Quintessence of Dust by Harry Redner argues for a science of matter and a philosophy of mind based on emergence. Mind emerges from matter through five essential stages – “quintessence” (
Hamlet). Human mind is differentiated from animal mind primarily by reference to art (
Homo ludens). This approach draws support from Donald, Edelman and other palaeoanthropologists, psychologists and neurologists.
The emergent relation between two entities is defined as an indissoluble non-identity. The “mind as machine” thesis, artificial intelligence and cognitivism are criticised. The alternative emergentist approach comes close to Spinoza. The book attempts a synthesis of the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities based on philosophic premises.
Harry Redner was formerly Reader at Monash University in Melbourne and has held endowed Chairs and visiting Professorships at leading universities in the U.S.A., Germany, France and Israel. He is the author of fifteen books on subjects ranging across the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, above all philosophy.
Part 1: The Science of Matter
1 The Origin and Nature of Things 1 Matter, Life and Mind 2 Condensed Matter and Animal Minds
2 On the Sciences of Emergence 1 Emergence and Reduction 2 In Search of a General Theory of Emergence 3 The History of Hydrodynamics
Part 2: The Science of Mind
3 Animal Minds 1 Griffin and Edelman on Animal Minds 2 Gibson and Gregory on Perception 3 Donald and Deacon on Culture and Language 4 An Appreciation and Critique of Donald
4 On the Architectonics of Mind 1 Freud and the New Unconscious 2 Vertical and Horizontal Structures of Mind 3 On the Quartet of Cardinal Qualities
Part 3: The Philosophy of Mind
5 On the Logic of Emergence 1 Emergence and Causation 2 On Ghosts and Minds
6 Historical–Philosophical Interlude 1 From Descartes to the Present 2 From Spinoza to the Present
7 Cartesian Materialism and Its Critics 1 The MIT-Mind 2 A Critique of Mechanical Reason 3 On Minds and Machines 4 The Phenomenological Opposition
The book is open to a wide readership of academics and students from various disciplines and of lay people interested in fundamental issues concerning the mind in philosophy, the natural sciences, the social sciences and humanities.