Our volume is just out! Thanks to all contributors for their excellent work.
Some of the early versions of the papers in this volume were presented during workshops in Kazimierz Dolny, Poland that we have organized over a number of years, and a certain kind of dualism that seems to correspond to the two kinds of naturalism discussed above is reflected in the names of these workshops. They started out as the Kazimierz Naturalized Epistemology Workshop (KNEW) back in 2005. After some time, roughly at the point when we decided that there was enough material about normativity to think of editing a volume about it (which appeared as Beyond Description), we retained only the acronym, as we felt that epistemology was already successfully naturalized. The unofficial expansion was Kazimierz Naturalized Everything Workshop, while the official one – Kazimierz Naturalist Workshop. We wanted to stress that we are no longer so much interested in meta-philosophical reflection about the status of naturalism as in the real work done.
Because many of the participants of the workshops have decided to come regularly, we believe we can say that there is something that brings them together; this is exactly the second kind of naturalism, as described above. For the present volume, we asked some of our regulars to contribute chapters related to naturalistic approaches to the mind.
Naturalism is currently the most vibrantly developing approach to philosophy, with naturalised methodologies being applied across all the philosophical disciplines. One of the areas naturalism has been focussing upon is the mind, traditionally viewed as a topic hard to reconcile with the naturalistic worldview. A number of questions have been pursued in this context. What is the place of the mind in the world? How should we study the mind as a natural phenomenon? What is the significance of cognitive science research for philosophical debates? In this book, philosophical questions about the mind are asked in the context of recent developments in cognitive science, evolutionary theory, psychology, and the project of the naturalisation. Much of the focus is upon what we have learned by studying natural mental mechanisms as well as designing artificial ones. In the case of natural mental mechanisms, this includes consideration of such issues as the significance of deficits in these mechanisms for psychiatry. The significance of the evolutionary context for mental mechanisms as well as questions regarding rationality and wisdom is also explored. Mechanistic and functional models of the mind are used to throw new light on discussions regarding issues of explanation, reduction and the realisation of mental phenomena. Finally, naturalistic approaches are used to look anew at such traditional philosophical issues as the correspondence of mind to world and presuppositions of scientific research.