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Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century
 
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Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century [Format Kindle]

Michael Grosso , Edward F., Kelly , Emily Williams Kelly , Adam Crabtree , Alan Gauld

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Current mainstream opinion in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in brains. Views of this sort have dominated recent scholarly publication. The present volume, however, demonstrates empirically that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false. The authors systematically marshal evidence for a variety of psychological phenomena that are extremely difficult, and in some cases clearly impossible, to account for in conventional physicalist terms. Topics addressed include phenomena of extreme psychophysical influence, memory, psychological automatisms and secondary personality, near-death experiences and allied phenomena, genius-level creativity, and 'mystical' states of consciousness both spontaneous and drug-induced. The authors further show that these rogue phenomena are more readily accommodated by an alternative 'transmission' or 'filter' theory of mind/brain relations advanced over a century ago by a largely forgotten genius, F. W. H. Myers, and developed further by his friend and colleague William James. This theory, moreover, ratifies the commonsense conception of human beings as causally effective conscious agents, and is fully compatible with leading-edge physics and neuroscience. The book should command the attention of all open-minded persons concerned with the still-unsolved mysteries of the mind.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  56 commentaires
219 internautes sur 227 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliantly Insightful and Destined to be an Instant Classic 10 janvier 2007
Par Dr. Richard G. Petty - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I think that it was Carl Sagan who said, "You want to be open-minded, but not so open-minded that your brains fall out." This marvelous book shows that open-mindedness is entirely compatible with scientific rigor.

For the last century, the vast majority psychologists, psychiatrists and neuroscientists have believed that thoughts, emotions and consciousness are the product of physical processes in the brain. Just recently the editor of popular psychology magazine expressed the opinion that the whole of human behavior could be reduced to reflexes.

This book provides comprehensive and detailed empirical proof that this reductive, materialistic belief is not just incomplete but false. Sagan also said that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence and this book is full of it. But far from being a catalogue, each piece of evidence and every idea is examined critically.

The book is broken into nine sections followed by an introductory bibliography of psychical research and exactly one hundred pages of references.

Chapter 1: A View from the Mainstream: Contemporary Cognitive Neuroscience and the Consciousness Debates
Chapter 2: F. W. H. Myers and the Empirical Study of the Mind-Body Problem
Chapter 3: Psychophysiological Influence
Chapter 4: Memory
Chapter 5: Automatism and Secondary Centers of Consciousness: - Chapter 6: Unusual Experiences Near Death and Related Phenomena
Chapter 7: Genius
Chapter 8: Mystical Experience
Chapter 9: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century

It begins with a short history of 20th-century psychology from behaviorism to present-day cognitive neuroscience. This section emphasizes the inability of these theories to account for many important aspects of mind and consciousness.

We then move to an introduction to the work of Frederick Myers the 19th-century English psychologist whose work supported the view -echoed throughout this book - that the mind is not generated by the brain but is instead limited and constrained by it.

The next sections present critical reviews of a number of highly reproducible and familiar phenomena including the placebo response, stigmata and hypnotic suggestion. Though well known they demonstrate the influence of mental states on the body. We then move into some less familiar phenomena including some of those produced by yogis and distant influences on living systems. This step-by-step approach is very appealing and leads us to the inescapable conclusion that many of these phenomena are simply inexplicable using a reductionist, materialist approach to the mind and the brain.

The book presents a strong critique of the notion that memories are ONLY potentiated pathways in the brain. Later sections discuss such disparate topics as memories that survive physical death, near death experiences, automatic writing and out-of-body experiences, apparitions and deathbed visions. I have only a minor quibble about the inclusion of multiple personality disorder, which is controversial and the evidence for it not strong.

There are some very strong sections on super-normal states and a good critique of some recent attempts to reduce altered states of consciousness - including experiences induced by prayer and meditation - to brain processes. The authors rightly point out many of the limitations of the approach.

This is an astonishing book that I hope will be widely read despite weighing in at around 800 pages.

I put it in the same class as Michael Murphy's The Future of the Body, Ken Wilber's Sex, Ecology and Spirituality and the less well-known Nature of Consciousness by Jerry Wheatley.

Very highly recommended.
104 internautes sur 110 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly Recommended 30 avril 2007
Par Kristen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the "mind-body" or more precisely, "mind-brain" problem. It is quite an undertaking at close to 700 pages of writing but in my opinion it was well worth the effort. The authors did well in providing a contextual history and background for those not familiar with the field of psychology and its history.

The main premise is that mainstream psychology has not yet provided a satisfactory theory of mind. Particularly, the relation of mind to brain has been largely ignored because it has been dominated by a purely materialistic view of the brain which posits that consciousness is generated by processes occurring purely in the brain. The objective of the book is to "provide justification for revisiting the broader and deeper framework of psychology" and the authors use the contributions of F.W.H. Myers, in particular his book Human Personality (1903), as a guide. The first chapter of the book provides relevant background in modern cognitive science. The next chapter summarizes the contributions of Myers to empirical investigation of the mind-body relation which provides the framework for the rest of the book.

The authors state that much of the available empirical evidence (such as that of psi phenomena) is ignored because it is assumed a priori impossible and caution that scientists must look at all the relevant facts, not just those compatible with current mainstream theory. They argue that it is precisely the valid scientific evidence that seems to conflict with current theory that should "commend the most urgent attention." The authors state that, "...in order to get an adequate scientific account of the mind we must be prepared to take seriously all relevant data and to modify as necessary even our most fundamental theoretical ideas." A variety of specific empirical phenomena and aspects of mental life that have not been able to be understood in the current "physicalist conceptual framework" are identified and discussed in detail and make up the bulk of the book. These include: psychophysiological influences, memory, automatism, near death experiences and related phenomenon, genius, and mystical experiences. I must admit that I was one of those scientists who criticized the data supporting so called `anomalous experiences' (e.g., NDEs, OBEs, psi phenomenon, psychophysiological influences, etc.) a priori without actually researching the available scientific evidence. After reading the extensive summaries of empirical evidence provided in this book my viewpoint has certainly changed. It is obvious that there is a wide variety of evidence supporting these various phenomena and this is certainly an area of research that has been greatly neglected by modern day scientists.

In the final chapter, "Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century", the authors re-assess Myer's theory of human personality and provide a summary of implications of the evidence provided in this book for future research and psychological theory. They urge that psychology should return to the central problem of mind and utilize technological and methodological advances to further study in this field. They point out that most of Myer's theoretical ideas and the empirical phenomena used to support them are still valid today and have not been "disproven but simply displaced." The authors also point out some of the weaknesses in Myer's approach and provide discussions regarding opportunities for further investigation. It is pointed out that the relevance of quantum-theoretic considerations to brain research has not been recognized and research in this area should be pursued and a short discussion on how contemporary quantum physics and neuroscience could support a new theory of the mind is provided. They also briefly describe the theoretical directions in which they believe psychology should go in order to develop a more comprehensive theory of mind-brain interaction that incorporates all the relevant aspect of present-day science.

For those intrigued by the empirical evidence presented in the book and eager to read more, the authors includes a great Appendix listing serious literature sources with respect to psychical research. A perusal of the "Reference" section also leads to many great sources of information that are available for further reading.

This is a serious science book and hopefully it will inform young scientists that there is much yet to be learned about the mind and that there are vast areas of research, that have largely been ignored, that should be pursued if we are ever going to be able to develop a proper theory of the mind. As the authors state, scientists should not a priori ignore such empirical evidence because it does not fit within their current theoretical model. Hopefully, this book will encourage scientists to look more closely at the available evidence and promote future research into these much neglected areas.
49 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Best Mind/Neuroscience/Psychology Book I've Read 2 novembre 2010
Par Ben Bendig - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
As an advanced graduate student in cognitive psychology, and one very much interested in expanding academic psychology's rather limited approach to the mind (yes, irony), I find this book to be, well, quite amazing. I've read a number of other books on similar topics, but nowhere have I found such an even-handed, fair, and thorough commitment to the truth.

Chapters 3 and 5-8 are wonderful for truly fascinating phenomena, though that is not to say the other chapters are uninteresting. The whole book is exceptional.

There is a consistent emphasis on supporting F.W.H. Myer's views--the book is a tribute to his work, and modeled after Myers's Human Personality--which at times might seem a little much, but shouldn't. Myers is indeed a neglected genius, and deserves to be far more well-known than he is. Re-establishing him is an important task and aspect of the book.

It should definitely be required reading for anyone in or near psychology. For those not in academia, I think it's still worth reading, though is certainly not paced like a popular science book. But this is because it is far more rich and densely rewarding than most popular science books.
45 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fundamentalist Materialism Goes Down at Last! 6 janvier 2010
Par C. L. Vash - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I belong to both the American Psychological Association (APA)and the Association for Psychological Science (APS). When the more scientifically oriented psychologists abandoned APA and established APS, I considered going with them but was too busy with my work to have time to be active with either association so I just stayed put. After I retired (from administering both clinical and research programs for many years),I joined APS out of curiosity and found that I admire and despair over aspects of each organization, and maybe should have belonged to both for the whole 20 years in which both have existed.

In 1958 when a couple of my psychology professors at UCLA mentioned this book's deep! mentor ... FWH Myers, and they quickly tossed him aside as way too far out ... I thought he sounded ver-ry interesting. But, as a sensible grad student, I bought whatever they told me and went on without a word of protest. Probably a good idea because I got a couple of really good jobs later on that I might not have been offered if I'd been on record as admitting I liked that dead guy who'd started the Psychic Research Society in England!

All along I've been a non-theist who finds only "esoteric" religions interesting or useful because they are predominantly psychological and view Gods as simply personifications of natural, not supernatural, energy/matter/informational systems. Now the entire range of unusual, often "paranormal" phenomena analyzed in this book ... an amazing documentation of more than a century of philosophical speculations and respectable investigations ... has shown me that its six authors outrank the rest of us in their care, skill, precision, and ability to avoid slipping into personal belief preferences when they analyze phenomena most others want to cling to or deny. It's not just religious persons who want to deny ideas that don't match ancient notions in their scriptures and cling to their programmed-in beliefs. A number of scientists and philosophers are equally desperate to deny non-materialist possibilities and cling to modern science's "as-if working assumptions" which they have come to misconstrue as FACTS.

I HOPE that every member of APA and APS will read this book and join the people leading our field to enhanced ability to clarify the mechanisms by which we can learn HOW brains and minds learn and remember and retrieve information and take actions based upon it. We may eventually reclaim our honor rather as Lamarck did when the new field of epigenetics was suddenly recognized as being based on his century-old claim that acquired characteristics can be passed on to progeny. He wasn't the idiot everyone thought he was [although Darwin never agreed with that; he alone respected him!] Maybe a century from now the humbuggers who believe in mind functions that are now laughed away will have a new field that recognizes they were right, they just didn't know HOW the unusual things happened.
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 It Can Be Overwhelming 28 février 2012
Par Amos Oliver Doyle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Well, after a couple of months I finally got through "Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Perhaps two of the authors, Edward Kelly and Michael Grosso, sum up the entire book in their chapter titled "Genius" where on page 479, discussing Carl Jung, they say "...and his writing has a tendency to dissolve into depths of obscurity which we like many others sometimes find impenetrable. Nevertheless, we feel there is much of value in his work...." And, I agree. There is much of value in this book and I think that serious students of the human condition, especially the human mind/brain dilemma, should at least have a copy in their library for reference. It's a ponderous tome of academic verbal tonnage written by a committee of erudite professorial psychologists, psychiatrists and philosophers who really should have tried to communicate to their readers rather than lecture to them. This is the kind of book that causes college students to groan when it is assigned reading and some probably skim through it or don't read it at all. It can be overwhelming.

Well I did read it all the way through and of course found some parts better than others. The first two chapters of the book were weighty and, for me, boring. Chapter 3, "Psychophysiological Influence" written by Emily Williams Kelly, was better, actually, probably the best chapter in the book in my opinion. Chapter 5, "Automatism and Secondary Centers of Consciousness" by Adam Crabtree was good too. As I continued through the rest of the book there was an ebb and flow of interesting sections. But I don't think that any of them equaled Emily Kelly's chapter.

This book needs to be read slowly and carefully so it takes a lot of time to get through it. Even though I think I have at least a 10th grade reading level as recommended by one of the other reviewers, I found that, in some sections, I had to read and reread sentences over and over to maintain some continuity of thought. It helped if I had a dictionary nearby to define many of the words for me. It is difficult for one person to equal the combined vocabulary of 6 very erudite (and verbose) college professors.

Sometimes readers have a tendency to skip introductions to books, perhaps, but with this book I suggest that it should be read carefully. It is nicely written, providing an overall summary or outline of the book and the intent of the authors which is to ask current behaviorist psychologists, I suppose, to go back a hundred plus years and reconsider the thoughts of Frederic William Henry Myers and William James regarding consciousness and the subliminal and supraliminal mind. One may perhaps learn as much from the introduction as from reading the entire book. The introduction also provides a link to an electronic version of F.W.H. Myers' book "Human Personality" available at the Esalen website.

I found Myers' `Human Personality" a somewhat easier read than "Irreducible Mind" and I thought that the Esalen on-line version was well done with easily accessible translations of the sections written in French. The paragraphs are numbered and referenced in Myers' outline of the book and it is very easy to jump to chapters and sections of interest.

Overall, not an easy book to read but one worth having as a reference in one's library.
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