More on Mind Out of Matter

My 1998 book Mind Out of Matter developed a robust account of the mind/body relationship without doing violence to fundamental physics.

About Mind Out of Matter

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Mind Out of Matter aims to transform the way we think about consciousness and the physical world. Unlike many contemporary volumes, it develops a robust and philosophically satisfying account of the mind/body relationship without doing violence to fundamental physics. It expunges popular but ludicrous assumptions about the ‘in principle’ capabilities of cognizers and, with the help of tools from mathematics and scientific fields, supplants flawed notions of representation, function, and mental state with objective and physically grounded alternatives. It debunks quantum theories of consciousness, constructs a simple zombie recipe, and evaluates recent research on chaotic analogue networks. This book is indispensable for readers in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence, and for mathematicians applying complexity theory or information theory to biological cognition.

Advance Praise from Peers for Mind Out of Matter

These blurbs were kindly offered by colleagues to appear on the back cover of the book.

You’ve read the rest, now try the best. Mulhauser takes us on a wild safari tour of the outer limits of mind science. There are a lot of dangerous ideas out there; many a good mind has come back worse for the encounter. Mulhauser’s technical sophistication and philosophical sensitivity make him the ideal guide. No metaphysical snake-oil here; just unswerving good sense at the frontiers of cognitive science.

— Tim van Gelder, University of Melbourne

One of the first serious applications of algorithmic information theory; fun to read!

— G.J. Chaitin, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

Though I still regard myself to live in what Mulhauser calls ‘Platonic Heaven’ (he would place me — as someone who believes that my mental gymnastics go beyond the physical and the computable — in ‘Platonic Hell’), reading his book was an absolute joy. It is a remarkable blend of technical know-how, smooth prose, and stimulating examples. This book can give readers command over the relevant formal landscape, while simultaneously engaging them in good old-fashioned philosophical reflection.

— Selmer Bringsjord, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

We all know that chaos, neural nets, and consciousness must be connected. Mulhauser’s challenging book gives us the first thought-out account of what the connections could be.

— Adam Morton, University of Bristol

Reviewers’ Comments on Mind Out of Matter

Here are the first few reviews to have appeared.

A worthwhile introduction to philosophical issues relevant to AI… Nothing if not audacious.

— Megan Bredeweg and Joseph O’Rourke, Intelligence 11(1): 53-55, Spring 2000

Mulhauser’s writing is wide-ranging and polymathic, a heady mixture of quantitative formal and empirical theory…

— Philip P. Hanson, Minds and Machines 10:391-400

(This was followed by my reply and Hanson’s response in vol. 11, no. 2 of the same journal; due to a printing error, my reply and his response to my reply appear in reverse order.)

Here is a new broom come to sweep away the cobwebs, whether old or recently spun. It occasionally happens that someone in their twenties produces an astonishingly penetrating and mature examination of a difficult topic. Wolfgang Pauli achieved this in relation to relativity theory; so did Karl Jaspers in his General Psychopathology. Mulhauser has joined this select group with an account of the conceptual foundations of the present ‘neuroscientific mainstream’ picture of consciousness. The effort needed to follow some of his arguments is worthwhile as this is a definitive version, unlikely to be superseded by a better description of its field.

— Chris Nunn, Journal of Consciousness Studies 5(3): 379-380

Price and Other Disappointments

I can only apologise to readers who will click through to Amazon or somewhere else only to discover the stratospheric price. Please be aware that the book’s price is set wholly by the publisher — I have no influence at all in this respect. My advice to new authors: research prospective publishers very carefully and learn how they are apt to price your work before making your decision. That way you’ll be able to avoid the astonishment which I felt when I saw the final figure. It’s also worth finding out in advance whether the publisher intends to do any actual marketing or just be happy with sales to university libraries who have subscribed to all volumes of a given book series (in this case, ‘Studies in Cognitive Systems’.) Maybe non-existent marketing and insane pricing have something to do with why Kluwer was eventually taken over by Springer?

There are many other bizarre problems which, like the price of the book, were things over which I unfortunately had no control. These include the typos littering the back cover of this book (like ‘challinging’ and ‘simultaniously’), an intended audience paragraph copied verbatim from sentence fragments put on an early marketing form, and the apparent inability of the printers to set type squarely on a page.

This article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser on .

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