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Description - Mind, Language and Society by John R. Searle

Disillusionment with psychology is leading more and more people to formal philosophy for clues about how to think about life. But most of us who try to grapple with concepts such as reality, truth, common sense, consciousness, and society lack the rigorous training to discuss them with any confidence. John Searle brings these notions down from their abstract heights to the terra firma of real-world understanding, so that those with no knowledge of philosophy can understand how these principles play out in our everyday lives. The author stresses that there is a real world out there to deal with, and condemns the belief that the reality of our world is dependent on our perception of it.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780465045211
ISBN-10: 0465045219
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 127mm x 11mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 19-Nov-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - Mind, Language and Society by John R. Searle

Book Reviews - Mind, Language and Society by John R. Searle

US Kirkus Review » Why would any intelligent person want to read about philosophy? Searle (Philosophy/Univ. of Calif., Berkeley) presents a far too circuitous guide for those brave souls prepared to enter the philosophical labyrinth. Searle attempts a down-to-earth synthesis of his views "on mind, language, and society, . . . how they relate to each other, and how they fit into our overall conception of the universe." In the tradition of what is nowadays quite unpopularly referred to as the "logical positivists," Searle goes a step further: after analyzing reality into its parts, he wants to put it all back tgogether in a constructive mode. The main thesis, however, which is never fully articulated, involves thes rejection of Nietzsche's belief that reality is constructed through our interpretation of it while affirming his notions of the will to power. The nonspecialist will surely miss the import of this complex argument with Continental philosophy and postmodern thought. Theory and system take precedence over clear and precise explanation. So, for example, one essential technical term, "Cartesian dualism" is found in the introduction but the reader must wade through 44 pages before finding out that dualism is a notion "of radically different kinds of entities in the universe, material objects and minds" and that this particular form of dualism is named after Rene Descartes. Searle never really bothers to unpack the nature of logical arguments or show us how to ask the right philosophical questions. Bertrand Russell, in his The Problems of Philosophy, points out that "philosophy is to be studied not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves." Searle spends too much time making claims "to have knowledge of the real world" and too little time on the rest of us who are still trying to find some meaning in the often confusing, painful reality of our world. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - John R. Searle

John R. Searle was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1932. He attended the University of Wisconsin from 1949 to 1952 and studied at Oxford University, where he received his BA, MA, and Ph.D. Phil and was a Rhodes Scholar. He taught as a lecturer in philosophy at Christ Church in Oxford from 1956 to 1959 and since then has been a professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has also been a visiting professor at many universities, both in the US and abroad, including the universities of Syracuse, Rutgers, Colorado, SUNY Buffalo, Washington, Michigan, Venice, Florence, Frankfurt, Toronto, Campinas (Brazil), Oslo, Berlin, and Oxford.

Books By John R. Searle

Foundations of Illocutionary Logic by John R. Searle
Paperback, February 2009
Philosophy in a New Century by John R. Searle
Hardback, December 2008
Mind by John R. Searle
Paperback, September 2005
Rationality in Action by John R. Searle
Paperback, February 2003