceptions: they contribute to create beliefs and desires. Emotions are perceptions that play a role in beliefs and desires. Emotions are learned like a language. Their semantics derives from the paradigm scenarios in terms of which they have been learned. The intentionality of emotions leads to a classification of objects of emotion. Emotions are also defined by their relation to time (e.g., an event lasting for years cannot count as a surprise).
Emotions and reason are not antagonists. Reason and emotion are complementary cognitive skills. DeSousa talks of "axiological rationality". Emotions control the crucial factor of salience and can therefore restrict the combinatorial possibilities that reason has to face (thereby avoiding the frame problem).

Deutsch, J. Anthony: THE STRUCTURAL BASIS OF BEHAVIOR (University of Chicago Press, 1960)

Deutsch's studies on the rat's behavior reached the conclusion that rats make purely topological maps of their environment. A map contains a representation of points in the environment and conncetions between such representations. A point in the environment is recognized by comparing its sensory representation with the representations in memory until a corresponding one is found. Once a representation is found, the connections relate it to other representations. The pattern of connectivity in memory reflects the topology of points in the environment. The cognitive maps simply specify the possible "routes", they do not specify which one to take. The specific "motivation" of the rat determines which route is selected. A motivation spreads through the network as a signal that decreases from node to node: farther nodes from the node first hit by the motivational signal will reach a very weak signal. Action is determined by the motivational gradient on the map.

Deutsch David: THE FABRIC OF REALITY (Penguin, 1997)

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Deutsch David: "The Beginning of Infinity" (Viking, 2011)

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Devlin Keith: GOODBYE DESCARTES (John Wiley, 1997)

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Donald Merlin: ORIGINS OF THE MODERN MIND (Harvard Univ Press, 1991)

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Donaldson Margaret: CHILDREN'S MINDS (Norton, 1972)

A classic of developmental psychology, that expanded Piaget's theory of different stages of mental development.

Donaldson Margaret: HUMAN MINDS (Penguin Press, 1992)

Donaldson provides a unifying vision of post-Piaget developmental psychology (i.e., the growth of intellectual competence) by viewing the child's mental development as an organically growing neural network shaped by the child's intentions.
Piaget's stages were defined by the ability to perform mental operations. Donaldson's stages are defined by the child's focus of attention.
The first stage (first eight months of life), the "point mode", is limited to things that the child can perceive directly ("here" and "now"). The second stage, the "line mode", expands to embrace the concepts of past and future ("there" and "then"). The third stage, the "construct mode" (second year of life) is one of concern abut the nature of things ("anywhere and at any time"). The fourth stage is the "transcendent mode", when the child starts using its imagination ("nowhere").
The second part of the book delves into cultural history with far less success.

Dougherty Ray: NATURAL LANGUAGE COMPUTING (Lawrence Erlbaum, 1994)

Prolog implementations of english, french and german grammars.

Douglas, Mary: NATURAL SYMBOLS (Random House, 1970)

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Drawing from the aristotelic classification of state, activity and eventuality, Dowty thinks that the modal operators "do", "become" and "cause" can be the foundations for building the meaning of any other verb. A thematic role is a set of properties that are common to all roles that belong to that thematic role. A thematic role being also a relationship that ties a term with an event or a state, a Lambda calculus can be built on thematic roles. Tematic roles are actually cognitive structures that favor the acquisition of language. See Fillmore, Schank and Jackendoff.


One of the best books to understand Montague's thinking and practice. His intensional language is incrementally built starting from truth-conditional, model-theoretic and possible-world approaches to semantics, then introducing variables, quantifiers, tense, modality and lambda calculus. The concepts underlying his program for a "universal grammar" are also greatly simplified and explained.

Drescher Gary: MADE-UP MINDS (MIT Press, 1991)

Drescher's "schema mechanism" is a computational implementation of Piaget's theory of early child development. Concepts are built through a stepwise process of synthesis and abstraction.


Dretske is inspired by Shannon's and Weaver's theory of information. In order to extend what is a purely "quantitative" theory (dealing with the amount of information present in the state of a system and the amount of information which is received in a transmission between two systems) into a semantic theory of information, Dretske distinguishes information from meaning (a signal may have meaning but it certainly carries information) and then relates information, knowledge and belief: knowledge as information-caused belief (an agent knows that something is true if having that information causes one to believe that it is the case).
A state carries information about another to the degree that it is lawfully dependent on that other state. The lawful relationship between a cause and its effect accounts for the effect being about the cause. Intentionality is not unique of mental states, but quite ubiquitous in physical systems (for example, a thermometer). Mental intentional states are somewhat limited compared to physical systems' intentional states, as they miss a lot of information that physical systems would not miss. In a sense, the mind distorts the information that is available in the environment.
A state transports information about another state to the extent that it depends on that state. Intentionality is reduced to a cause-effect relationship: each effect refers to its cause. There are systems outside the human mind which are intentional. Having contents is not unique to the human mind, but having some contents may be. What is unique is the transition from analogical information (as presented by sensors) to digital information (the cognitive representation). Intentionality is "caused" by the information perceived by the sensors. Coherently with Gibson's and Neisser's theories, information is in the environment and cognitive agents simply absorb it, thereby creating mental states.
The difference between sensory processes and cognitive processes is reduced to the difference between analog processing and digital processing.
Perceptual systems are designed to maintain a stable correlation between percept and the perceived world.
Intelligence is a function of the total capacity of information processing.
A belief is a semantic structure whose content determines what is believed. Beliefs require concepts and concepts imply the capacity for holding beliefs. A perceptual act creates a belief out of a concept. A concept has both a backward-looking, informational aspect, and a forward-looking, functional aspect. What concepts a system possesses is determined by the kind of information to which its internal states are sensitive.
Similarly to Fodor ("narrow content" and "broad content" of a mental representation) and Putnam (self-contained psychological states such as pain versus world-related states such as "X loves Y"), Dretske too has a two-factor theory of mental states: an "indicator" (the "information", the causal relation to external states) and a second factor which expresses the dependencies between the internal states in a fashion reflecting the external world.

Dretske Fred: EXPLAINING BEHAVIOR (MIT Press, 1988)

The term "behavior" is used in many different ways to mean different things. The behavior of an animal is commonly taken to be the actions it performs more or less by instinct or by nature. This is not necessarily "voluntary" behavior. The fact that women have menstruations is part of "female behavior", but it is not voluntary. Behavior is pervasive in nature, and cannot be restricted to animals: plants exhibit behavior too.
Behavior is the production of some external effect by some internal cause. Behavior is a complex causal process wherein certain internal conditions produce certain external movements. First and foremost, behavior is a process. A process is caused by both a triggering cause (the reason why it occurs now) and a structural cause (the reason why the process is the way it is). This holds both for human behavior and the behavior of machines (a thermostat switches on a furnace both because the temperature fell below a threshold and because it has been designed to turn on furnaces under certain conditions).
The explanation of purposeful behavior in terms of intentions and beliefs is not contradictory with a physical account of neural and muscular activity. Generally, humans are interested in structural behavior, which in plants and animals has been determined by natural evolution and in machines has been built by humans.
The elements of a representational system have a content defined by what it is their function to indicate (Grice's "non-natural meaning"). Dretske distinguishes three types of representational systems: Type I have elements (symbols) that show no intrinsic power of representation (includes maps, codes, etc); Type II have elements (signs) that are causally related to what they indicate (includes gauges); Type III (or natural) have their own intrinsic indicator functions (unlike Type I and Type II, in which humans are the source of the functions) and therefore a natural power of representation.
Dretske separates the reference of a representation from the object that is causally responsible for the representation (a gauge carries information about the item it is connected to, not about which item it is that it is connected to)
In discussing the ccausal role of meaning, Dretske finds that the intentional idiom of beliefs, desire, knowledge and intention can as well be referred to primitive organisms that not only have a system of internal structures whose relevance to the explanation of behavior resides in what they indicate (they mean something and mean something "to" the organism of which they are part).

Dretske Fred: NATURALIZING THE MIND (MIT Press, 1995)

Five lectures on consciousness, revolving around the thesis that all mental facts are representational facts, which are in turn facts about informational functions. What one thinks and feels is determined by history and by the environment.
"Sense experience is the primary locus of consciousness". Phenomenal experience dominates mental life. The phenomenal aspects of perceptual experience are one and the same as external real-world properties that experience represents objects as having. Introspection is reduced to knowledge of internal facts via an awareness of external objects. Sensations (seeing, smelling, etc) are perceptual forms of consciousness.
Dretske provides an evolutionary account of sensory representation and ultimately of awareness. Animals that are conscious of objects and events can do things in the environment that unconscious animals cannot do.

Dretske Fred: SEEING AND KNOWING (University of Chicago Press, 1969)

Dretske believes that there are two fundamental versions of vision: a non-epistemic seeing, that requires no belief in what is being seen, and an epistemic seeing, which requires believing in what is being seen. The object of the non-epistemic vision is still a well-defined object, otherwise people who have no knowledge of an object (or have different beliefs about that object, such as an expert and a novice) would end up seeing different things when they look at it. In the epistemic mode, nothing can be seen without first acquiring some true belief about what is seen. This second way of seeing is subjective and may vary considerably among individuals with different knowledge and beliefs. Within epistemic seeing, a difference is drawn between primary epistemic seeing (an object is identified in virtue of how it looks) and secondary epistemic seeing (an object is identified not in virtue of the way it looks but in virtue of the way other objects look with respect to it).
A detailed mathematical account of both ways of seeing is worked out.

Dreyfus Hubert: WHAT COMPUTERS CAN'T DO (Harper & Row, 1979)

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Dreyfus Hubert & Dreyfus Stuart: MIND OVER MACHINE (Free Press, 1985)

A sobering critique of the foundations of artificial intelligence, and more specifically symbolic problem solver.
Dreyfus claims that only novices behave like expert systems. The expert has synthesized experience in an unconscious bahavior that reacts istantaneously to a complex situation. What the expert knows cannot be decomposed in rules.
The foundation of Dreyfus' argument is that minds do not use a theory about the everyday world because there is no set of context-free primitives of understanding. Human knowledge is skilled "know-how", as opposed to expert systems' logical representations, or "know-that".

Dubois Didier & Prade Henri: POSSIBILITY THEORY (Plenum Press, 1988)

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Dubois Didier, Prade Henri & Yager Ronald: READINGS IN FUZZY SETS (Morgan Kaufmann, 1993)

All the historical papers from Lotfi Zadeh's 1965 "Fuzzy sets" to Brat Kosko's "Adaptive inference in fuzzy knowledge systems". The editors provide an intriguing survey of the prehistory of the field, reaching back to Max Black and Karl Menger's "ensemble flou". They also compare fuzzy logic with competing theories of uncertainty, such as interval analysis and probabilities.
A few articles cover the foundations of fuzzy set theory. Dubois and Prade discuss fuzzy numbers (fuzzy sets in the real line) and possibility theory. Many articles cover applications to process control and decision analysis.

Dudai, Yadin: MEMORY FROM A TO Z (Oxford Univ Press, 2002)

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Dummett Michael: ELEMENTS OF INTUITIONISM (Oxford University Press, 1977)

A general introduction to intuitionism. Intuitionism prescribes that all proofs of theorems must be constructive. Only constructable objects are legitimate. The meaning of a statement resides not in its truth conditions but in the means of proof or verification.

Dummett Michael: TRUTH AND OTHER ENIGMAS (Harvard Univ Press, 1978)

The book collects many papers written by Dummett on various subjects.
Dummett's theory of meaning is a variant of intuitionistic logic: a statement can be said to be true only when it can be proven true in a finite time (it can be "effectively decided", similar to "intuitionistic justified"). In deciding truth one thing that is required is understanding. A theory of meaning must explicit what it is to know. A theory of meaning is an account of how language is used. A theory of meaning is a theory of understanding.
Dummett criticizes holism because it cannot explain how an individual can learn language. If the meaning of a sentence only exists in relationship to the entire system of sentences in the language, it would never be possible to learn it. For the same reason it is not possible to understand the meaning of a theory, if its meaning is given by the entire theory and not by single components.

Dummett Michael: SEAS OF LANGUAGE (Clarendon, 1993)

A collection of many articles about philosophy of language from the point of view of his theory of meaning.


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Durham, William: COEVOLUTION (Stanford University Press, 1991)

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Dyson Freeman: ORIGINS OF LIFE (Cambridge Univ Press, 1999)

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Dyson Freeman: INFINITE IN ALL DIRECTIONS (Harper & Row, 1988)

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