Winner of the Edwin Goodwin Ballard Book Prize in Phenomenology, 2010.
Honourable Mention, Canadian Philosophical Association Awards.
“The book is an impressive work of synthesis, drawing together an array of themes in biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, phenomenology, and consciousness studies… This is a highly impressive work, of considerable scope, importance, and originality… Thompson presents complex ideas with commendable fluency. For philosophers of biology, as for cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind, Mind in Life is sure to become essential reading.” — John C. Waller, Isis
From Harvard University Press:
How is life related to the mind? The question has long confounded philosophers and scientists, and it is this so-called explanatory gap between biological life and consciousness that Evan Thompson explores in Mind in Life.
Thompson draws upon sources as diverse as molecular biology, evolutionary theory, artificial life, complex systems theory, neuroscience, psychology, Continental Phenomenology, and analytic philosophy to argue that mind and life are more continuous than has previously been accepted, and that current explanations do not adequately address the myriad facets of the biology and phenomenology of mind. Where there is life, Thompson argues, there is mind: life and mind share common principles of self-organization, and the self-organizing features of mind are an enriched version of the self-organizing features of life. Rather than trying to close the explanatory gap, Thompson marshals philosophical and scientific analyses to bring unprecedented insight to the nature of life and consciousness. This synthesis of phenomenology and biology helps make Mind in Life a vital and long-awaited addition to his landmark volume The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (coauthored with Eleanor Rosch and Francisco Varela).