We think of the mind as a unitary process. Each person has one mind. But what if the mind was not a single mental process but a concert of three concurrent channels of activity? That’s an unusual thought. Yet the single-process model of mind has a lot to answer for.
We don’t understand our own motivation, especially its sources. Why can’t the mind control its own body? Why does the body not always do what it is told, or why does it do things on its own, like get sick, fall down, sleep, and die. We don’t know what intuition is, or where creativity comes from. We can’t explain memory, attention, or learning, or why we say things we don’t mean. Personality is a mystery. We don’t know what love is, how to get it, or why it goes wrong. We don’t even know why we do the things we do half the time.
Despite the initial impulse to say that we have only one mind, a three-in-one scheme might clarify psychological life, so we should remain “open-minded.” There have been other three-way architectures of mind. Plato had one. So did Freud. This one provides a level of detail that avoids both supernaturalism and biological reductionism, and offers useful innovations that plausibly resolve many perplexing problems of psychology.
43,300 words. Approx. pages: 173. $2.99 Revised Edition
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Sample: TOC and Preface
The point of this book is to describe a mental architecture for a modular mind. This isn’t the “faculty psychology” of some theorists, such as Jerry Fodor, or Noam Chomsky. Rather, I suggest only three main modules of mind, and they are not the ones you would think. First there is the Sensorimotor Self, the part of the mind that absorbs the sensations of the body and tries to control its behavior. The Social Self, another module, is the socially constructed and intellectually functioning part of the mind that we know through introspection. It detects the presence and activity of the Sensorimotor Self and interprets that as the activity of a physical body. Finally, there is the mysterious Motivational Core, the module that provides impetus to the other two modules, formatted in terms they can understand. The introspecting Social Self dimly detects the activity of the Motivational Core and is perplexed by it.
This tripartite organization of mind first occurred to me in the early 1970’s. It took me thirty years to understand it and work out the details, then another ten years to write it all down. I should emphasize that it is a map for organization of the mind, and life as we experience it, not the brain, which is merely a bodily organ.
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