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LawBright-SidedBuddha's BrainBullying and TeasingBuyologyCaptureCare of the PsycheCartesian LinguisticsCartographies of the MindCerebrum 2007Cerebrum 2010Cerebrum 2015Cerebrum Anthology 2013Changing the SubjectCharacter Strengths and VirtuesCheating LessonsChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness Chomsky NotebookClinical Psychiatry in Imperial GermanyClinical Psychology in Practice ClosureCognition and PerceptionCognition and the BrainCognitive BiologyCognitive DissonanceCognitive FictionsCognitive Mechanisms of Belief ChangeCognitive PragmaticsCognitive ScienceCognitive ScienceCognitive Systems and the Extended MindCognitive Therapy of Anxiety DisordersCognitive Unconscious and Human RationalityCold-Blooded KindnessComing of Age in Second LifeCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeCompassion and Healing in Medicine and SocietyComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchComprehending ColumbineConfessions of a 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InvolvedEmotionsEmotionsEmotions and LifeEmotions in Humans and ArtifactsEmotions RevealedEmotions, Aggression, and Morality in ChildrenEmotions, Stress, and HealthEmpathyEnjoymentErotic MoralityEscape Your Own PrisonEssays in Social NeuroscienceEssential Sources in the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthically Challenged ProfessionsEveryday Mind ReadingEvidence for PsiEvidence-Based Mental Health PracticeEvil MenEvolution and Human BehaviorEvolution and LearningEvolution, Games, and GodEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolutionary Psychology as Maladapted PsychologyExacting BeautyExperiences of DepressionExperimenterExplaining the BrainExplaining the BrainExplorations in Neuroscience, Psychology and ReligionExploring TranssexualismExpression and the InnerExtending Self-Esteem ResearchExtraordinary BeliefsFact and Value in EmotionFaking ItFatigue as a Window to the BrainFavorite Activities for the Teaching of PsychologyFeeling GoodFeeling Pain and Being in PainFeelings and EmotionsFinding Meaning, Facing FearsFitting In Is OverratedFlourishingFlow: The Psychology of Optimal ExperienceFolk Psychological NarrativesFooling HoudiniForever YoungFormulation in Psychology and PsychotherapyFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Psychological ThoughtFree Will as an Open Scientific ProblemFreedom And NeurobiologyFreedom EvolvesFrom Axons to IdentityFrom Madness to Mental HealthFrom Neurons to Self-ConsciousnessFrom Passions to EmotionsFrom Philosophy to PsychotherapyFrom Symptom to SynapseFrontiers of ConsciousnessGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGenerosityGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGenetic Nature/CultureGeniusGetting Under the SkinGlued to GamesGoing SaneGot Parts?Group GeniusGrowing Up GirlGuilt, Shame, and AnxietyGut ReactionsHallucinationHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Closeness and IntimacyHandbook of Critical PsychologyHandbook of Emotion RegulationHandbook of EmotionsHandbook of Personality DisordersHandbook of PsychopathyHandbook of Self and IdentityHandbook of Self and IdentityHandbook of Spatial CognitionHappinessHappinessHappinessHappinessHappiness at WorkHappiness Is.Happy at LastHard to GetHardwired BehaviorHatredHealing the SplitHidden ResourcesHope and DespairHot ThoughtHot ThoughtHouse and PsychologyHow Animals Affect UsHow Animals GrieveHow Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?How Doctors ThinkHow Enlightenment Changes Your BrainHow Families Still MatterHow History Made the MindHow Infants Know MindsHow Many Friends Does One Person Need?How Professors ThinkHow The Body Shapes The MindHow the Body Shapes the Way We ThinkHow the Mind Explains BehaviorHow the Mind Uses the BrainHow to Change Someone You LoveHow We ReasonHow We RememberHughes' Outline of Modern PsychiatryHumanHuman BondingHuman Reasoning and Cognitive ScienceHypnotismHysteriaiBrainIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIdentifying the MindiDisorderImagination and the Meaningful BrainImitation and the Social MindImpulse Control DisordersImpulsivityIn an Unspoken VoiceIn Defense of SentimentalityIn DoubtIn Search of HappinessIn the Wake of 9/11Individual and Collective Memory ConsolidationInner Experience and NeuroscienceInner PresenceInside the American CoupleIntegrated Behavioral Health CareIntegrating Evolution and DevelopmentIntegrating Psychotherapy and PharmacotherapyIntegrity and the Fragile SelfIntellectual DisabilityIntelligenceIntelligence, Destiny, and EducationIntentions and IntentionalityInterdependent MindsInterpreting MindsInto the Minds of MadmenIntoxicating MindsIntrospection VindicatedIntuitionInventing PersonalityInvestigating the Psychological WorldIrrationalityIs There Anything Good About Men?Issues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJane Sexes It UpJoint AttentionJoint AttentionJudgment and Decision MakingJust a DogJust BabiesJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKarl JaspersKey Thinkers in PsychologyKidding OurselvesKids of CharacterKilling MonstersLack of CharacterLanguage OriginsLanguage, Consciousness, CultureLanguage, Vision, and MusicLaw, Mind and BrainLess Than HumanLet Kids Be KidsLet's Talk About DeathLiving NarrativeLiving with Mild Cognitive ImpairmentLonelinessLooking for SpinozaLossLOT 2Love at Goon ParkMachine ConsciousnessMacrocognitionMade for Each OtherMadnessMaking a Good Brain GreatMaking Habits, Breaking HabitsMaking Minds and MadnessMaking Up the MindMale SexualityMan and WomanMan's Search for MeaningMan, Beast, and ZombieManic MindsManlinessMapping the MindMarking the MindMarvelous Learning AnimalMasculinity Studies and Feminist TheoryMeaningMeaning, Mortality, and ChoiceMedical MusesMeditating SelflesslyMeetings with a Remarkable ManMemoryMemory and DreamsMemory and EmotionMemory And UnderstandingMental BiologyMental IllnessMental Time TravelMetacognitionMetacognition and Theory of MindMethods in MindMindMindMind and BrainMind 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ConsciousnessNeurodiversityNeuroethicsNeuroLogicNeurological Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience Neuroscience and PhilosophyNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNot By Genes AloneNot Much Just Chillin'Not So Abnormal PsychologyNurturing the Older Brain and MindOn AnxietyOn Being HumanOn Being MovedOn Deep History and the BrainOn DesireOn KillingOn Nature and LanguageOn PaedophiliaOn PersonalityOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOn the Origins of Cognitive ScienceOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOnflowOpen MindsOpening Skinner's BoxOrigin of MindOrigins of PsychopathologyOther MindsOut of Our HeadsOut of the WoodsOvercoming Depersonalization DisorderPanpsychism and the Religious AttitudePanpsychism in the WestParenting and the Child's WorldPassionate EnginesPathologies of the WestPatient-Based Approaches to Cognitive NeurosciencePediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople Types and Tiger StripesPerception & CognitionPerception beyond InferencePerception, Hallucination, and IllusionPersonal Development and Clinical PsychologyPerspectives on ImitationPhantoms in the BrainPhenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal KnowledgePhenomenology and Philosophy of MindPhilosophical Foundations of NeurosciencePhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophy and HappinessPhilosophy of PsychologyPhilosophy, Neuroscience and ConsciousnessPhrenologyPhysical RealizationPhysics in MindPieces of LightPlaying with FirePositive PsychologyPositive PsychologyPostcards from the Brain MuseumPostpsychiatryPosttraumatic Stress DisorderPoverty and Brain Development During ChildhoodPractical Ethics for PsychologistsPractical Management of Personality DisorderPractical Management of Personality DisorderPredicative MindsPredictably IrrationalPreference, Belief, and SimilarityPrenatal Testosterone in MindPrivileged AccessProcrastinationProust Was a NeuroscientistPsychiatric SlaveryPsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsychological AgencyPsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychological Dimensions of the SelfPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychologyPsychologyPsychology and Consumer CulturePsychology and LawPsychology and the Question of AgencyPsychology for ScreenwritersPsychology of Women: A Handbook of Issues and TheoriesPsychology's GhostsPsychology's Interpretive TurnPsychology's TerritoriesPsychopathologyPsychopathyPsychosis and EmotionPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyPutnam CampPutting a Name to ItQuantum Memory PowerQuietRadical DistortionRadical Embodied Cognitive ScienceRadical ExternalismRadical GraceRapeRe-Visioning PsychiatryReal MaterialismReality CheckReconstructing Reason and RepresentationReconstructing the Cognitive WorldRecovery in Mental IllnessRecreative MindsRedirectReducing Adolescent RiskRegulating EmotionsRelational BeingRelational Mental HealthRelational Suicide AssessmentReliability in Cognitive NeuroscienceRemembering HomeRemembering Our ChildhoodResearch Advances in Genetics and GenomicsResearching Children's ExperienceResilience in ChildrenRestoring ResilienceRethinking ADHDRethinking Learning DisabilitiesRethinking Middle YearsRethinking the Western Understanding of the SelfRevolution in PsychologyRoadmap to ResilienceRomance and Sex in Adolescence and Emerging AdulthoodSchizophrenia RevealedSchizophrenia, Culture, and SubjectivityScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologyScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond NatureSecond NatureSecond That EmotionSecond-order Change in PsychotherapySecrets of the MindSee What I'm SayingSee What I'm SayingSeeing and VisualizingSeeing RedSelf and SocietySelf Comes to MindSelf Control in Society, Mind, and BrainSelf-Awareness Deficits in Psychiatric PatientsSelf-CompassionSelf-RegulationSelf-Representational Approaches to ConsciousnessSelfless InsightSelvesSerial KillersSex at DawnSex on the BrainSex, Time and PowerSexual Coercion in Primates and HumansSexual DisordersSexual FluiditySexual ReckoningsSexualized BrainsShame 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and the MonsterThe Winner's BrainThe Wisdom in FeelingThe Woman RacketThe World in My Mind, My Mind in the WorldThe Wow ClimaxThe Yipping TigerThemes, Issues and Debates in PsychologyTheoretical Issues in Psychology: An IntroductionTheory of AddictionTheory of MindThings and PlacesThink CatThink Confident, Be ConfidentThinking about AddictionThinking and SeeingThis Emotional Life: In Search of Ourselves...and HappinessThought and LanguageThought in a Hostile WorldTo Have and To Hurt:Toward an Evolutionary Biology of LanguageToward Replacement Parts for the BrainTrauma and Human ExistenceTrauma, Tragedy, TherapyTreating Attachment DisordersTreating Self-InjuryTreating Self-Injury: A Practical GuideTrue to Our FeelingsTrusting the Subject?Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality DisorderUnderstanding ConsciousnessUnderstanding ParanoiaUnderstanding PeopleUnderstanding TerrorismUndoing Perpetual StressUnlock the Genius WithinUnsettled MindsUnstrange MindsUnthinkingUs and 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the BoundariesWilling, Wanting, WaitingWittgenstein And PsychologyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWorking MindsYoga and PsychologyYou Are What You RememberYoung Minds in Social WorldsYour Brain on CubsYour Brain on FoodYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Brain on YogaYour Child in the BalanceZombies and Consciousness
The philosophy of psychology is a subfield of the philosophy of science that aims to clarify the concepts, commitments, and arguments prevalent in psychological research. It has strong affinities with the philosophy of mind, the practitioners of which increasingly see empirical results as bearing heavily on foundational questions concerning, e.g., consciousness, perception, and thought. It's not easy to put together a collection that satisfies all of the diverse interests that define this strongly interdisciplinary pursuit. The editors of The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology, John Symons and Paco Calvo, have succeeded in assembling 42 short essays that jointly convey a comprehensive snapshot of the field, covering everything from neural networks to Buddhist conceptions of eudaimonia.
The companion's likely audience includes graduate students, professional philosophers, and philosophically minded psychologists, all of whom would benefit from the breadth of coverage and the concise (15-20 page) articulations of important debates and results. The companion is not, however, suitable for most undergraduate courses. Many of the entries presuppose acquaintance with ground-level notions, and the lack of internal references between related entries presupposes a prior familiarity with the relations between various topics. Even if set alongside primary texts, the companion covers far too much ground to fit comfortably into a semester-long undergraduate course. Instructors teaching philosophy of psychology at the undergraduate level will likely assign only a handful of the essays during a typical semester, and then only to their advanced students.
The majority of the contributors are junior-level associate professors, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students. A handful are rising stars in their domains, e.g., Jonathan Cohen and Christopher Mole. Still others are established heavy hitters like William Bechtel, David Braddon-Mitchell, and Stephen Stich. The essays vary in quality. Most contain clear, informative, and argumentatively subtle expositions of their subject matters, but a scattered few struck this reviewer as being poorly written, too narrow in scope, or philosophically sterile. Many of the authors survey the recent literature on their topic, often maintaining neutrality, rather than endorsing their favorite positions. In this respect, the collection resembles the free online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, with which it shares many other commonalities.
The companion is divided into six sections. Section I introduces the reader to core historical positions, including rationalism, empiricism, behaviorism, Freudian psychoanalysis, and cognitivism. In addition to these usual suspects, one finds an interesting historical treatment of the vexed notion of qualia by Brian Keeley--an offbeat but very useful contribution that dovetails well with Tim Bayne's entry on consciousness.
Gary Hatfield's essay provides a helpful overview of the rationalist commitments of Descartes, Spinoza, Malebranche, and Leibniz, highlighting aspects the Aristotelian view against which many of these thinkers were reacting. Hatfield points out that the Aristotelian view of psychology included the study of many things that Descartes would later conceive of as nonmental. The entry then delves into some of the intricacies of Descartes's theories of vision, physiology, and the passions. Hatfield provides a nuanced rendering Descartes's position on the mind-body distinction. One place where I had doubts was in Hatfield's treatment of unnoticed (as against merely unremarkable or unremembered) judgments. He reads Descartes as countenancing these, but Descartes famously defines thought, including judgment, as an activity of which the mind cannot be wholly unaware.
Raymond Martin's entry on empiricism is decidedly less successful, focusing almost exclusively on topics surrounding personal identity and the self (including the nature and development of the self concept). Given the editors' inclusion of a separate entry dedicated to personal identity, it would have made more sense to devote this entry to discussing the core empiricist themes that, bizarrely, go almost entirely unmentioned here--e.g., resemblance-based theories of intentionality, concept empiricism, the copy principle, and the abstraction involved in forming general ideas. Most strikingly, associative principles are omitted entirely, and their influence on behaviorism and connectionism is explicitly denied: "[T]hroughout the first half of the century empiricism, particularly in its incarnation in epistemology, continued to be a potent force in philosophy, but was much less so in psychology" (38). Nothing could be further from the truth.
Section II discusses contrasting views of psychological explanation in contemporary cognitive science. Classical computationalism and connectionism are both well represented, as are the more recent embedded/embodied views of cognition, which are ignored in similar collections (e.g., the recent Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science). Neuroscientific explanation enters here as well. Of particular note is Valerie Gray Hardcastle's treatment of the important topic of pain, which is conceptualized in surprisingly divergent ways by theorists whose accounts are pitched at different levels of explanation. This is one place where cross-references between the entries would have benefitted the companion. Earlier entries blithely perpetuate the unfortunate tendency amongst philosophers to ignore the complexities and mysteries surrounding the phenomenon of pain, naively conceiving of it as involving little more than detection of bodily damage.
Section III tackles more traditional topics in philosophy of mind and metaphysics, e.g., representation, the language of thought hypothesis, and innateness. Strangely, there is no entry on concepts as definitions, prototypes, or exemplars.
The entry on modularity would have benefitted greatly from more careful proofreading, as well as some discussion of specific modularist proposals in psychology--e.g., the mechanisms of language comprehension or face-recognition. The level of abstraction at which the discussion is pitched is unlikely to be useful to those who are not already familiar with the debate.
The entry on interactivism was particularly disappointing, consisting of a list of unargued slogans, grand promises, and quick dismissals of nativist proposals. Alternative naturalization programs (Fodor's, Millikan's) are alleged to fall prey--one by one, redundantly--to a dubious argument that charges them with a principled inability to accommodate so-called "error-guided behavior." This crucial term is never explained. Bickhard does not spell out what exactly such behavior consists in and why its cognitive explanation cannot be captured by the views at which he takes aim. Readers will gain little of value from this entry.
By contrast, Richard Samuels' treatment of the topic of innateness is admirable in its clarity and balance. Having distinguished between local and global versions of nativism, Samuels considers some general arguments for the former. He points out that the commitment to the continuity of psychology with physiology cuts no ice, and that some nativists' insistence on a strongly classical computationalism is tendentious. He then considers arguments for a "local" nativism about language, again in a way that is fair and informative.
Section IV delves into biological approaches to the mind. The introduction to the companion stresses the interdisciplinary character of the field, emphasizing the contemporary philosopher's need to be informed about results in evolutionary biology and neuroscience. In this respect, the companion certainly delivers. Markman's entry on representation in relatively large-scale brain mechanisms provides a gentle introduction to neuropsychology. Bickle's discussion of (sub)cellular neuroscience is more advanced, but makes an admirable effort to draw philosophical morals, arguing for a reconceptualization of the notion of intertheoretic reduction. The other entries in this section also repay close attention.
Section V deals with topics pertaining to perceptual experience and self-awareness, including vision, introspection, attention, emotion, and dreaming. Tim Bayne's entry on consciousness wades into the terminological mess associated with the notion of qualia, but doesn't draw explicit connections to Keeley's entry on that notion--another missed opportunity to unify the companion. Bayne helpfully discusses the relations between qualia, subjectivity, phenomenality, phenomenal intentionality, intentionalism, and representationalism. I also found very useful his discussion of split-brain experiments, in which he offers a clear contrast between his own interpretation of the results and two rival views.
The entry on introspection was decidedly less helpful. Here, one would have expected a discussion of the history of introspectionist psychology and its demise, and of what role introspective report should play in psychology today. Instead, one finds a detailed discussion of thought-insertion and related disorders. Though interesting, this is unlikely to be useful to those wishing to get a survey of the controversies, historical or current, surrounding introspection.
In a remarkably clear and accessible entry, Jonathan Cohen lays out the major positions on the metaphysics and epistemology of color, though, curiously, without any discussion of the neuropsychology of color perception. Valtteri Arstila's entry on vision is, by contrast, rich in its discussion of mechanisms, though, here again, there is very little discussion of color experience as such. Still, the reader is treated to first-class accounts of Gibson's and Marr's theories of vision, nonconscious visual processing, and the binding problem (inter alia). Going beyond vision, the editors also included an entry on audition, which I found informative. An entry on haptic experience and pain would have been appropriate here as well--an unfortunate omission.
Finally, section VI deals with a grab bag of issues loosely organized around the heading of "personhood." Here, we find entries on such diverse topics as agency, moral judgment, personal identity, confabulation, and eudaimonia. While several of these entries were authored by leading figures--Mele, Stich (co-author), and Flanagan--the section lacks cohesion, overall. The entries on confabulation and action, for instance, could have easily appeared in other sections of the companion.
In sum, The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology provides a helpful survey of the issues that define one of today's hottest areas of philosophical research. As with any collection of this scope, there are bound to be some lackluster contributions and missed opportunities. Nevertheless, most of the entries are clear, engaging, and balanced, and the companion is, on the whole, a welcome research tool for graduate students and professionals seeking to enrich their understanding of foundational issues in cognitive science.
© 2013 David Pereplyotchik
David Pereplyotchik, Hamilton College