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30 review for Philosophy Of Mind: Brains, Consciousness And Thinking Machines

  1. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    If you like dualism, you will like this lecture series. If, like me, you think many of the arguments in support of dualism amount to pseudoscience founded upon truly bad logic, then the focus of this lecture series will annoy you, to a very large degree. There are extremely simple, and readily available, arguments that easily dispute the nonphysical nature of "mysterious" epiphenomenal aspects of subjective experience. Grim is quick to speak up when he feels an argument needs a critical eye. Unf If you like dualism, you will like this lecture series. If, like me, you think many of the arguments in support of dualism amount to pseudoscience founded upon truly bad logic, then the focus of this lecture series will annoy you, to a very large degree. There are extremely simple, and readily available, arguments that easily dispute the nonphysical nature of "mysterious" epiphenomenal aspects of subjective experience. Grim is quick to speak up when he feels an argument needs a critical eye. Unfortunately, he is not in possession of a critical eye when it is most needed. If Mary, Frank Jackson's expert in neuroscience, gains something new through her subjective experience of seeing red, that does *not* in fact mean that science fails to capture that. If she gains something new from observation, than her observation is indeed part of the science of seeing red. Observation has long been part of scientific discovery. He is far too enamored with Jackson's argument (and similar arguments) to call up his ability to think critically. The logic was so bad. If he had said, (fill in philosopher's name) posits (fill in what they posit), then it would have been balanced. Instead, he doubts science, much like a creationist, and is in love with arguments that suffer from lack of logic. As a cognitive neuroscience major, I took philosophy of mind. The course covered everything in this lecture. However, there was no attempt to indoctrinate the student. The professor was able to provide various arguments and critiques without becoming too invested in arguments that were easily destroyed by science. I truly hope this course is not representative of how courses are being taught at typical universities.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gary Beauregard Bottomley

    ‘I think, therefore I am’, it sounds so smart and dare I say erudite, but it is one of the least profitable ways to consider the human experience, and the lecturer will say the mind/body dichotomy is out of fashion today and Descartes’ cogito is a relic from the past. That doesn’t stop this lecturer from always seeming to frame the issues of the ‘philosophy of the mind’ in those terms within most of the lectures. That just strikes me as weird, but overall there are enough takeaways from this lec ‘I think, therefore I am’, it sounds so smart and dare I say erudite, but it is one of the least profitable ways to consider the human experience, and the lecturer will say the mind/body dichotomy is out of fashion today and Descartes’ cogito is a relic from the past. That doesn’t stop this lecturer from always seeming to frame the issues of the ‘philosophy of the mind’ in those terms within most of the lectures. That just strikes me as weird, but overall there are enough takeaways from this lecture to make it worth the one credit. What do all of these items have in common? Mary and the black & white room; zombies; Penrose and his quantum consciousness with its pixie dust acting on the synapses; Searle and his Chinese room; Nagel and his inane question of what does a bat think; and other familiar often told elsewhere thought experiments. Answer: 1) they are all featured too prominently within these lectures and 2) I think they should be retired since they each border on the silly. Come on now, Zombies act and behave exactly like you do but have no subjective state what’s that really mean? That Chinese room, why make it Chinese in the first place? I don’t really see consciousness as an un-crackable riddle. The functional perception paradigm is not necessarily the last way to think about the ‘Hard problem’ of consciousness as this lecture mostly focuses on. I think the author was out of his depth when it came to AI (and math and thinking machines). Not to overly criticize, but Alan Turing did not have the oversize role of breaking the Enigma code as he states; Bletchley Park had many, many moving parts which also was preceded by Polish mathematicians who broke the Enigma code first. It was interesting to hear how Hubert Dreyfus and Searle were wrong about AI and consciousness, and the syntax/semantic distinction stayed with me. If one takes the good with the bad with this lecture, the listener will get a fairly entertaining exposure to an incredibly interesting topic.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David “Skip” Everling

    Philosophy of Mind has always been of great interest to me, and from the great presentation flow here it's obvious Prof. Grim is very well versed in the subject. The course has good progression and each half-hour lecture really brings out the essence of the philosophical issue at hand. I very much liked the over-arching themes that Grim chose to include and I thought he did a great job of summarizing them in the concise way that a great teacher does. Major themes include human intelligence, arti Philosophy of Mind has always been of great interest to me, and from the great presentation flow here it's obvious Prof. Grim is very well versed in the subject. The course has good progression and each half-hour lecture really brings out the essence of the philosophical issue at hand. I very much liked the over-arching themes that Grim chose to include and I thought he did a great job of summarizing them in the concise way that a great teacher does. Major themes include human intelligence, artificial intelligence, perception and metaphysics, mind/body dualism, free will, and the "Hard Problem of Consciousness". In most cases you'll find that you've already thought about these ideas for yourself; the entertaining thought experiments in each lecture help you discover the crux of your own ideology while the theory & argument give you the language and framework to discuss it further. Took a Philosophy of Mind course at college and this TTC course offered the unique advantage in the ability to rewind the teacher or listen to many lectures at a time if I'm in the mood for more. The lecturer of the course (Patrick Grim in this case) takes advantage of the recorded audio format to be clear and specific in speech, and to give the overall listening experience a consistent pacing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pat Rolston

    Magnificent overview of a challenging subject by an accomplished professor. Anyone wanting to better understand the theoretical and practical aspects of the dynamics of our mental processes as relates to philosophy will be rewarded. There is something for everyone explained in a manner that keeps the lectures relevant. This is an academically challenging realm that ultimately seeks to understand the foundation of our consciousness and what it means to be a sentient being. Professor Grim hits the Magnificent overview of a challenging subject by an accomplished professor. Anyone wanting to better understand the theoretical and practical aspects of the dynamics of our mental processes as relates to philosophy will be rewarded. There is something for everyone explained in a manner that keeps the lectures relevant. This is an academically challenging realm that ultimately seeks to understand the foundation of our consciousness and what it means to be a sentient being. Professor Grim hits the sweet spot of illuminating very complex subjects with entertaining examples. Some will take exception to his conclusions and the philosophical traditions he embraces to support them, but that is the natural culmination of his life’s work. He presents the historical traditions and science in a manner that allows individuals to draw their own conclusions. I imagine his classes are in very high demand.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    What a great lecture series!! I’d gladly fill a full term schedule with Grim’s lessons.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    DVD version...second time through. As a college freshman I barely passed Philosophy 101, what with Aquinas's prime-mover business and all; so after a few years I decided to give it a go with Professor Grim's set of lectures. It was still a struggle, but I now have a bit more of an idea about the science of philosophy. From Wikipedia: "Philosophy (from Greek φιλοσοφία, philosophia, literally "love of wisdom") is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, kno DVD version...second time through. As a college freshman I barely passed Philosophy 101, what with Aquinas's prime-mover business and all; so after a few years I decided to give it a go with Professor Grim's set of lectures. It was still a struggle, but I now have a bit more of an idea about the science of philosophy. From Wikipedia: "Philosophy (from Greek φιλοσοφία, philosophia, literally "love of wisdom") is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras (c. 570 – c. 495 BC). Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument and systematic presentation" From this definition, Grim focuses on the mind...specifically the human mind...asking questions about the physical nature of the brain (neurology...what we 'think' makes it work in a physical sense). He then posits whether it is possible to create a machine that is like a brain (specifically computers and robotics...his answer seems to be 'no', but things may change with advancement in AI research). Finally the good doctor gets to the 'meat' (I loved his reference to the brain as a 'meat machine') of the lectures in exploring consciousness in the context of real vs mental worlds, free will and higher order thought (HOT) and much more. All this means very little to those folks looking to purchase this set of lectures. In my opinion, what you get in these lectures is more of an approach to employing the scientific method to a very difficult, and possibly unanswerable, set of questions. Grim is masterful in laying the groundwork to explain a train of thought by summarizing leaders in particular fields...from Descartes to Searle to Turing to Kurzweil...then leaping into aspects of consciousness through thought exercises dealing with, for example, the taste of beer to what it's like to be a bat. Professor Grim is well-prepared, with a smooth delivery and wry sense of humor (not to mention a spiffy 3-piece suit). If he is reading his material, he does so very well, since he seems to be making eye-contact with his physical audience. I believe that the video version of the lectures might be the better choice, since I believe some of the more negative reviews might have stemmed from not being able to see the few visuals or expressions on Grim's face...his topics are sometimes deep, and I needed all the help I could get to understand his point. My only complaint is that Artie, the random uranium atom does not decay by losing electrons.... Good course...I recommend it, using a form of the dualism theory...finding the course on sale...AND having a coupon.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Allard

    He's a bit eager to dismiss reductive materialism in my opinion, but, in general, he provides a very interesting, well-balanced, and thorough overview on the history of the philosophy of consciousness and where the field is today. He's a bit eager to dismiss reductive materialism in my opinion, but, in general, he provides a very interesting, well-balanced, and thorough overview on the history of the philosophy of consciousness and where the field is today.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Robertson

    Everyone should listen to this, literally mind boggling, fabulous!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Morris

    This is a good series, I think it gives a good overview of the domain. Grim is a good job of trying to give various perspectives without really endorsing any, but at the same time trying to get his own critical perspective. As someone trained in computer science and biology, I feel like this course was a little bit more scientific than I was expecting; you end up hearing more about what computers and neural networks are, Babbage, Turing, etc., which from you was not very interesting because I've This is a good series, I think it gives a good overview of the domain. Grim is a good job of trying to give various perspectives without really endorsing any, but at the same time trying to get his own critical perspective. As someone trained in computer science and biology, I feel like this course was a little bit more scientific than I was expecting; you end up hearing more about what computers and neural networks are, Babbage, Turing, etc., which from you was not very interesting because I've already been educated on those subjects. It also makes it a more materialist , scientific kind of course, leaving out whatever a more humanist kind of philosophy of mind would be; or perhaps that's just what philosophy of mind is, as a discipline. Because science is such a fast-moving discipline, I also wonder what has happened in the 13 years since this was originally published (2008) in the fields of neurology and neuroscience that might yield new insights on the questions and theories presented. It also seems notable, with the exception of Wittgenstein, who was half continental half British, most of the philosophers discussed here are British or American (scientists and mathematicians more diverse). So that leaves me with a question whatever continental Europe (not to mention the rest of the world) have anything to say on philosophy of mind at all. Rhetorically, Grim is organized and clear; diction is almost too perfect, giving a bit of a radio sports announcer vibe. Certainly one understands everything he is saying, and he has no annoying verbal tics , but the almost-excessive emphasis (or emphaticness) can feel oppressive after listening to him for a couple of hours.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alan Newton

    It’s a lengthy listen (audio) but s fascinating introduction to many aspects of the study of the mind and philosophical thinking. I’m not expert enough on the subject to give a complete appraisal on the merits of the subject matter and have noted reviews that question Professor Grims assessments of Dualism, for example, but he covers a great deal of ground throughout and - for me, a rank amateur in the philosophy of the mind - introduces a number of fascinating concepts, many of which I’m also r It’s a lengthy listen (audio) but s fascinating introduction to many aspects of the study of the mind and philosophical thinking. I’m not expert enough on the subject to give a complete appraisal on the merits of the subject matter and have noted reviews that question Professor Grims assessments of Dualism, for example, but he covers a great deal of ground throughout and - for me, a rank amateur in the philosophy of the mind - introduces a number of fascinating concepts, many of which I’m also reading about in an Alan Watts book, for which I’m sure to post a review some time soon! Worth a listen for anyone interested in the topic.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mohamed

    I used to listen to this course on my way tocand from work. This series of lectures is outstanding! Where do I start? The content is utterly interesting, Professor Grim's teaching is absolutely intriguing. He is not biased towards any particular world view. He leaves it up to you to decide (or not! ) This course is a must if you want to think about thinking, contemplate mind, consciousness and even life in general I used to listen to this course on my way tocand from work. This series of lectures is outstanding! Where do I start? The content is utterly interesting, Professor Grim's teaching is absolutely intriguing. He is not biased towards any particular world view. He leaves it up to you to decide (or not! ) This course is a must if you want to think about thinking, contemplate mind, consciousness and even life in general

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fate's Lady

    An exploration of the philosophical and scientific viewpoints surrounding consciousness, this didn't give me much new-to-me information, but it did bring me back to some philosophical problems that have always turned my head inside out. The lecturer was fine to listen to and it seems like a good introductory course for people unfamiliar with the subject. An exploration of the philosophical and scientific viewpoints surrounding consciousness, this didn't give me much new-to-me information, but it did bring me back to some philosophical problems that have always turned my head inside out. The lecturer was fine to listen to and it seems like a good introductory course for people unfamiliar with the subject.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Victor Negut

    The early lectures and the final lectures are excellent as they stay rooted in philosophy and though they are not more than a general overview, they do an excellent job covering the basic schools of thought

  14. 4 out of 5

    rick.

    I love the idea of studying Minds, Brains & AI simultaneously. There are some really good insights here, but man philosophy is tedious as hell. Every time is wander into philosophy it makes me want to question my existence.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amirography

    A very great course. I love his explanations. And his openness to new ideas. Though I find it a little biased towards functionalism. But generally, it was logical and fun!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Planar

    A truly great course. So much information packed in the 24 lectures. Just finished it and planning to hear it again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Artur Lascala

    Clear and thorough explanations. A good introduction on the subject.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Tran

    Very basic intro to cognitive science.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    An extremely interesting lecture series that explores the topic of human consciousness.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Patrick H.

    Very interesting

  21. 4 out of 5

    Erica Ruzic

    It’s fine, but if you’re already into philosophy, you’ve likely already read about all of the concepts presented - very very introductory.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nilesh

    The lecture series is quite interesting and informative although dated and too quick on some of the conclusions. On the positive side, the discussions are not on any set of philosophers or ideas - a common fault in most such books. There is no attempt to move chronologically as a result. The chapters smoothly move from one to the next connected topic. Each of the subjects is treated more or less holistically replete with views expressed over eons as well as proofs and renunciations - both subject The lecture series is quite interesting and informative although dated and too quick on some of the conclusions. On the positive side, the discussions are not on any set of philosophers or ideas - a common fault in most such books. There is no attempt to move chronologically as a result. The chapters smoothly move from one to the next connected topic. Each of the subjects is treated more or less holistically replete with views expressed over eons as well as proofs and renunciations - both subjective and objective. The problem is not with the giddiness of moving back and forth but because of the pre-formed conclusions that are evident from the selection of the topics discussed to unusual assertiveness in the judgment of what must be true at times. For instance, the lectures delivered in the late nineties develop some strong definitive "answers" on the efficacy or the lack thereof of the artificial intelligence based on the available information of the time. The judgments on our mind from these arguments appear not just dated but wrong simply on account of the lack of imagination shown. The Professor tries to establish the perpetual supremacy of our mind based on the lack of genuine parallel processing, slow development of technology not recognizing the exponentiality, inability to decipher language or "the framing" issues of the computers in the pre-google, pre-cloud, pre-mobile and pre-big data days. I am sure the proponents of these conclusions would choose many other arguments by now to keep claiming why machines are dumb and Turin will remain wrong forever on his prediction of machines beating the genuine Turin test (he was wrong on the initial time frame of fifty years but by just a small number of decades). Once one throws in the latest developments in the genetics and the robotics, the arguments of the series assume more relevancy while potentially causing many of the conclusions to turn scarily invalid. [a coincidence: the day I am writing the review is the day when machines have first time developed enough AI to beat perhaps the best humans on GO - one of the most difficult game to "program"] That's the crux of the lecture series: it raises many good questions even if the answers it provides are often erroneous.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Baugh

    Really impressively good. :) This is one of the two or three best lecture serious in audio format I've ever listened to. Prof. Grim speaks clearly, in an engaging manner, and has his material really thoroughly organized. He covers an enormous sweep of material - the history of ideas about awareness, self-awareness, and identity; a whole lot about various aspects of how healthy brains work, the kinds of consequences physical damage can inflict, and remarkable work on treating those consequences i Really impressively good. :) This is one of the two or three best lecture serious in audio format I've ever listened to. Prof. Grim speaks clearly, in an engaging manner, and has his material really thoroughly organized. He covers an enormous sweep of material - the history of ideas about awareness, self-awareness, and identity; a whole lot about various aspects of how healthy brains work, the kinds of consequences physical damage can inflict, and remarkable work on treating those consequences in surprising ways; the ongoing effort to work out how exactly perception happens; theories about what consciousness can mean, and where they conflict and (just as important) where they complement; and a lot more. But I never felt flooded or overloaded. I can scarcely recommend this course enough.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    This was a classic, truly meaningful course! Before I started this course, I had already completed professor Grim's other TTC course, Questions of Value, so I was really looking forward to tackling this course. He exceeded my expectations! I felt like I really needed the course, and I think that I have got most or all of what I was looking for! A true nutrition and food for my soul! I have gained a more holistic or unified understanding of the human mind and various really interesting concepts an This was a classic, truly meaningful course! Before I started this course, I had already completed professor Grim's other TTC course, Questions of Value, so I was really looking forward to tackling this course. He exceeded my expectations! I felt like I really needed the course, and I think that I have got most or all of what I was looking for! A true nutrition and food for my soul! I have gained a more holistic or unified understanding of the human mind and various really interesting concepts and thoughts in the philosophy of mind. I even learned that philosophy of mind is a discipline of its own... I never knew that!

  25. 4 out of 5

    JP

    Grimm delivers a thoughtful lecture series. What impressed me the most is his ability to make complex concepts understandable. In this series, he uses examples involving Einstein's brain and Babbage's calculation engine. He covers dualism vs. monism, robots, human perception, mind-body problems and consciousness. I gained from the series - at least I think it was me. Grimm delivers a thoughtful lecture series. What impressed me the most is his ability to make complex concepts understandable. In this series, he uses examples involving Einstein's brain and Babbage's calculation engine. He covers dualism vs. monism, robots, human perception, mind-body problems and consciousness. I gained from the series - at least I think it was me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Basil

    Another fantastic course by the Great Courses. This one covered a broad range of subjects including how our visual memory works and how we define ourselves. Loads of theories compared and contrasted and if you're interested in the distinctions between super computers, cloning, human brains and even zombies you can't go wrong. Truly mind boggling! Another fantastic course by the Great Courses. This one covered a broad range of subjects including how our visual memory works and how we define ourselves. Loads of theories compared and contrasted and if you're interested in the distinctions between super computers, cloning, human brains and even zombies you can't go wrong. Truly mind boggling!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nik

    This course was full of fascinating insight and provocative thinking. The brain and its complexity fascinates me but the mind and consciousness and the contemplation of that connection (mind-brain) inspires the deepest and most awesome reverence and amazement.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Essam Munir

    An amazing course starts with history and ends in new ideas... The best thing in the course is the method of describing the ideas, especially when Prof. Grim gives the freedom to choose your ideas, he delivers what supports and what contradict various ideas.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Avinash Pai

    Nice introduction to consciousness - philosophical as well as scientific, the human brain and a preliminary read/listen on AI and Thinking machines.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This was my first Great Course series and I thought it was very well done. I picked up a few more through an Audible sale and look forward to checking them out as well.

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