Reviews for Absence of Mind : The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self

Choice Reviews 2010 November
In these Terry Foundation lectures on religion in the light of science and philosophy, a distinguished writer addresses the issue of mind as the creator and bearer of cultural and historical meanings that she insists are essential to the understanding of human nature. Robinson, the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction, criticizes the theories of positivists, behaviorists, neo-Darwinists, and Freudians--whom she accuses of erecting monistic systems of thought that denigrate the ability of the mind to achieve self-understanding and that result in the exclusion of felt experience from accessible empirical data. Those things that most distinguish the human species are thereby excluded from the definition of the human person. Robinson faults claims of a threshold moment that radically separates the modern from the primitive world and that casts those aspects of human thought and achievement prior to the threshold moment into a state of error or irrelevance accorded the "primitive." Her critique is balanced, well informed, and supported by careful research. Fundamentalists, whether theistic or atheistic, will probably be irritated by this volume; however, readers interested in seriously thinking about science, culture, and religion, and their interrelationships, will find this book rewarding. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers. Copyright 2010 American Library Association.