In his new book Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter Terrence Deacon writes that his goal is “demonstrate how a form of causality depending specifically on absent features and unrealized potential can be compatible with our best science.” (page 16). But in a recent interview (Books and Ideas #47) he also contends that his book "grew out of a dissatisfaction with the systems theory approach." He feels strongly that "to understand the origin of end-directed phenomena, representational phenomena, or mental phenomena, you need to take one further step; you need to figure out what’s beyond self-organization that needs to be explained to account for these things." Thus, his ambitious goal is to find a place for meaning within in science.
Incomplete Nature is a dense but compelling book, and the goal of this interview is to introduce listeners to the idea that life and meaning are compatible with a scientific world view.
Free Episode Transcript (Download PDF)
- Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter by Terrence W. Deacon (2011)
- The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain by Terrence W. Deacon (1991)
- The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience by Francisco J. Varela, Evan T. Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch (1992)
- Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System by Alicia Juarrero (2002)
- Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind by Evan Thompson (2009)
- Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life by Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan (2006)
- Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will by Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown (BSP 53 and BSP 62)
- For more links and a discussion over the reception controversy about relationship between Deacon's work and that of Alicia Juarrero please see the free episode transcript.
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- I was recently interviewed on The Secular Buddhist Podcast (#124). This is a podcast that may interest listeners who are interested in the scientific study of meditation.
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