Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science

It took me a while, but I finally finished Paul Thagard's "Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science" today. It's a very interesting read that summarizes the major questions facing researchers and the models that they are using to describe mental processes.

All was very informative, and surprisingly accessible to a layman, with very little of the pseudo-math, symbolic logical symbols that you often see in works of this nature. I suppose there is a certain irony to the fact that symbols can make things harder to understand, particulaly when you're talking about a field that is very concerned with symbols.

My only complaint overall is that, while Thagard seems to keep an open mind about virtually all aspects of the field, he is very dismissive of the Dualist and Idealist views of consciousness. He is quick to show the possibilities of many ideas that conflict with his own CRUM model of cognition, but he shows nothing but disdain for people who think that consciousness can't be described as an electro-chemical process, putting them down as merely "unimaginative."

That aside, I highly recommend this title for people interested in thinking about thinking. The first few chapters turn your brain upside down, if you're willing to really read closely and take in what's on the page.