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Table of contents for Cognitive variations

Cognitive Variations: Reflections on the Unity and Diversity of the Human Mind Geoffrey Lloyd Abstract This book presents a study of the problems posed by the unity and diversity of the human mind. More This book presents a study of the problems posed by the unity and diversity of the human mind. Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication. Print Save Cite Email Share. Show Summary Details.

Subscriber Login Email Address. Library Card. Colour Perception; 2. Spatial Cognition; 3. The Natural Kinds of Animals and Plants; 4. The Emotions; 5. Health and Well-being; 6. The Self, Agency, and Causation; 7. Nature Versus Culture Reassessed; 8. Reason; Conclusion; Notes on Editions; Bibliography.

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Inbunden Engelska, Diseases are regarded as perturbing the well-being, which is a common notion. How to reestablish well-being is approached in very different ways, from invoking supernatural powers to appropriate feeding and use of drugs, to skills in dealing with sprains, bruises, fractures and even to the resource to surgery, and now to neuroprosthesis, not contemplated by Lloyd.

The chapter closes with an observation that I consider very relevant for the proposal of this book, considering that the making of disciplines is a process that is going on. Art is the subject of Chapter 5. The author starts with a list of authors responsible for widely divergent theories about the aesthetic experience, focusing political, economic, ideological, symbolic aspects of art. Instead of discussing approaches to the concept of art, Lloyd goes into the commercial aspects of art. The elites, he considers, are the artists, who produce the objects of interest, and the connoisseurs, who create fashions and influence taste, and in many ways induce both consumers and producers of art.

Art is a highly priced commodity, bringing remarkable profit for art dealers. This chapter, more than the others, examines non-literate societies as a way to capture symbolic meaning, which is essential to art. Chapter 6 treats law. Every society has ways of dealing with individual behavior in matters affecting others.

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Some have formal legal systems, other have authorities caring for the appropriate behavior. Both cases have a system of values as support.


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This chapter focuses on the relationship between law and morality; the issue of how the law is interpreted and applied; the origin and status of law; change and innovation of laws; the separation of powers between the legal and the political authorities; and the differences of attitudes when laws deal with intra-state and inter-state affairs.

Religion is the theme of Chapter 7.

Cognitive Variations : Reflections on the Unity and Diversity of the Human Mind

The final chapter is science. He claims that science exists wherever there is a systematic search for understanding phenomena, even in the absence of a recognized method. The final chapter, "Disciplines and Interdisciplinarity," is an overview of the eight chapters, summarizing what was discussed in each discipline contemplated, particularly discussing the role of elites and the forces that stimulate or inhibit innovation.

Lloyd discusses increasingly narrower specialization, which has advantages but at the same time may hinder innovation. He gives many examples of how objects of study and methods are shared among disciplines, leading to interdisciplines. Interdisciplinarity has no established elite, which favors innovation.

It is noticeable a kind of paradox: while innovation is easier, the absence of firm epistemological boundaries and of an established elite makes more difficult its acceptance in academic circles. Lloyd concludes observing that different forms of inquiring are the result of human imagination, which sometimes have to circumvent the conservatism of elite and to overcome the hazards of creativity.

In summary G. Lloyd has produced an ambitious work about disciplines in different societies, ancient and modern, literate and non-literate, and the factors that encourages or impedes their progress. In particular, he examines the roles, both positive and negative, of elites in the process.

Although the book sometimes compares East and West, mainly ancient China and Greece, it is broader, in the sense of going into the nature of the disciplines and of pointing to the inevitability and to the difficulty of the emergence of new interdisciplinary fields. The book has a glossary of Key Chinese Terms and Names 4 pages , Notes on Editions, a Bibliography of over references, a generous Index, and many useful footnotes.

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