Book Reviews

Additions to the Bibliography on Mind and Consciousness

compiled by Piero Scaruffi

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Sadock Jerrold: TOWARD A LINGUISTIC THEORY OF SPEECH ACTS (Academic Press, 1974)

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Salthe Stanley: EVOLVING HIERARCHICAL SYSTEMS (Columbia University Press, 1985)

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Salthe Stanley: DEVELOPMENT AND EVOLUTION (MIT Press, 1993)

By applying principles of complex systems to biological and social phenomena, Salthe attempts to reformulate biology on development rather than on evolution. Salthe's postmodernist strategy is to foster the deconstruction of the rationalist tradition in science and show that an alternative exists based on Aristotle's and Hegel's thinking. Salthe makes use of theoretical tools from semiotics and information science.
His approach is non-darwinian to the extent that development, and not evolution, is the fundamental process in self-organization. Evolution is merely the result of a margin of error. His theory rests on a bold fusion of hierarchy theory, information theory and semiotics. Salthe is looking for a grand theory of nature, which turns out to be essentially a theory of change, which turns out to be essentially a theory of emergence.

Savage Leonard: THE FOUNDATIONS OF STATISTICS (John Wiley, 1954)

Savage was a subjectivist, thinking that probability of an event is not merely the frequency with which that event occurs, but a measure of the degree to which someone believes it will happen. Savage devised a set of rational axioms for a person's preferences

Satinover, Jeffrey: THE QUANTUM BRAIN (John Wiley, 2001)

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Schacter, Daniel L.: SEARCHING FOR MEMORY (Basic, 1997)

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Schacter Daniel & Tulving Endel: MEMORY SYSTEMS (MIT Press, 1994)

A collection of essays. The editors provide a history of memory theories and survey the contemporary field. They also offer new criteria for defining a memory system and identify five major systems: a procedural system (nondeclarative, implicit), a perceptual system (ditto), a semantic system (declarative, implicit), the episodic system (explicit) and the working memory (also explicit).
Alan Baddeley describes working memory as the interface between memory and cognition.
A few essays deal with the role of the hippocampus.

Schacter Daniel: SEARCHING FOR MEMORY (Basic Books, 1996)

A comprehensive survey of studies on memory in Psychology.


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Schank Roger: DYNAMIC MEMORY (Cambridge Univ Press, 1982)

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Schank Roger: SCRIPTS, PLANS, GOALS, AND UNDERSTANDING (Lawrence Erlbaum, 1977)

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Schank Roger: TELL ME A STORY (Scribner, 1990)

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Schank Roger: THE COGNITIVE COMPUTER (Addison-Wesley, 1984)

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Schrodinger Erwin: WHAT IS LIFE (Cambridge Univ Press, 1944)

This is the book that popularized the idea that biological organization is created and maintained at the expense of thermodynamic order, thereby promoting the development of nonequilibrium thermodynamics.
Life displays two fundamental process: creating order from order (the progeny has the same order as the parent) and creating order from disorder (as every living system does at every metabolic step). Living systems seem to defy the second law of thermodynamics. In reality they live in a world of energy flux that does not confomr to the closed-world assumptions of thermodynamics. An organism stays alive in its highly organized state by absorbing energy from the environment and processing it to produce a lower entropy state within itself.

Schmalhausen, Ivan: FACTORS OF EVOLUTION (Blakiston, 1949)

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Schmajuk Nestor: ANIMAL LEARNING AND COGNITION (Cambridge Univ Press, 1996)

Classical conditioning explained through the mathematical models of neural networks. Experimental data on animal cognition and brain physiology are used to validate the theory.

Schneider, Eric & Sagan, Dorion: INTO THE COOL (Univ of Chicago Press, 2005)

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A collection of papers on the subject.

Scott, Alwyn: STAIRWAY TO THE MIND (Copernicus, 1995)

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Searle John: SPEECH ACTS (Cambridge Univ Press, 1969)

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Searle John: EXPRESSION AND MEANING (Cambridge Univ Press, 1979)

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Searle John: INTENTIONALITY (Cambridge University Press, 1983)

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Searle John: MIND, BRAINS AND SCIENCE (BBC Publications, 1984)

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Searle John: FOUNDATIONS OF ILLOCUTIONARY LOGIC (Cambridge Univ Press, 1985)

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Searle John: THE MYSTERY OF CONSCIOUSNESS (New York Review, 1997)

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Searle John: THE REDISCOVERY OF THE MIND (MIT Press, 1992)

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Searle John: CONSTRUCTION OF SOCIAL REALITY (Free Press, 1995)

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Searle John: MIND, LANGUAGE AND SOCIETY (Basic, 1998)

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Sebeok Thomas Albert: SIGNS (Univ of Toronto Press, 1994)

An introduction to Semiotics.

Sebeok Thomas Albert: CONTRIBUTION TO A DOCTRINE OF SIGNS (Indian Univ, 1976)

Sebeok views semiotics as a branch of communication theory that studies messages, whether emitted by objects (such as machines) or animals or humans. The first chapters provide a survey of Semiotics, its scope and its history. In agreement with Rene Thom, Sebeok thinks that human sign behavior has nothing special that can distinguish it from animal sign behavior or even from inanimated matter. Sebeok analyzes the relation between the signifier and the signified components of signs and advances a new classification of signs.


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Sellars Wilfrid: SCIENCE, PERCEPTION AND REALITY (Humanities Press, 1963)

Intentional states are physical states. Physical states have semantic properties, similar to those owned by linguistic terms: an individual thinks P if there is a state in his brain that carries the semantic content P. There is an analogy between the functional roles that the physical states of the brain play in the behavior of the individual and the inferential roles that corresponding linguistic terms play in linguistic inferences. The semantics of intentionality is related to the language's semantics.
Among nature's ultimate constituents must be the senses, which account for the quality of things. Each property of an object must be present in its constituents, and that includes the sensations that the object creates in us.


To solve a problem means to recognize that the situation represented by the problem is described by a schema and fill the gaps in the schema. Given a problem, the cognitive system searches the long-term memory for a schema that can represent it. Given the right schema, information in excess contains the solution.
A schema is a network of concepts that organize past experience. Representation of present experience is a partially complete scheme. By comparing the two representations one can infer something relative to the present situation.
Thanks to the schema's anticipatory nature, to solve a problem is equivalent to comprehend it, and comprehending ultimately means reducing the current situation to a past situation.

Semon Richard: DIE MNEME (1904)

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Shackle George: Decision, order and time (Cambridge Univ Press, 1961)

A theory of possibility, as an improvement over probabilities.

Shafer Glenn: A MATHEMATICAL THEORY OF EVIDENCE (Princeton Univ Press, 1976)

This book summarizes Dempster-Shafer's theory of evidence that refines Bayes' theory of probabilities. The theory of belief functions relies on two principles: the principle of inferring degrees of belief for one question from subjective probabilities for a related question; and Dempster's rule on how to combine degrees of belief which are based on independent evidence.
In 1968 Arthur Dempster and Glenn Shafer ("A generalization of Bayesian inference") extended Bayes' theory of probabilities by introducing a "belief function" which operates on all subsets of events (not just the single events). In the throwing of a dice, the possible events are only six, but the number of all subsets is 64 (all the combination of two sides, three sides, four sides and five sides). The sum of the probabilities of all subsets is one, but the sum of the probabilities of all the single events is generally less than one.
Therefore, Dempster-Shafer's theory allows one to assign a probability to a group of events, even if the probability of each single event is not known. Indirectly, Dempster-Shafer's theory also allows one to represent "ignorance", as the state in which the belief of an event is not known (while the belief of a set it belongs to is known). Dempster-Shafer's theory does not require a complete probabilistic model of the domain.
An advantage of evidence over probabilities if that its ability to narrow the hypothesis set with the accumulation of evidence.
Shafer, in accordance with Tversky's experiments, thinks that the way we assign probabilities to an event is a mental experiment to build an imaginary situation and the result we obtain depends on the process of construction. People do not have preferences, people build them.

Shafer Glenn & Pearl Judea: READINGS IN UNCERTAIN REASONING (Morgan Kaufmann, 1990)

Collects seminal papers by Shafer, Pearl, Leonard Savage, Amos Tversky, Richard Cox, David Touretzky, Amos Tversky probabilities are degrees of belief
A section is devoted to Decision Analysis: a historical overview by Shafer, an introduction by Warner North, an article on influence diagrams by Ross Shachter.
A section is devoted to Artificial Intelligence techniques for reasoning under uncertainty, with articles by Paul Cohen and Rodney Brooks, and, fo course, articles on MYCIN.
A section deals with belief functions (Dempster-Shafer's theory). Only one article touches on fuzzy logic.

Shannon Claude & Weaver Warren: THE MATHEMATICAL THEORY OF COMMUNICATION (Univ of Illinois Press, 1949)

Shannon freed Boltzmann's definition of entropy from its thermodynamic context and applied it to information theory.
The quality of a message as it is transformed from the source to the destination is a function of channel capacity and noise. Noise is a random process that can be described in terms of statistical probabilities.
Entropy is the statistical state of knowledge about a question: the entropy of a question is related to the probability assigned to all the possible answers to that question. Information is the difference between two entropies.

Shapiro Stuart Charles: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (John Wiley, 1992)

The new edition of the most comprehensive book on the subject. Each section provides comprehensive, detailed information on an artificial intelligence topic.


Shastri's connectionist semantic memory relates concepts of a semantic network to neurons of a neural network.

Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine: THE ROOTS OF THINKING (Temple Univ Press, 1990)

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Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine: THE PRIMACY OF MOVEMENT (John Benjamins, 1981)

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Sheldrake Rupert: A NEW SCIENCE OF LIFE (J.P. Tarcher, 1981)

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Sheldrake Rupert: THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST (Times Books, 1988)

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Shepard Roger & Cooper Lynn: MENTAL IMAGES (MIT Press, 1986)

A collection of articles on cognitive models of vision.
Shepard thinks that species survived natural selection by developing innate structures to operate in their environment.

Shermer, Michael: "Heavens on Earth" (2018)

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Shlain, Leonard: SEX, TIME, AND POWER (2003)

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Shlain, Leonard: ART AND PHYSICS (1991)

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Shettleworth, Sara: COGNITION, EVOLUTION AND BEHAVIOR (Oxford Univ Press, 1998)

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Shoham Yoav: REASONING ABOUT CHANGE (MIT Press, 1988)

Mainly a textbook on temporal logics.
Shoham's preference logic, based on conditional logic, prescribes how to select the best interpretation from a partially ordered set of interpretations according to a criterion of minimality (minimize changes that may occur). Preference logic's expressive power is higher than any other non-monotonic logic.

Simon Herbert Alexander: MODELS OF THOUGHT (Yale University Press, 1979)

Articles from the beginning of artificial intelligence, including Edward Feigenbaum's Sixties work.

Simon Herbert Alexander: THE SCIENCES OF THE ARTIFICIAL (MIT Press, 1969)

Both the computer and the mind belong to the category of physical symbol systems. These systems process symbols to achieve a goal. Simon states the principle that a physical symbol system has the necessary and sufficient means for intelligent behavior. A physical symbol system is quite simple: the complexity of its behavior is due to the complexity of the environment it has to cope with. Adaptation to the environment is the very reason and purpose of their existence.
No complex system can survive unless it is organized as a hierarchy of subsystems. The entire universe must be hierarchical, otherwise it would not exist.

Simpson Patrick: ARTIFICIAL NEURAL SYSTEMS (Pergamon, 1990)

A short, but nonetheless very technical, introduction to neural networks that covers all the main learning algorithms.

Sloman Aaron: THE COMPUTER REVOLUTION IN PHILOSOPHY (Harvester Press, 1978)

Each agent which is limited and intelligent and must act in a complex environment, in which an infinite number of resources should be needed to take decisions, must be endowed with mechanisms that cause emotions. Emotions are therefore the result of constraints by the environment on the action of the intelligent being.
The book explores the relation between emotional states and cognitive states.

Sloman, Steven & Fernbach, Philip: "The Knowledge Illusion" (2017)

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Smith Edward E.: CATEGORIES AND CONCEPTS (Harvard University Press, 1981)

In Medin Douglas' "A two-stage model of category construction" the mind builds categories based on a primary feature, from a simple and efficient criterion to divide the universe in objects that satisfy and objects that do not satisfy.

Smith, John Maynard & Szathmary Eors: THE ORIGINS OF LIFE (Oxford University Press, 1999)

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Smith, John Maynard & Szathmary Eors: THE MAJOR TRANSITIONS IN EVOLUTION (W. H. Freeman, 1995)

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Smith, John Maynard: THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

The British biologist provides an accessible introduction to modern biology, explaining the principles of Darwinism and genetics. Smith shows that the concept of "species" is rapidly becoming obsolete, as it is not clear what is a species, since no two individuals of the same species are exactly alike, and species change over time. Discusses how species are born, from geographic isolation and then what mechanisms (the origins of hybrid infertility and the origins of fertile diploids) can account for the birth of a new species. Altruism, social behavior, sexual behavior.

Smith John Maynard: EVOLUTIONARY GENETICS (Oxford University Press, 1989)

A textbook on the mechanisms of evolution. Mathematical models of population growth, genetic drift, mutation, etc. Quantitative genetics. Shows how sex accelerates evolution.

Smith, John Maynard: GAMES, SEX AND EVOLUTION (Harvester, 1988)

A collection of articles (mainly reviews of books) on several subjects.

Smith, John Maynard: EVOLUTION AND THE THEORY OF GAMES (Cambridge University Press, 1982)

An agile tutorial on theory of games for use by biologists in modelling evolution. built around the concept of Maynard Smith defines "evolutionary stable strategy" as a behavior by a given phenotype that, if adopted by all invidividuals of the populations, would avoid any mutant strategy.

Smolin, Lee: "Time Reborn" (2013)

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Snyder Frederick: EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES OF DREAMING (Random House, 1967)

Snyder was the first one (in the 1960s) to advance the notion that, from an evolutionary perspective, REM sleep came first and dreams came later. First bodies developed the brain state of REM sleep, which was retained because it had a useful function for survival (for example, because it kept the brain alert and ready to react to emergencies even during sleep), and then dreams were engrafted upon REM sleep. REM sleep was available and was used to host dreams. Dreaming evolved after a physical feature made them possible, just like language evolved after an anatomical apparatus that was born for whatever other reason. Dreaming, just like language, is an "epiphenomenon".

Solomon Robert: TRUE TO OUR FEELINGS (Oxford University Press, 2007)

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Solomon Robert: THINKING ABOUT FEELING (Oxford University Press, 2004)

This collection of essays on emotions by contemporary Anglo-saxon philosophers is truly embarrassing. It shows how little familiar these philosophers are with the science of their time.

Solso Robert & Massaro Dominic: THE SCIENCE OF THE MIND (Oxford University Press, 1995)

A collection of essays from leading psychologists, including Lakoff, Sternberg, Sperry, Kosslyn.


A number of different logics for common sense reasoning are surveyed: nonmonotonic logics, probabilistic logic, fuzzy logic, analogical reasoning, revision theory.

Sowa John: CONCEPTUAL STRUCTURES (Addison-Wesley, 1984)

Sowa surveys a number of philosophical and psychological theories (in particular, Selz's schemata) to justify his idea that the process of perception generates a structure called a "conceptual graph", describing the way percepts are assembled together. Conceptual relations describe the role that each percept plays.
Conceptual graphs, based on Peirce's existential graphs (a graph notation for logic), are a system of logic for representing natural language semantics.
Conceptual graphs are finite, connected, bipartite graphs (bipartite because they contain both concepts and conceptual relations, boxes and circles). Some concepts (concrete concepts) are associated with percepts for experiencing the world and with motor mechanisms for acting upon it. Some concepts are associated with the items of language. A concept has both a type and a referent.
A hierarchy of concept types defines the relationships between concepts at different levels of generality. The type hierarchy includes both natural types (e.g., "gold") and role types (e.g., "precious stone"), forms a lattice and represents intensions (senses).
Formation rules ("copy", "restrict", "join" and "simplify") constitute a generative grammar for conceptual structures just like production rules constitute a generative grammar for syntactic structures. All deductions on conceptual graphs involve a combination of them.
Sowa defines generalization and specialization, abstraction and definition (through lambda abstraction), aggregation (for plurals) and individuation.
Conceptual graphs can be translated to predicate calculus formulas, except those that have context-dependent features.
Schemata incorporate domain-specific knowledge. A concept type may be linked to any number of schemata, each schema representing a perspective on one way its concept type may be used. A concept type may also be linked to a prototype.
A discourse context is represented by a concept with one or more conceptual graphs nested inside the referent field. There is an isomorphism between Peirce's contexts, Kamp's contexts and Sowa's contexts, Kamp's rules for resolving discourse referents can be used in conceptual graphs as well.
Conceptual graphs can distinguish extensional models of the world from intensional propositions on the world. The interpretation function relates the graphs of the formulas to the graphs of the models.
Tarski's model theory can be adapted to graphical representations by seeing each node as an object and each arc as a relation.

Solms, Mark: THE NEUROPSYCHOLOGY OF DREAMS (Erlbaum, 1997)

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Sowa John: PRINCIPLES OF SEMANTIC NETWORKS (Morgan Kaufman, 1991)

A collection of six articles on semantic networks. William Woods discusses subsumption and taxonomy. Lenhart Schubert sees semantic networks as a notational variant of logic. Stuart Shapiro believes that semantic networks go beyond logic in that they can also deal with "subconscious" reasoning through the implicit links between nodes. Brachman presents a successor to the KL-ONE language

Sperber Dan & Wilson Deirdre: RELEVANCE, COMMUNICATION AND COGNITION (Blackwell, 1995)

The second edition of the classic 1986 text.
Relevance constraints discourse's coherence and enables its understanding.
Relevance is a relation between a proposition and a set of contextual assumptions: a proposition is relevant in a context if and only if it has at least one contextual implication in that context. The contextual implications of a proposition in a context are all the propositions that can be deduced from the union of the proposition with the context.
Relevance is achieved when the addition of a sentence to a discourse modifies the context in a manner which is not trivial, i.e. which is not only the sum of the context plus the new sentence plus all its implications. A universal goal in communication is that the hearer is out to acquire relevant information. Another universal goal is that the speaker tries to make his utterance as relevant as possible. Understanding an utterance consists then in finding an interpretation which is consistent with the principle of relevance. The principle of relevance holds that any act of ostensive communication also includes a guarantee of its own optimal relevance. This principle is proven to subsume Grice's maxims.
Relevance can arise in three ways: interaction with assumptions which yields new assumptions, contradiction of an assumption which removes it, additional evidence for an assumption which strengthens the confidence in it.
Implicatures are either contextual assumptions or contextual implications that the hearer must grasp to recognize the speaker as observing the principle of relevance. Utterance comprehension is reduced to a process of hypothesis formation and confirmation: the best hypothesis about the speaker's intentions and expectations is the one that best satisfies the principle of relevance.
The nondemonstrative inference processes involved in the derivation of implicatures consist in 1. detecting the implicated premises (through a nondeductive process of hypothesis formation and confirmation), and 2. in deducting the implicated conclusions from the implicated premises and the proposition expressed by the utterance.

Stalnaker Robert: INQUIRY (MIT Press, 1984)

A study on the process of acquiring and changing beliefs about the world.
Stalnaker believes that possible worlds are not concrete worlds, but simply ways the world might be. A proposition is a function from possible worlds to truth-values. Each world provides a truth value for a proposition.

Stapp Henry: MIND, MATTER AND QUANTUM MECHANICS (Springer-Verlag, 1993)

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Stefik Mark: AN INTRODUCTION TO KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS (Morgan Kaufmann, 1995)

Monumental, but not particularly innovative.

Stenning, Keith: SEEING REASON (Oxford Univ Press, 2002)

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Sterelny Kim: THE REPRESENTATIONAL THEORY OF MIND (Basil Blackwell, 1991)

The book defends the functionalist theory of the mind, and specifically the Fodor's "language of thought" hypothesis. Marr's theory of vision and Fodor's modular model of the mind are explained. Eliminativism and connectionism are also examined.

Sternberg Robert J.: HANDBOOK OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE (Cambridge, 1982)

A colossal reference book compiled by experts in various psychological and biological fields. Hundreds of cognitive models, experiments and studies are surveyed.

Sternberg Robert J.: WISDOM (Cambridge University Press, 1990)

A collection of psychological essays on the subject of wisdom.

Sternberg Robert J.: METAPHORS OF MIND (Cambridge Univ Press, 1990)

A survey of psychological theories of intelligence, from Galton and Binet to Spearman and Thorndike. Cognitive science is briefly mentioned, as well as the biological perspective (Luria, Sperry, Gazzaniga). A chapter is devoted to Piaget's genetic epistemology and its successors.

Stevens Anthony: ARCHETYPE (Routledge, 1982)

Stevens tries to reconcile Jung's theory of innate archetypes (that some archetypes are universal and genetic) with John Bowlby's theory of attachment (that archetypes are imprinted in the early stages of development): archetypes are transmitted from generation to generation and they reveal themselves when a releasing mechanism occurs. For example, the archetype of the mother is innate, but it takes exposure to an individual behaving like a mother to release the behavior of a mother's child.

Stevens Anthony: PRIVATE MYTHS (Harvard Univ Press, 1995)

First, Stevens tries to reconcile Jung's theory of archetypes and Gerald Edelman's neural darwinism. Then Stevens tries to reconcile Jung's division of the mind into a conscious, un unconscious and a collective unconscious with Paul MacLean's findings that the brain contains three brains: a neomammalian brain located in the cortex, a paleomammalian brain located in the midbrain and a reptilian brain located in the cortex. Innate archetypes evolved into myths to encode instructions for individual behavior. The collective unconscious expressed itself through myhts. Dreams and myths are similar in structure and origin: dreams are private myths, and they affect behavior just like myths do.

Stewart, John: "Evolution's Arrow" (Chapman Press, 2000)

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Stich's theory of commonsense reasoning is based on a purely syntactic approach. But, unlike Fodor, Stich does not require the objects upon which these syntactic operations are performed to be representations (endowed with content).
Stich assumes that cognitive states correspond to syntactic states in such a way that causal relationships between syntactic states (or between syntactic states and stimuli and actions) correspond to syntactic relationships of corresponding syntactic objects. Stich's "autonomy principle" states that differences between organisms that cannot be reduced to differences in their internal states are not relevant for a psychological theory. The only environmental factors that should be taken into account are those that cause differences in the internal states.

Stich Stephen: THE FRAGMENTATION OF REASON (MIT Press, 199#)

Further thoughts on Stich's theory of commonsense reasoning.

Stich Stephen: DECONSTRUCTING THE MIND (Oxford Univ Press, 1996)

A collection of technical essays (Fodor, Black, Millikan) supporting the view expounded in the eponymous one: folk psychology may be wrong, but that does not imply that mental states should be abandoned by science.
These are essays against eliminativism, the idea that there is a folk psychology (a theory of mind implied in our ordinary language) and that such folk psycholody is plain wrong and that it is wrong in assuming the existence of such things as beliefs and desires and other intentional states. Stich object to each of the three parts of eliminativism.
Stich points out that naive physics and many other commonsense theories work perfectly well to account for the world. Folk psychology provides a similar frame of reference, based on causal-historical chains. It is useful as description, explanation and prediction of people's behavior, as "mental simulation".

Stillings Neil: COGNITIVE SCIENCE (MIT Press, 1995)

The second edition of the comprehensive textbook on cognitive theories of the mind adds new sections on connectionist models.

Strawson Galen: MENTAL REALITY (MIT Press, 1994)

The British philosopher Strawson is a monist and materialist of sorts. This is a book on the method that philosophers of the mind should follow in studying the mind. Strawson rejects "neobehaviorism", the view that mental life is linked to behavior in such a way that behavior is essential to the explanation of mental life. Strawson argues that philosophy of mind has no need for non-mental, publicly observed and/or behavioral phenomena. He contrasts neo-behaviorism with his own "naturalized Cartesianism", which rests on two assumptions: the mind is physical; the only mental phenomena are the ones that make up our conscious experience (the experiential phenomena). Therefore, representations and intentionality are downgraded to side effects.
Since the current notions of the physical and the mental are incompatible, one set ought to be changed. Eliminativists believe that the terminology of the mental is wrong and should be abandoned, but he thinks that it's the terminology of the physical which is inadequate and outdated.

Strogatz, Steven: SYNC (Hyperion, 2003)

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Sweetser Eve: FROM ETYMOLOGY TO PRAGMATICS (Cambridge University Press, 1990)

Sweetser argues that the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is refuted by studies on color perception. The directionality of metaphor is largely from the physical to the mental.

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