Predefinição:Infobox Scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pronúncia em francês: ​[pjɛʀ tejaʀ də ʃaʀdɛ̃]; 1 May 1881, Orcines, France – 10 April 1955, New York City) was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man. Teilhard conceived the idea of the Omega Point and developed Vladimir Vernadsky's concept of Noosphere.

Teilhard's primary book, The Phenomenon of Man, set forth a sweeping account of the unfolding of the cosmos. He abandoned traditional interpretations of creation in the Book of Genesis in favor of a less strict interpretation. This displeased certain officials in the Roman Curia, who thought that it undermined the doctrine of original sin developed by Saint Augustine. Teilhard's position was opposed by his church superiors, and his work was denied publication during his lifetime by the Roman Holy Office. The 1950 encyclical Humani generis condemned several of Teilhard's opinions, while leaving other questions open.


Early yearsEditar

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born in Orcines, close to Clermont-Ferrand, in France on May 1, 1881. "De Chardin" is a vestige of a French aristocratic title and not properly his last name. He was formally known as "Pierre Teilhard", which is the name on his headstone in the Jesuit cemetery in Hyde Park, New York.[1] He was the fourth child of a large family. His father, an amateur naturalist, collected stones, insects and plants, and promoted the observation of nature in the household. Teilhard's spirituality was awakened by his mother. When he was 11, he went to the Jesuit college of Mongré, in Villefranche-sur-Saône, where he completed baccalaureates of philosophy and mathematics. Then, in 1899, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Aix-en-Provence where he began a philosophical, theological and spiritual career.

As of the summer 1901, the Waldeck-Rousseau laws, which submitted congregational associations' properties to state control, prompted some of the Jesuits to exile themselves in the United Kingdom. Young Jesuit students continued their studies in Jersey. In the meantime, Teilhard earned a licentiate in literature in Caen in 1902.

Jesuit trainingEditar

Predefinição:Jesuit From 1905 to 1908, he taught physics and chemistry in Cairo, Egypt, at the Jesuit College of the Holy Family. He wrote " is the dazzling of the East foreseen and drunk greedily... in its lights, its vegetation, its fauna and its deserts." (Letters from Egypt (1905–1908) — Éditions Aubier)

Teilhard studied theology in Hastings, in Sussex (United Kingdom), from 1908 to 1912. There he synthesized his scientific, philosophical and theological knowledge in the light of evolution. His reading of L'Évolution Créatrice (The Creative Evolution) by Henri Bergson was, he said, the "catalyst of a fire which devoured already its heart and its spirit." His views on evolution and religion particularly inspired the evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky. Teilhard was ordained a priest on August 24, 1911, aged 30.


From 1912 to 1914, Teilhard worked in the paleontology laboratory of the Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle, in Paris, studying the mammals of the middle Tertiary sector. Later he studied elsewhere in Europe. In June 1912 he formed part of the original digging team, with Arthur Smith Woodward and Charles Dawson, to perform follow-up investigations at the Piltdown site, after the discovery of the first fragments of the (fraudulent) "Piltdown Man." Professor Marcellin Boule (specialist in Neanderthal studies), who so early as 1915 astutely recognised the non-hominid origins of the Piltdown finds, gradually guided Teilhard towards human paleontology. At the museum's Institute of Human Paleontology, he became a friend of Henri Breuil and took part with him, in 1913, in excavations in the prehistoric painted caves in the northwest of Spain, at the Cave of Castillo.

Service in World War IEditar

Mobilised in December 1914, Teilhard served in World War I as a stretcher-bearer in the 8th Moroccan Rifles. For his valour, he received several citations including the Médaille Militaire and the Legion of Honour.

Throughout these years of war he developed his reflections in his diaries and in letters to his cousin, Marguerite Teillard-Chambon, who later edited them into a book: Genèse d'une pensée (Genesis of a thought). He confessed later: "...the war was a meeting ... with the Absolute." In 1916, he wrote his first essay: La Vie Cosmique (Cosmic life), where his scientific and philosophical thought was revealed just as his mystical life. He pronounced his solemn vows as a Jesuit in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, on May 26, 1918, during a leave. In August 1919, in Jersey, he would write Puissance spirituelle de la Matière (the spiritual Power of Matter). The complete essays written between 1916 and 1919 are published under the following titles:

  • Ecrits du temps de la Guerre (Written in time of the War) (TXII of complete Works) – Editions du Seuil
  • Genèse d'une pensée (letters of 1914 to 1918) – Editions Grasset

Teilhard followed at the Sorbonne three unit degrees of natural science: geology, botany and zoology. His thesis treated of the mammals of the French lower Eocene and their stratigraphy. After 1920, he lectured in geology at the Catholic Institute of Paris, then became an assistant professor after being granted a science Doctorate in 1922.

Research in ChinaEditar

In 1923 he traveled to China with Father Emile Licent, who was in charge in Tianjin for a significant laboratory collaborating with the Natural History Museum in Paris and Marcellin Boule's laboratory. Licent carried out considerable basic work in connection with missionaries who accumulated observations of a scientific nature in their spare time. He was known as 德日進 (pinyin: Dérìjìn) in China.

Teilhard wrote several essays, including La Messe sur le Monde (the Mass on the World), in the Ordos Desert. In the following year he continued lecturing at the Catholic Institute and participated in a cycle of conferences for the students of the Engineers' Schools. Two theological essays on "original sin" sent to a theologian, on his request, on a purely personal basis, were wrongly understood{{carece de fontes}}.

  • July 1920: Chute, Rédemption et Géocentrie (Fall, Redemption and Geocentry)
  • Spring 1922: Notes sur quelques représentations historiques possibles du Péché originel (Notes on few possible historical representations of original sin) (Works, Tome X)

The church hierarchy required him to give up his lecturing at the Catholic Institute and to continue his geological research in China.

Teilhard travelled again to China in April 1926. He would remain there more or less twenty years, with many voyages throughout the world. He settled until 1932 in Tientsin with Emile Licent then in Beijing. From 1926 to 1935, Teilhard made five geological research expeditions in China. They enabled him to establish a first general geological map of China.

In 1926–1927 after a missed campaign in Gansu he travelled in the Sang-Kan-Ho valley near Kalgan (Zhangjiakou) and made a tour in Eastern Mongolia. He wrote Le Milieu Divin (the divine Medium). Teilhard prepared the first pages of his main work Le Phénomène humain (The Human Phenomenon).

Joined the ongoing excavations of the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian as an advisor in 1926 and continued in the role for the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Geological Survey of China following its founding in 1928.

He resided in Manchuria with Emile Licent, then stayed in Western Shansi (Shanxi) and northern Shensi (Shaanxi) with the Chinese paleontologist C. C. Young and with Davidson Black, Chairman of the Geological Survey of China.

After a tour in Manchuria in the area of Great Khingan with Chinese geologists, Teilhard joined the team of American Expedition Center-Asia in the Gobi organised in June and July, by the American Museum of Natural History with Roy Chapman Andrews.

Henri Breuil and Teilhard discovered that the Peking Man, the nearest relative of Pithecanthropus from Java, was a "faber" (worker of stones and controller of fire). Teilhard wrote L'Esprit de la Terre (the Spirit of the Earth).

Teilhard took part as a scientist in the famous "Croisiere Jaune" or"Yellow Cruise" financed by Andre Citroen in Central Asia. Northwest of Beijing in Kalgan he joined the China group who joined the second part of the team, the Pamir group, in Aksu. He remained with his colleagues for several months in Urumqi, capital of Sinkiang. The following year the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) began.

Teilhard undertook several explorations in the south of China. He traveled in the valleys of Yangtze River and Szechuan (Sichuan) in 1934, then, the following year, in Kwang-If and Guangdong. The relationship with Marcellin Boule was disrupted; the Museum cut its financing on the grounds that Teilhard worked more for the Chinese Geological Service than for the Museum{{carece de fontes}}.

During all these years, Teilhard strongly contributed to the constitution of an international network of research in human paleontology related to the whole Eastern and south Eastern zone of the Asian continent. He would be particularly associated in this task with two friends, the English/Canadian Davidson Black and the Scot George B. Barbour. Many times he would visit France or the United States, only to leave these countries to go on further expeditions.

World travelsEditar

From 1927–1928 Teilhard stayed in France, based in Paris. He journeyed to Leuven, Belgium, to Cantal, and to Ariège, France. Between several articles in reviews, he met new people such as Paul Valéry and Bruno de Solages, who were to help him in issues with the Catholic Church.

Answering an invitation from Henry de Monfreid, Teilhard undertook a journey of two months in Obock in Harrar and in Somalia with his colleague Pierre Lamarre, geologist, before embarking in Djibouti to return to Tianjin.

"Monfreid and I, we did not have anything any more European", joked Teilhard. "Once we dropped anchor, at night, along the basaltic cliffs where the incense grew. The men were going by dugout to fish odd fishes within the corals. One day, Hissas sold us a kid goat with camel milk. The crew took this opportunity to 'dedicate' the ship. The old reheated Negro who served Monfreid in his whole adventures dyed with blood the rudder, the mast, the front part of the ship, then, later in the night, it was the song of the Qur'an in the medium of thick incense smoke."{{carece de fontes}} While in China, Teilhard developed a deep and personal friendship with Lucile Swan.[2]

From 1930–1931 Teilhard stayed in France and in the United States. During a conference in Paris, Teilhard stated: "For the observers of the Future, the greatest event will be the sudden appearance of a collective humane conscience and a human work to make."

From 1932–1933 he began to meet people to clarify issues with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, regarding Le Milieu Divin and L'Esprit de la Terre. He met Helmut von Terra, a German geologist in the International Geology Congress in Washington, DC. A few months later Davidson Black died.

Teilhard participated in the 1935 YaleCambridge expedition in northern and central India with the geologist Helmut von Terra and Patterson, who verified their assumptions on Indian Paleolithic civilisations in Kashmir and the Salt Range Valley.

He then made a short stay in Java, on the invitation of Professor Ralph van Koningsveld to the site of Java man. A second cranium, more complete, was discovered. This Dutch paleontologist had found (in 1933) a tooth in a Chinese apothecary shop in 1934 that he believed belonged to a giant tall ape that lived around half a million years ago.

In 1937 Teilhard wrote Le Phénomène spirituel (the spiritual Phenomenon) on board the boat the Empress of Japan, where he met the Raja of Sarawak. The ship conveyed him to the United States. He received the Mendel medal granted by Villanova University during the Congress of Philadelphia in recognition of his works on human paleontology. He made a speech about evolution, origins and the destiny of Man. The New York Times dated March 19, 1937 presented Teilhard as the Jesuit who held that the man descended from monkeys. Some days later, he was to be granted Doctor honoris causa of the Catholic University of Boston. When coming to the meeting, he was told that the distinction had been cancelled.{{carece de fontes}}

He then stayed in France, where he was immobilized by malaria. During his return voyage in Beijing he wrote L'Energie spirituelle de la Souffrance (Spiritual Energy of Suffering) (Complete Works, tome VII).


Teilhard died on April 10, 1955 in New York City, where he was in residence at the Jesuit church of St Ignatius of Loyola, Park Avenue. He was buried in the cemetery for the New York Province of the Jesuits at the Jesuit novitiate, St. Andrew's-on-the-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, upstate New York. In 1970 the novitiate was moved to Syracuse, New York (on the grounds of LeMoyne College) and the Culinary Institute of America bought the old property, opening their school there a few years later. However, the cemetery remains on the grounds. A few days before his death Teilhard said "If in my life I haven't been wrong, I beg God to allow me to die on Easter Sunday"{{carece de fontes}}. April 10 was Easter Sunday.

Controversy with Church officialsEditar

In 1925, Teilhard was ordered by the Jesuit Superior General Vladimir Ledochowski to leave his teaching position in France and to sign a statement withdrawing his controversial statements regarding the doctrine of original sin. Rather than leave the Jesuit order, Teilhard signed the statement and left for China.

This was the first of a series of condemnations by certain church officials that would continue until long after Teilhard's death. The climax of these condemnations was a 1962 monitum (reprimand) of the Holy Office denouncing his works. From the monitum:

"The above-mentioned works abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine... For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers.".[3]

Teilhard's writings, though, continued to circulate — not publicly, as he and the Jesuits observed their commitments to obedience, but in mimeographs that were circulated only privately, within the Jesuits, among theologians and scholars for discussion, debate and criticism{{carece de fontes}}.

As time passed, it seemed that the works of Teilhard were gradually returning to favor in the church. For example, on June 10, 1981, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli wrote on the front page of the Vatican newspaper, l'Osservatore Romano:

"What our contemporaries will undoubtedly remember, beyond the difficulties of conception and deficiencies of expression in this audacious attempt to reach a synthesis, is the testimomy of the coherent life of a man possessed by Christ in the depths of his soul. He was concerned with honoring both faith and reason, and anticipated the response to John Paul II's appeal: 'Be not afraid, open, open wide to Christ the doors of the immense domains of culture, civilization, and progress.[4]

However, shortly thereafter the Holy See clarified that recent statements by members of the church, in particular those made on the hundredth anniversary of Teilhard's birth, were not to be interpreted as a revision of previous stands taken by the church officials.[5] Thus the 1962 statement remains official church policy to this day.

Although some Catholic intellectuals defended Teilhard and his doctrine (including Henri de Lubac)[6], others condemned his teaching as a perversion of the Christian faith. These include Jacques Maritain, Étienne Gilson and Dietrich von Hildebrand.[7]


In his posthumously published book, The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard writes of the unfolding of the material cosmos, from primordial particles to the development of life, human beings and the noosphere, and finally to his vision of the Omega Point in the future, which is "pulling" all creation towards it. He was a leading proponent of orthogenesis, the idea that evolution occurs in a directional, goal driven way. To Teilhard, evolution unfolded from cell to organism to planet to solar system and whole-universe (see Gaia theory). Such theories are generally termed teleological views of evolution.

Teilhard attempts to make sense of the universe by its evolutionary process. He interprets mankind as the axis of evolution into higher consciousness, and postulates that a supreme consciousness, God, must be drawing the universe towards him.

There is no doubt that The Phenomenon of Man represents Teilhard's attempt at reconciling his religious faith with his academic interests as a paleontologist.[8] One particularly poignant observation in Teilhard's book entails the notion that evolution is becoming an increasingly optional process.[8] Teilhard points to the societal problems of isolation and marginalization as huge inhibitors of evolution, especially since evolution requires a unification of consciousness. He states that "no evolutionary future awaits anyone except in association with everyone else."[8] This statement can effectively be seen as Teilhard's demand for unity insofar as the human condition necessitates it. He also states that "evolution is an ascent toward consciousness", and therefore, signifies a continuous upsurge toward the Omega Point, which for all intents and purposes, is God.[8]

Our century is probably more religious than any other. How could it fail to be, with such problems to be solved? The only trouble is that it has not yet found a God it can adore.[8]

Teilhard's phenomenologyEditar

Cosmos - a process of convergence and divergence[9]

Teilhard's work has been described as philosophy,{{carece de fontes}} as theology,{{carece de fontes}} and as metaphysics.{{carece de fontes}} Some[quem?] even describe Teilhard's work as pure mysticism. Teilhard himself claimed his work to be phenomenology.

Teilhard studied what he called the rise of spirit, or evolution of consciousness, in the universe. He believed it to be observable and verifiable in a simple law he called the Law of Complexity/Consciousness. This law simply states that there is an inherent compulsion in matter to arrange itself in more complex groupings, exhibiting higher levels of consciousness. The more complex the matter, the more conscious it is. Teilhard proposed that this is a better way to describe the evolution of life on earth, rather than Herbert Spencer's "survival of the fittest." The universe, he argued, strives towards higher consciousness, and does so by arranging itself into more complex structures.

Teilhard identified what he termed to be different stages in the rise of consciousness. These stages are analogous to what are termed the geosphere and the biosphere. The Law of Complexity/Consciousness traces matter's path through these stages, as it 'complexifies' upon itself and rises in consciousness. Teilhard claimed that although it is not evident, consciousness (in an extremely limited degree) exists even in rocks, as the Law of Complexity/Consciousness implies. In plants, matter is complex enough to exhibit a consciousness that is the very life of the plant. In animals, matter is complex enough to an extraordinary degree to where consciousness shows itself in a wide range of reactionary movement to the whole universe.

However, Teilhard here proposed another level of consciousness, to which human beings belong, because of their cognitive ability; i.e. their ability to 'think'. Human beings, Teilhard argued, represent the layer of consciousness which has "folded back in upon itself", and has become self-conscious. Julian Huxley, Teilhard's scientific colleague, described it like this: "evolution is nothing but matter become conscious of itself." {{carece de fontes}}

So in addition to the geosphere and the biosphere, Teilhard posited another sphere, which is the realm of human beings, the realm of reflective thought: the noosphere.

In the noosphere Teilhard believed the same Law of Complexity/Consciousness to be at work, although not in a way previously seen. He argued that ever since human-beings first came into existence 200,000 years ago, the Law of Complexity/Conscious began to run on a different (higher) plane. Consciousness in the universe, he argued, now continues to rise in the complex arrangement and unification (Teilhard sometimes called it 'totalization'){{carece de fontes}} of mankind on earth. As human beings converge around the earth, he reasoned, unifying themselves in ever more complex forms of arrangement, consciousness will rise.

Finally, the keystone to his phenomenology is that because Teilhard could not explain why the universe would move in the direction of more complex arrangements and higher consciousness, he postulated that there must exist ahead of the moving universe, and pulling it along, a higher pole of supreme consciousness, which he called Omega Point.

Teilhard re-interpreted many disciplines, including theology, sociology, metaphysics, around this understanding of the universe. A main focus of his was to re-assure the converging mass of humanity not to despair, but to trust the evolution of consciousness as it rises through them.

Influence of TeilhardEditar

Teilhard and his work have a continuing presence in the arts and culture. He inspired a number of characters in literary works. References range from occasional quotations -- an auto mechanic quotes Teilhard in Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly[10] -- to serving as the philosophical underpinning of the plot, as Teilhard's work does in Julian May's 1987–94 Galactic Milieu Series[11]. Teilhard also plays a major role in Annie Dillard's 1999 For the Time Being[12]. Characters based on Teilhard appear in several novels, including Jean Telemond in Morris West's The Shoes of the Fisherman[13] and Father Lankester Merrin in William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist[14]. In Dan Simmons' 1989–97 Hyperion Cantos, Teilhard de Chardin has been canonized a saint in the far future. His work inspires the anthropologist priest character, Paul Duré. When Duré becomes Pope, he takes Teilhard I as his regnal name[15] .

Teilhard's work has also inspired artworks such as French painter Afred Manessier's "L'Offrande de la terre ou Hommage à Teilhard de Chardin[16]" and American sculptor Frederick Hart's acrylic sculpture The Divine Milieu: Homage to Teilhard de Chardin[17]. A sculpture of the Omega Point by Henry Setter, with a quote from Teilhard de Chardin, can be found at the entrance to the Roesch Library at the University of Dayton[18]. Edmund Rubbra's 1968 Symphony No. 8 is titled Hommage a Teilhard de Chardin.

Teilhard's influence is commemorated on numerous collegiate campuses. A building at the University of Manchester is named after him, as are residence dormitories at Gonzaga University and Seattle University. His stature as a biologist was honored by George Gaylord Simpson in naming the most primitive and ancient genus of true primate, the Eocene genus Teilhardina.

The title of the short-story collection Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor is a reference to Teilhard's work.


The dates in parentheses are the dates of first publication in French and English. Most of these works were written years earlier, but Teilhard's ecclesiastical order forbade him to publish them because of their controversial nature. The essay collections are organized by subject rather than date, thus each one typically spans many years.

  • Le Phénomène Humain (1955), written 1938–40, scientific exposition of Teilhard's theory of evolution
  • Letters From a Traveler (1956; English translation 1962), written 1923–55
  • Le Groupe Zoologique Humain (1956), written 1949, more detailed presentation of Teilhard's theories
    • Man's Place in Nature (1973)
  • Le Milieu Divin (1957), spiritual book written 1926–27
  • L'Avenir de l'Homme (1959) essays written 1920–52, on the evolution of consciousness (noosphere)
  • Hymn of the Universe (1961; English translation 1965) Harper and Row: ISBN 0-06-131910-4, mystical/spiritual essays and thoughts written 1916–55
  • L'Energie Humaine (1962), essays written 1931–39, on morality and love
  • L'Activation de l'Energie (1963), sequel to Human Energy, essays written 1939–55 but not planned for publication, about the universality and irreversibility of human action
  • Je M'Explique (1966) Jean-Pierre Demoulin, editor ISBN 0-685-36593-X, "The Essential Teilhard" — selected passages from his works
  • Christianity and Evolution, Harvest/HBJ 2002: ISBN 0-15-602818-2
  • The Heart of the Matter, Harvest/HBJ 2002: ISBN 0-15-602758-5
  • Toward the Future, Harvest/HBJ 2002: ISBN 0-15-602819-0
  • The Making of a Mind: Letters from a Soldier-Priest 1914-1919, Collins (1965), Letters written during wartime.
  • Writings in Time of War, Collins (1968) composed of spiritual essays written during wartime. One of the few books of Teilhard to receive an imprimatur.
  • Vision of the Past, Collins (1966) composed of mostly scientific essays published in the French science journal Etudes.
  • The Appearance of Man, Collins (1965) composed of mostly scientific writings published in the French science journal Etudes.
  • Letters to Two Friends 1926-1952, Fontana (1968) composed of personal letters on varied subjects including his understanding of death.
  • Letters to Leontine Zanta, Collins (1969)
  • Correspondence / Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Maurice Blondel, Herder and Herder (1967) This correspondence also has both the imprimatur and nihil obstat.
  • de Chardin, P T (1952), «On the zoological position and the evolutionary significance of Australopithecines» (publicado em 1952 Mar), Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, 14 (5), pp. 208–10, PMID 14931535  Verifique data em: |data-publicacao= (ajuda)
  • de Terra; de Chardin; Paterson (1936), «Joint geological and prehistoric studies of the Late Cenozoic in India» (publicado em 1936 Mar 6), Science, 83 (2149): 233–236, PMID 17809311, doi:10.1126/science.83.2149.233-a  Verifique data em: |data-publicacao= (ajuda)

See alsoEditar


  1. Teilhard's headstone at Find A Grave accessed September 20, 2006
  2. Aczel, Amir (4 November 2008). The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man. [S.l.]: Riverhead Trade. 320 páginas. ISBN 978-1-95448-956-3 Verifique |isbn= (ajuda)  Verifique data em: |data= (ajuda)
  3. Warning Considering the Writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin, Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, June 30, 1962.
  4. Cardinal Agostino Casaroli praises the work of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin to Cardinal Paul Poupard, then Rector of the Institut Catholique de Paris - L'Osservatore Romano, June 10, 1981 @
  5. Communiqué of the Press Office of the Holy See, English edition of L'Osservatore Romano, July 20, 1981.
  6. De Lubac, Henri, Teilhard de Chardin: The Man and his Meaning, Hawthorn Books, 1965
  7. Lane, David (1996). The Phenomenon of Teilhard: Prophet for a New Age. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0865544987 
  8. a b c d e Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (New York: Harper and Row, 1959), 250-75.
  9. Kraft, R. Wayne (1983). A Reason to Hope: A Synthesis of Tieilhard de Chardin's Vision and Systems Thinking. Seaside, CA: Intersystems Publications. ISBN 091410514 Verifique |isbn= (ajuda) 
  10. Dick, Philip K. (1991). A Scanner Darkly. [S.l.]: Vintage. 127 páginas. ISBN 978-0679736653 
  11. May, Julian (April 11, 1994). Jack the Bodiless. [S.l.]: Random House Value Publishing. 287 páginas. ISBN 978-0517116449  Verifique data em: |data= (ajuda)
  12. Dillard, Annie (2 de agosto de 2000). For the Time Being. [S.l.]: Vintage. ISBN 978-0375703478 
  13. Moss, R.F. (Spring, 1978). «Suffering, sinful Catholics». The Antioch Review. 36 (2): 170-181. Consultado em 19 de abril de 2009  Verifique data em: |data= (ajuda)
  14. «Bill Blatty on "The Exorcist"». Consultado em 19 de abril de 2009 
  15. Simmons, Dan (2 de janeiro de 1990). The Fall of Hyperion. [S.l.]: Doubleday. 464 páginas. ISBN 978-0385267472 
  16. «Liste des œuvres de Manessier dans les musées de France - Wikipédia». Consultado em 19 de abril de 2009 
  17. «The Divine Milieu by Frederick Hart». Consultado em 19 de abril de 2009 
  18. «UDQuickly Past Scribblings». Consultado em 19 de abril de 2009 
  • Mary and Ellen Lukas, Teilhard (Doubleday, 1977)
  • Robert Speaight, The Life of Teilhard de Chardin (Harper and Row, 1967)
  • Dietrich von Hildebrand, Teilhard de Chardin: A False Prophet (Franciscan Herald Press 1970).
  • Dietrich von Hildebrand, Trojan Horse in the City of God
  • Dietrich von Hildebrand, Devastated Vineyard
  • David H. Lane, The Phenomenon of Teilhard: Prophet for a New Age (Mercer University Press)
  • Henri de Lubac, SJ, The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin (Image Books 1968)
  • Henri de Lubac, SJ, The Faith of Teilhard de Chardin (Burnes and Oates 1965)
  • Henri de Lubac, SJ, The Eternal Feminine: A Study of the Text of Teilhard de Chardin (Collins 1971)
  • Henri de Lubac, SJ, Teilhard Explained (Paulist Press 1968)
  • Christopher Mooney, SJ, Teilhard de Chardin and the Mystery of Christ (Image Books, 1968)
  • Robert Faricy, SJ, Teilhard de Chardin's Theology of Christian in the World (Sheed and Ward 1968)
  • George A. Maloney, SJ, The Cosmic Christ: From Paul to Teilhard (Sheed and Ward 1968)
  • Robert Faricy, SJ, Teilhard de Chardin's Theology of Christian in the World (Sheed and Ward 1968)
  • Robert Faricy, SJ, The Spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin (Collins 1981, Harper & Row 1981)
  • Robert Faricy, SJ and Lucy Rooney SND, Praying with Teilhard de Chardin(Queenship 1996)
  • Ursula King, The Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin (Orbis Books, 1996)
  • Robert J. O'Connell, SJ, Teilhard's Vision of the Past: The Making of a Method, (Fordham University Press, 1982)
  • Amir Aczel, The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution and the Search for Peking Man (Riverhead Hardcover, 2007)
  • Claude Cuenot, Science and Faith in Teilhard de Chardin (Garstone Press, 1967)
  • Andre Dupleix, 15 Days of Prayer with Teilhard de Chardin (New City Press, 2008)

External linksEditar

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Frank J TiplerEditar

Predefinição:Infobox Person

Frank Jennings Tipler III (born February 1, 1947 in Andalusia, Alabama[1]) is a mathematical physicist and cosmologist, holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Physics at Tulane University.[2]


Tipler is the son of Frank Jennings Tipler Jr., a lawyer, and Anne Tipler, a homemaker.[1] He received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1969 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (attending from 1965-1969).[2] In 1976, Tipler obtained his PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park in the field of global general relativity for his proof that if a time machine could be created its use would necessarily result in the formation of singularities, using the techniques of Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose.[3] Tipler went on to be hired as a postdoctoral researcher by physicists John A. Wheeler, Abraham Taub, Rainer Sachs and Dennis Sciama.[2] He eventually became a professor of mathematical physics in 1981 at Tulane University, where he has taught since.[2]

Academic workEditar

The Omega PointEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Omega Point (Tipler)

In his controversial 1994 book The Physics of Immortality,[4][5][6] Tipler claims to provide a mechanism for immortality and the resurrection of the dead consistent with the known laws of physics, provided by a computer intelligence he terms the Omega Point and which he identifies with God. The line of argument is that the evolution of intelligent species will enable scientific progress to grow exponentially, eventually enabling control over the universe even on the largest possible scale. Tipler predicts that this process will culminate with an all-powerful intelligence whose computing speed and information storage will grow exponentially at a rate exceeding the collapse of the universe, thus providing infinite "experiential time" which will be used to run computer simulations of all intelligent life that has ever lived in the history of our universe. This virtual reality emulation is what Tipler means by "the resurrection of the dead." In more recent works, Tipler says that the existence of the Omega Point is required to avoid the violation of the known laws of physics.

According to George Ellis's review of Tipler's book in the journal Nature, Tipler's book on the Omega Point is "a masterpiece of pseudoscience ... the product of a fertile and creative imagination unhampered by the normal constraints of scientific and philosophical discipline",[5] and Michael Shermer devoted a chapter of Why People Believe Weird Things to enumerating flaws in Tipler's thesis.[7] On the other hand, David Deutsch (who pioneered the field of quantum computers), confirms that Tipler's basic concept of the physics of an Omega Point is correct.{{carece de fontes}} However, while in his 1997 book The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch incorporates the concept of Tipler's Omega Point as a central feature of the fourth strand of his "four strands" Theory of Everything,[8] he doesn't therein support Tipler's identification of the Omega Point with God. However, Deutsch does agree that the society near the Omega Point would have unlimited computational resources available to them (i.e., finite at any given time, with additional resources continuously coming online) and would hence be able to perfectly emulate any environment, including the ability to resurrect life.

His 1986 book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (with John D. Barrow) reviews the intellectual history of teleology, the large number of physical coincidences which allow sapient life to exist (see anthropic principle), and then investigates the ultimate fate of the universe. This was the first book to describe the Omega Point Theory.

Tipler's 2007 book The Physics of Christianity analyzes the Omega Point Theory's pertinence to Christian theology.[9] In the book, Tipler identifies the Omega Point as being the Judeo-Christian God, particularly as described by Christian theological tradition. In this book Tipler also analyzes how Jesus Christ could have performed the miracles attributed to him in the New Testament without violating any known laws of physics, even if one were to assume that we currently don't exist on a level of implementation in a computer simulation (in the case that we did, then according to Tipler such miracles would be trivially easy to perform for the society which was running the simulation, even though it would seem amazing from our perspective).

Tipler's writings on scientific peer review have been cited by William A. Dembski as forming the basis of the process for review in the intelligent design journal Progress in Complexity, Information and Design of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design, where both Tipler and Dembski serve as fellows.

For more information, see Omega Point (Tipler).

In his 2005 paper in the journal Reports on Progress in Physics,[10] Tipler maintains that the correct quantum gravity theory has existed since 1962, first discovered by Richard Feynman in that year,[11] and independently discovered by Steven Weinberg and Bryce DeWitt, among others. But, according to Tipler, because these physicists were looking for equations with a finite number of terms (i.e., derivatives no higher than second order), they abandoned this qualitatively unique quantum gravity theory since in order for it to be consistent it requires an arbitrarily higher number of terms.[12] Tipler writes "They also did not realize that the correct quantum gravity theory is consistent only if a certain set of boundary conditions are imposed ...", which includes the initial Big Bang, and the final Omega Point, cosmological singularities.[10] Tipler says that the equations for this theory of quantum gravity are term-by-term finite, but the same mechanism that forces each term in the series to be finite also forces the entire series to be infinite (i.e., infinities that would otherwise occur in spacetime, consequently destabilizing it, are transferred to the cosmological singularities, thereby preventing the universe from immediately collapsing into nonexistence). Tipler writes that "It is a fundamental mathematical fact that this [infinite series] is the best that we can do. ... This is somewhat analogous to Liouville's theorem in complex analysis, which says that all analytic functions other than constants have singularities either a finite distance from the origin of coordinates or at infinity."[13]

In the same aforestated journal article, Tipler combines the above theory of quantum gravity with an extended Standard Model in order to form what he maintains is the correct Theory of Everything (TOE) describing and unifying all the forces in physics.[10]

Out of 50 articles, Tipler's said paper was selected as "[one of] the very best articles published in Reports on Progress in Physics in 2005. Articles were selected [...] for their outstanding reviews of the field. They all received the highest praise from our international referees and a high number of downloads from the journal Website."[14]




See alsoEditar


  1. a b Terrie M. Rooney (editor) (1997). Contemporary Authors. 157. Farmington Hills (MI): Thomson Gale. p. 407. ISBN 0787611832 
  2. a b c d Frank J. Tipler (2007). «Biography». Frank J. Tipler's Tulane University website 
  3. Frank J. Tipler (1976), Causality Violation in General Relativity (PhD thesis), University of Maryland, Bibcode:1976PhDT........61T 
       Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, 37 (06), p. B2923 
  4. John Polkinghorne (1995). «I am the Alpha and the Omega Point». New Scientist (1963): 41 
  5. a b George Ellis (1994). «Review of The Physics of Immortality» (PDF). Nature. 371. 115 páginas. doi:10.1038/371115a0 
  6. Richard G. Baker (1995). «Fossils Worth Studying» (PDF). Science. 267: 1043–1044. PMID 17811443. doi:10.1126/science.267.5200.1043 
  7. Michael Shermer (1997). Why People Believe Weird Things. [S.l.]: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-3090-1 
  8. David Deutsch (1997). «The Ends of the Universe». The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes—and Its Implications. London: Penguin Press. ISBN 0713990619 
  9. Frank J. Tipler (2007). «Christianity as Physics». The Physics of Christianity. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385514247 
  10. a b c Frank J. Tipler (2005). «The structure of the world from pure numbers» (PDF). Reports on Progress in Physics. 68 (4): 897–964. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/68/4/R04 
  11. Richard P. Feynman, Fernando B. Morinigo, William G. Wagner, David Pines (1995). The Feynman Lectures on Gravitation 1st ed. [S.l.]: Westview Press. ISBN 0201627345 
  12. Frank J. Tipler (2007). The Physics of Christianity. New York: Doubleday. pp. 34–35. ISBN 0385514247 
  13. Frank J. Tipler (2007). The Physics of Christianity. New York: Doubleday. pp. 49, 279. ISBN 0385514247 
  14. Richard Palmer (2006). «Highlights of 2005». Reports on Progress in Physics 

External linksEditar


Omega PointEditar

Omega Point is a term invented by the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe a maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which the universe appears to be evolving. Teilhard's term recurs in both intellectual works and popular culture, especially the cosmological theory proposed by the mathematical physicist Frank Tipler.

Teilhard de ChardinEditar

In this theory, the universe is constantly developing towards higher levels of material complexity and consciousness, a theory of evolution that Teilhard called the Law of Complexity/Consciousness. For Teilhard, the universe can only move in the direction of more complexity and consciousness if it is being drawn by a supreme point of complexity and consciousness. Thus Teilhard postulates the Omega Point as the supreme point of complexity and consciousness, which is not only as the term of the evolutionary process, but is also the actual cause for the universe to grow in complexity and consciousness. In other words, the Omega Point exists as supremely complex and conscious, independent of the evolving universe. I.e., the Omega Point is transcendent. In interpreting the universe this way, Teilhard kept the Omega Point within the orthodox views of the Christian God, who is transcendent (independent) of his creation.

Teilhard argued that the Omega Point resembles the Christian Logos, namely Christ, who draws all things into himself, who in the words of the Nicene Creed, is "God from God", "Light from Light", "True God from true God," and "through him all things were made."

Five Attributes of the Omega PointEditar

Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man states that the Omega Point must possess the following five attributes. It is:

  • Already existing.
    Only thus can the rise of the universe towards higher stages of consciousness be explained.
  • Personal – an intellectual being and not an abstract idea.
    The complexification of matter has not only led to higher forms of consciousness, but accordingly to more personalization, of which human beings are the highest attained form in the universe. They are completely individualized, free centers of operation. It is in this way that man is said to be made in the image of God, who is the highest form of personality. Teilhard expressly stated that in the Omega Point, when the universe becomes One, human persons will not be suppressed, but super-personalized. Personality will be infinitely enriched. This is because the Omega Point unites creation, and the more it unites, the more the universe complexifies and rises in consciousness. Thus, as God creates the universe evolves towards higher forms of complexity, consciousness, and finally with humans, personality, because God, who is drawing the universe towards Him, is a person.
  • Transcendent.
    The Omega Point cannot be the result of the universe's final complexification of itself on consciousness. Instead, the Omega Point must exist even before the universe's evolution, because the Omega Point is responsible for the rise of the universe towards more complexity, consciousness and personality. Which essentially means that the Omega Point is outside the framework in which the universe rises, because it is by the attraction of the Omega Point that the universe evolves towards Him.
  • Irreversible, that is, attainable.

Garcia and increasing creativityEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Total creativity

In 1971, John David Garcia expanded on Teilhard's Omega Point idea. In particular, he stressed that even more than the increase of intelligence, the constant increase of ethics is essential for humankind to reach the Omega Point. He applied the term creativity to the combination of intelligence and ethics and announced that increasing creativity is the correct and proper goal of human life. He specifically rejected increasing happiness as a proper ultimate goal: when faced with a choice between increasing creativity and increasing happiness, a person ought to choose creativity, he wrote.

Tipler's cosmological Omega PointEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Omega Point (Tipler)

The Omega Point is Frank Tipler's term for what he maintains is the ultimate fate of the universe required by the laws of physics. Tipler has summarized his theory as follows:

  • The universe has finite spatial size and the topology of a three-sphere;
  • There are no event horizons, implying the future c-boundary is a point, called the Omega Point;
  • Sentient life must eventually engulf the entire universe and control it;
  • The amount of information processed between now and the Omega Point is infinite;
  • The amount of information stored in the universe asymptotically goes to infinity as the Omega Point is approached.[1]

According to Tipler's Omega Point Theory, as the universe comes to an end in a specific kind of Big Crunch, the computational capacity of the universe will be accelerating exponentially faster than time runs out. In principle, a simulation run on this universal computer can thus continue forever in its own terms, even though the universal computer is embedded in a universe that will last only a finite time. The Omega Point Theory requires that the universe eventually contract, and that there be intelligent civilizations in existence at the appropriate time to exploit the computational capacity of such an environment.

Tipler identifies the final singularity of this asymptotically infinite information capacity with God. According to Tipler and David Deutsch, an implication of this theory is that this ultimate cosmic computer will be able to resurrect (via emulation) everyone who has ever lived, by simulating all possible quantum brain states within the master simulation. This will manifest itself as a simulated reality. From the perspective of its simulated inhabitants, the Omega Point is an infinite-duration afterlife, which could take any imaginable form due to its virtual nature.

Tipler's Omega Point Theory is predicated on an eventual Big Crunch, a scenario believed unlikely by some because of certain recent astronomical observations implying that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.[2] Tipler has recently amended his theory to accommodate an accelerating universe due to a positive cosmological constant. He proposes baryon annihilation (via the inverse of electroweak baryogenesis using electroweak quantum tunneling) as a means of propelling interstellar spacecraft. Tipler maintains that if all baryons in the universe were to be annihilated by this process, then this would force the Higgs field toward its absolute vacuum state, cancelling the positive cosmological constant, stopping the acceleration, and forcing the universe to collapse into the Omega Point.[3]

Tipler argues that his Omega Point theory is fully consistent with what God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14, whose Hebrew original Tipler translates into English as: "I shall be what I shall be." Tipler (2007) argues that his theory is consistent with orthodox Christianity.

Technological singularityEditar

Some transhumanists argue that the accelerating technological progress inherent in the Law of Accelerating Returns will, in the relatively near future, lead to what Vernor Vinge called a technological singularity or "prediction wall." This singularity is a state in which humans will be semi-aware components of a computerised social structure of such complexity that no one person or group of persons will be able to understand more than a tiny fraction of the whole. These transhumanists believe we will soon enter a time in which we must eventually make the transition to a "runaway positive feedback loop"{{carece de fontes}} in high-level autonomous machine computation. A result will be that our technological and computational tools eventually completely surpass human capacities.[2] Some transhumanist writings refer to this moment as the Omega Point, paying homage to Teilhard's prior use of the term. Other transhumanists, in particular Ray Kurzweil, refer to the technological singularity as simply "The Singularity."

Omega point in popular cultureEditar

Science fictionEditar

  • In the Isaac Asimov short-story "The Last Question", Humanity merges its collective consciousness with its own creation: an all-powerful cosmic computer. The resulting intelligence contemplates the cyclic nature of the universe, ending with a twist.
  • In Childhood's End, a novel by Arthur C. Clarke, the destiny of humanity - as well as most of the other intelligent species in the universe - seems to merge with an overall cosmic intelligence.
  • In Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos, the Omega Point was used extensively. The catholic priest character Father Hoyt/Duré who is introduced to the story frame as one of the pilgrims in the first two volumes of the tetralogy (Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion) eventually becomes Pope Teilhard I.
  • In Darwinia, a novel by Robert Charles Wilson, after a mysterious event in the first decade of the twentieth century transforms Europe into an immeasurably strange place, full of hitherto unknown flora and fauna, it is revealed at the very end that the entire story is a tiny part of a virtual war inside what is effectively an Omega Point metacomputer at the end of time.
  • In the first part of Poul Anderson's novel Harvest of Stars, North America is ruled by the Avantists, an oppressive pseudo-religious regime that draws its justification from a commitment to take humanity to what they call the Omega Point. It uses the Greek infinity symbol as a logo, and it is deemed politically correct to greet each other with "alpha," to which the reply is "omega." However, since the Avantist Advisory Synod believes in social engineering and technical progress as the means to advance humanity, its teachings are in fact transhumanist.
  • In Tomorrow and Tomorrow, a novel by Charles Sheffield, the main character Drake Merlin is on a quest to cure his dying wife. He has her frozen and then freezes himself to hope the future holds the cure. Eventually, he finds that the only hope to having her back is to wait out the aeons until the Omega Point, at which time she will again be accessible.
  • George Zebrowski wrote a trilogy of space opera novellas, collectively called The Omega Point Trilogy and published as a single volume in 1983. The name appears to be a coincidence; it predates Tipler by many years and does not involve any of the Omega Point ideas listed above.


  • In a science fiction novel of Humayun Ahmed named Omega Point, Omega point does a research on Ref by making him living in two different times simultaneously. He, in one time period, is working with the theory of time, which is about to fail. To make him successful Omega Point sends him back in time to get married so that his descendant would be able to continue his research.
  • Stephen Baxter writes about the Omega Point in many books including manifold: Time.
  • The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect, a novella by Roger Williams, a computer scientist invents a computer that is self-aware and can rewrite its own code. After some time and exposure to certain knowlegde, the computer gains the ability to modify reality and thus expand its own capabilities, leading up to a technological singularity.
  • Julian May's Galactic Milieu Series draws heavily for both plot and background on the concepts of Teilhard de Chardin's Omega point theories.

Other novelsEditar


  • In the fictional Chronicles Of Fate game universe[3], the primary god of goodness, Josh, derives his 'divine' power from a set-up that one would describe as an Omega Point - his mind is distributed into the fabric of spacetime itself within the galaxies his empire controls, and he can alter matter, energy, and the laws of physics in any way he wishes there. He's able to expand his sphere of divinity when his armies place giant, arcanely technological monoliths called Worldstandards on new planets, which act as signal amplifiers to extend his pattern further into space and time.
  • In the shooter game Final Fantasy VII Dirge of Cerberus, the main villain actually becomes the Omega Point by sacrificing millions of people, and is called Omega.


  • The band Mr. Bungle references the Omega Point in their song "None of Them Knew They Were Robots" on the album "California."
  • Apollo 440 wrote a song called "Omega Point" for their debut album Millennium Fever, in which Dr. Karl Leiker of 'Church of Exude the Phenomenon' recites a quote from Barrow and Tipler's The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, pg. 676: "At the instant the Omega Point is reached, life will have gained control of all matter and forces not only in a single universe, but in all universes whose existence is logically possible; life will have spread into all spatial regions in all universes which could logically exist, and will have stored an infinite amount of information, including all bits of knowledge which it is logically possible to know."
  • Terence McKenna's monologue on The Shamen's Re:Evolution refers to the Omega point as an inevitability: "Human history represents such a radical break with the natural systems of biological organisation that preceded it that it must be the response to a kind of attractor or dwell point that lies ahead in the temporal dimension."
  • The Omega Point is referenced in the song Love On Haight Street on BT's third album Movement in Still Life.
  • Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals, which contains motifs of Posthumanism and transhumanism, also contains references to Omega Point, as can be deduced from lyrics and imagery of the Omega symbol. Furthermore, the main character of the concept album is named "Omega".
  • The Omega Point is the main influence for the name of a band from Argentina called Punto Omega.
  • "Omega Point" is a song by Cephalic Carnage on their album Xenosapien.

Movies and comic stripsEditar

  • There is a Dilbert comic strip in which Dogbert postulates that since everything develops from simpler forms to more complex forms, a supreme being must be our future, not our origin. His idea is that God must be the entity that will be formed when enough people are connected by the Internet.
  • In the Neon Genesis Evangelion movie End of Evangelion, which ends the story, the Human Instrumentality Project, which aims to merge all human souls (in the form of LCL) into a single mind, as a final step on evolution, is largely influenced by this theory.
  • In Eureka Seven, a similar theory called the Limit of Life exists. In the Limit of Life, the Scub Coral, an omnipotent being, must not awaken while it shares space with humans or it will collapse the Earth and the space around it in a singularity of consciousness.
  • The BotCon 2000 comic, "Reaching the Omega Point", references "Omega Point" as place where points in time, and planes of reality mesh.
  • John Boorman's 1977 film "Exorcist II: The Heretic" takes the original "Exorcist" story in an Omega Point/Chardinian direction. According to Boorman's sequel (written by William Goodheart), the specific reason for the possession of the child in the original novel by William Peter Blatty (and William Friedkin's film adaptation) was Lucifer's attempt to foil or interrupt this evolution toward a kind of cosmic goodness and perfection. Apparently, an unspecified number of special humans with unique empathetic sensitivities were seen as evolutionary stepping stones toward some future of wholely good, pure consciousness; thus, the Devil's attempt to destroy them.

See alsoEditar


  1. Tipler (1994), p.
  2. Although see Lawrence M. Krauss and Michael S. Turner, "Geometry and Destiny," General Relativity and Gravitation 31(10) (October 1999): 1453-59. Also at arXiv:astro-ph/9904020, April 1, 1999.
  3. Tipler, F. J., 2005, "The structure of the world from pure numbers," Reports on Progress in Physics 68(4): 897-964. Also here. Also released as "Feynman-Weinberg Quantum Gravity and the Extended Standard Model as a Theory of Everything," April 24, 2007.


  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1950. The Future of Man.
  • -------, 1955. Le Phénomène Humain (The Human Phenomenon) (1955)
  • Frank J. Tipler, 1986, "Cosmological Limits on Computation," International Journal of Theoretical Physics 25: 617-61.
  • -------, 1994. The Physics of Immortality. Doubleday.
  • -------, 2007. The Physics of Christianity. Doubleday.

External linksEditar

Noosphere (/ˈnəʊ.əˌsfɪə/; sometimes noösphere), according to the thought of Vladimir Vernadsky and Teilhard de Chardin, denotes the "sphere of human thought". The word is derived from the Greek νοῦς (nous "mind") + σφαῖρα (sphaira "sphere"), in lexical analogy to "atmosphere" and "biosphere".

In the original theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere emerges at the point where humankind, through the mastery of nuclear processes, begins to create resources through the transmutation of elements.

History of conceptEditar

For Teilhard, the noosphere is best described as a sort of 'collective consciousness' of human-beings. It emerges from the interaction of human minds. The noosphere has grown in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. As mankind organizes itself in more complex social networks, the higher the noosphere will grow in awareness. This is an extension of Teilhard's Law of Complexity/Consciousness, the law describing the nature of evolution in the universe. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin added that the noosphere is growing towards an even greater integration and unification, culminating in the Omega point, which he saw as the goal of history. The goal of history, then, is an apex of thought/consciousness.

One of the original aspects of the noosphere concept deals with evolution. Henri Bergson (1907) was one of the first to propose that evolution is 'creative' and cannot necessarily be explained solely by Darwinian natural selection. L'évolution créatrice is upheld, according to Bergson, by a constant vital force that animates life and fundamentally connects mind and body, an idea opposing the dualism of René Descartes. In 1923, C. Lloyd Morgan took this work further, elaborating on an 'emergent evolution' that could explain increasing complexity (including the evolution of mind). Morgan found that many of the most interesting changes in living things have been largely discontinuous with past evolution, and therefore did not necessarily take place through a gradual process of natural selection. Rather, evolution experiences jumps in complexity (such as the emergence of a self-reflective universe, or noosphere). Finally, the complexification of human cultures, particularly language, facilitated a quickening of evolution in which cultural evolution occurs more rapidly than biological evolution. Recent understanding of human ecosystems and of human impact on the biosphere have led to a link between the notion of sustainability with the "co-evolution" [Norgaard, 1994] and harmonization of cultural and biological evolution.

The resulting political system has been referred to as a noocracy.

American integral theorist Ken Wilber deals with this third evolution of the noosphere. In his work, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (1995), he builds many of his arguments on the emergence of the noosphere and the continued emergence of further evolutionary structures.

The noosphere concept of 'unification' was elaborated in popular science fiction by Julian May in the Galactic Milieu Series. It is also the reason Teilhard is often called the patron saint of the Internet.[1]

History of this expression:

Instances in popular cultureEditar

Ambient dance group The Orb, in the track 'O.O.B.E.' from the album U.F.Orb, use a sample from the reading of New Pathways to Psychology by Colin Wilson, who discusses the concept of the Noösphere.

The Noösphere is an important element of Matthew Hughes's 2004 novel, "Black Brillion."

In The Gone-Away World, a novel by Nick Harkaway, Earth is devastated in a war fought with "Go-Away Bombs" -- weapons which erase the information content of matter, causing it to disappear from reality. The fallout of these bombs, called "Stuff", subsequently draws information from the noosphere, "reifying" human ideas and thoughts into physical form and creating a fantasy landscape of monsters and horrors.

In "Apocalypse: 2012", Vernadsky's thoughts on the noosphere are measured with interesting results.

In Neon Gensis Evangelion the Human Instrumentality Project has the goal of achieving the state of a Noosphere.

In the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl, the nuclear power plant is being used for scientific experiments involving adjusting the Noosphere to remove aggression from humans. As a failed attempt at doing this, the "Zone" was created.


  1. However, the Vatican's position is to say Isidore of Seville is the patron saint of internauts, because of his pioneering work on indexing; see fr:Classement Alphabétique#Historique

External linksEditar


Aviso: A chave de ordenação padrão "Noosphere" sobrepõe-se à anterior "Tipler, Frank J.". Nous (Predefinição:PronEng, Greek: Predefinição:Polytonic or Predefinição:Polytonic) is a philosophical term for mind or intellect. Outside of a philosophical context, it is used, in English, to denote "common sense," with a different pronunciation (/naʊs/).

Overview of usage by ancient GreeksEditar

The word nous is somewhat ambiguous, a result of being appropriated by successive philosophers to designate very different concepts. A further complication that nous (or Nous) refers, depending on the philosopher and the context, sometimes to a personal mental faculty or characteristic, and sometimes to a corresponding quality of the universe or God.

  • Homer used nous to signify mental activities in general, but in the pre-Socratics it became increasingly identified with knowledge and with reason as opposed to sense perception.
  • Anaxagoras's nous was a mechanical ordering force that formed the world out of an original chaos. It began the development of the cosmos.
  • Plato described it as the immortal, rational part of the soul. It is a godlike kind of thinking in which the truths of conclusions are immediately known without having to understand the preliminary premises.
  • Aristotle asserted that nous was the intellect, as distinguished from sense perception. He divided it into an active and passive nous. The passive is what receives intelligible forms, and the active is what illuminates the passive and makes potential knowledge into actual knowledge.
  • To the Stoics, it was the same as logos. This is the whole cosmic reason. It contains human reason as a part.
  • Plotinus described nous as one of the emanations from divine being.


The philosopher Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, born about 500 BC, introduced a new factor, nous (mind), which arranged all other things in their proper order, started them in motion, and continues to control them. In the philosophy of Anaxagoras the most original aspect of the Anaxagoras' system was his doctrine of nous (“mind” or “reason”). The cosmos was formed by mind in two stages: first, by a revolving and mixing process that still continues; and, second, by the development of living things. In the first, all of “the dark” came together to form the night, “the fluid” came like water in some form or other; later thinkers added air, fire, and earth to the list of fundamental elements. There is still controversy as to how his concept of mind is to be all of these particles that had existed in an even mixture, in which nothing could be distinguished, much like the indefinite apeiron of Anaximander. But then nous (intelligence) began at one point to set these particles into a whirling motion, foreseeing that in this way they would become separated from one another and then recombine. He used nous to initiate the process of cosmic development. Anaxagoras wrote:

All other things partake in a portion of everything, while nous is infinite and self-ruled, and is mixed with nothing, but is alone, itself by itself. For if it were not by itself, but were mixed with anything else, it would partake in all things if it were mixed with any; for in everything there is a portion of everything, as has been said by me in what goes before, and the things mixed with it would hinder it, so that it would have power over nothing in the same way that it has now being alone by itself. For it is the thinnest of all things and the purest, and it has all knowledge about everything and the greatest strength; and nous has power over all things, both greater and smaller, that have soul.[1]

Anaxagoras elaborated a quasi-dualistic theory according to which all things have existed from the beginning. Originally they existed in infinitesimal fragments, infinite in number and devoid of arrangement. Amongst these fragments were the seeds of all things which have since emerged by the process of aggregation and segregation, wherein homogeneous fragments came together. These processes are the work of nous which governs and arranges. But this nous (mind) is not incorporeal; it is the thinnest of all things; its action on the particle is conceived materially. It originated a rotatory movement, which arising in one point gradually extended till the whole was in motion, which motion continues and will continue infinitely. By this motion things are gradually constructed not entirely of homogeneous particles, but in each thing with a majority of a certain kind of particle. It is this aggregation which we describe variously as birth, death, maturity, decay, and of which the senses give inaccurate reports. His vague dualism works a very distinct advance upon the crude hylozoism of the early Ionians, and the criticisms of Plato and Aristotle show how highly his work was esteemed. The great danger is that we should credit him with more than he actually thought. His nous was not a spiritual force; it was no omnipotent deity; it is not a pantheistic world soul.[2] But by isolating Reason from all other growths, by representing it as the motor-energy of the Cosmos, in popularizing a term which suggested personality and will, Anaxagoras gave an impetus to ideas which were the basis of Aristotelian philosophy in Greece and in Europe at large.


For Plato it was generally equated with the rational part of the individual soul (to logistikon), although in his Republic it has a special function within this rational part. Plato tended to treat nous as the only immortal part of the soul. In the Timaeus, the title character also calls nous responsible for the creative work of the demiurge or maker who brought rational order to our universe. This craftsman imitated what he perceived in the world of eternal Forms.


Predefinição:The Works of Aristotle Aristotle also considered nous as intellect as intuitive understanding, distinguished from sense perception.[3] In De Anima (III.3-5) Aristotle divides nous into a passive intellect, which is affected and inseparable, as well as an active intellect, which alone is separable and therefore immortal and eternal. Aristotle (Metaphysics) identifies the Prime Mover with the nous that thinks about itself.

In the philosophy of Aristotle the soul (psyche) of a thing is what makes it alive; thus, every living thing, including plant life, has a soul. The mind or intellect (nous) can be described variously as a power, faculty, part, or aspect of the human soul. It should be noted that for Aristotle soul and intellect are not the same. He did not rule out the possibility that intellect might survive without the rest of the soul, as in Plato, but plants have a 'nutritive' soul without a mind.

Alexander of AphrodisiasEditar

In Alexander of Aphrodisias's On the Soul, he contends that the undeveloped reason in man is material (nous hulikos) and inseparable from the body. He argued strongly against the doctrine of immortality. He identified the active intellect (nous poietikos), through whose agency the potential intellect in man becomes actual, with God. In the early Renaissance his doctrine of the soul's mortality was adopted by Pietro Pomponazzi against the Thomists and the Averroists.


Later Platonists distinguished a hierarchy of three separate manifestations of nous, like Numenius of Apamea and for Plotinus nous is a second god (the direct image of the Good) containing within itself the world of intelligible being called demiurge.[4] The Nous holds these intelligible Forms, which exist through its contemplation, and points towards their source in the Good. It signifies a search for order by the part of the soul or mind that knows and thinks. In some philosophical forms of Greek mythology,[5][6][7] order was imposed by an anthropomorphic father of all things, the Demiurge.

In Neoplatonism there exists several levels of existence, reality or hypostasises the highest of which is that of the One the Monad, or the Good, which are identical but indescribable and indefinable in human language without conscious being but is the substance of all things. The next lower level is that of nous and or demiurge (pure intellect or reason); the third is that of the soul. There then follows the world perceived by the senses. Finally, at the lowest level there is matter which was only manifest by the nous or demiurge as the mind of men (see idealism).


Of the later Greek and Roman writers the Neoplatonist Plotinus is significant. According to him, objective reason (nous) and intelligence (logiki) as self-moving, becomes the formative influence which reduces dead matter to form. Matter when thus formed becomes a thought (logismoi) and its form is beauty. Objects are ugly so far as they are unacted upon by reason and therefore formless. The creative reason is absolute beauty. There are three degrees or stages of manifested beauty:

  1. that of human reason, which is the highest;
  2. that of the human soul, which is less perfect through its connexion with a material body;
  3. that of real objects, which is the lowest manifestation of all.

As to the precise forms of beauty, he supposed, in opposition to Aristotle, that a single thing not divisible into parts (like the One) might be beautiful through its unity and simplicity. He gives a high place to the beauty of colors in which material darkness is overpowered by light and warmth. In reference to artistic beauty he said that when the artist has notions as models for his creations, these may become more beautiful than natural objects. This is clearly a step away from Plato's doctrine towards our modern conception of artistic idealization.[8] Plotinus maintains, the Intelligence of God (nous), (demiurge) or (dyad) is an independent existent from the One or Monad, requiring nothing outside of itself for subsistence. The Intelligence (nous) may be understood as the storehouse of all potential beings, however only if every potential being is also recognized as an eternal and unchangeable thought in the Divine Mind. Plotinus refers to the Intelligence as God (theos).[9]

Augustinian NeoplatonismEditar

In Augustinian Platonism it is a basis for metaphysical or religious thinking. This must be the result of the presence in the soul of higher realities and their action upon it. In Plotinus the illumination of the soul by Intellect and the One was the permanent cause of man's ability to know eternal reality. Augustine of Hippo was at this point very close to Plotinus, though for him there was a much sharper distinction.

The Form of the Good or "The Idea of the Good" in Plato's philosophy was identified with God by Augustine of Hippo.

Eastern Orthodox ChristianityEditar

The human nous in Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the "eye of the heart or soul" or the "mind of the heart".[10][11][12][13] The soul of man, is created by God in His image, man's soul is intelligent and noetic. St Thalassios wrote that God created beings "with a capacity to receive the Spirit and to attain knowledge of Himself; He has brought into existence the senses and sensory perception to serve such beings". Eastern Orthodox Christians hold that God did this by creating mankind with intelligence and noetic faculties.[14] Angels have intelligence and nous, whereas men have reason both logos and dianoia, nous and sensory perception. This follows the idea that man is a microcosm and an expression of the whole creation or macrocosmos. The human nous was darkened after the Fall of Man (which was the result of the rebellion of reason against the nous),[15] but after the purification (healing or correction) of the nous (achieved through ascetic practices like hesychasm), the human nous (the "eye of the heart") will see God's uncreated Light (and feel God's uncreated love and beauty, at which point the nous will start the unceasing prayer of the heart) and become illuminated, allowing the person to become an orthodox theologian.[16][17][18]

In this belief, soul is created in the image of God. Since God is Trinitarian, Mankind is Nous,reason both logos and dianoia and Spirit. The same is held true of the soul (or heart): it has nous, word and spirit. To understand this better first an understanding of St Gregory Palamas's teaching that man is a representation of the trinitarian mystery should be addressed. This holds that God is not meant in the sense that the Trinity should be understood anthropomorphically, but man is to be understood in a triune way. Or, that the Trinitarian God is not to be interpreted from the point of view of individual man, but man is interpreted on the basis of the Trinitarian God. And this interpretation is revelatory not merely psychological and human. This means that it is only when a person is within the revelation, as all the saints lived, that he can grasp this understanding completely (see theoria). The second presupposition is that mankind has and is composed of nous, word and spirit like the trinitarian mode of being. Man's nous, word and spirit are not hypostases or individual existences or realities, but activities or energies of the soul. Were as in the case with God or the Persons of the Holy Trinity each are indeed hypostases. So these three components of each individual man are `inseparable from one another' but they do not have a personal character" when in speaking of the being or ontology that is mankind. The nous as the eye of the soul, which some Fathers also call the heart, is the center of man and is where true (spiritual) knowledge is validated. This is seen as true knowledge which is "implanted in the nous as always co-existing with it".[19]

See alsoEditar

O Wikcionário tem o verbete Nous.


  1. Anaxagoras, DK B 12, trans. by J. Burnet
  2. See Phaedo 97-9 for the cosmic role of nous.
  3. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Aristotle's Ethics, Glossary of terms [1]
  4. Encyclopedia of The Study in Philosophy (1969), Vol. 5, article on subject "Nous", article author: G.B. Kerferd
  5. Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origin By Joseph Eddy Fontenrose pg 226
  6. Chorology: On Beginning in Plato's Timaeus By John Sallis pg 86 ISBN 0253213088
  7. The Mythology of Ancient Greece and Italy By Thomas Keightley Whittaker, p. 44 (Oxford University Press)
  8. Everson, S. (ed.) (1991) Companions to Ancient Thought 2: Psychology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Includes chapters on Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus.
  9. Plotinus. The Enneads. Translated by Stephen MacKenna. Abridged and edited by John M. Dillon (Penguin Books, 1991)
  10. Neptic Monasticism
  11. "What is the Human Nous?" by John Romanides
  12. "Before embarking on this study, the reader is asked to absorb a few Greek terms for which there is no English word that would not be imprecise or misleading. Chief among these is NOUS, which refers to the `eye of the heart' and is often translated as mind or intellect. Here we keep the Greek word NOUS throughout. The adjective related to it is NOETIC (noeros)." Orthodox Psychotherapy Section The Knowledge of God according to St. Gregory Palamas by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos published by Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece (January 1, 2005) ISBN 978-9607070272
  13. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, SVS Press, 1997. (ISBN 0-913836-31-1) James Clarke & Co Ltd, 1991. (ISBN 0-227-67919-9) pgs 200-201
  14. G.E.H; Sherrard, Philip; Ware, Kallistos (Timothy). The Philokalia, Vol. 4 Pg432 Nous the highest faculity in man, through which - provided it is purified - he knows God or the inner essences or principles (q.v.) of created things by means of direct apprehension or spiritual perception. Unlike the dianoia or reason (q.v.), from which it must be carefully distinguished, the intellect does not function by formulating abstract concepts and then arguing on this basis to a conclusion reached through deductive reasoning, but it understands divine truth by means of immediate experience, intuition or 'simple cognition' (the term used by St Isaac the Syrian).The intellect dwells in the 'depths of the soul'; it constitutes the innermost aspect of the heart (St Diadochos, 79, 88: in our translatio, vol. i, pp.. 280, 287). The intellect is the organ of contemplation (q.v.), the 'eye of the heart' (Makarian Homilies).
  15. "THE ILLNESS AND CURE OF THE SOUL" Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos
  16. Neptic Monasticism
  17. The Relationship between Prayer and Theology
  18. "JESUS CHRIST - THE LIFE OF THE WORLD", John S. Romanides
  19. Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos (2005), Orthodox Psychotherapy, Tr. Esther E. Cunningham Williams (Birth of Theotokos Monastery, Greece), ISBN 978-9607070272


External linksEditar

Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own.[1]

Theory of mind is different from philosophy of mind, although there are philosophical approaches to issues raised in discussions of theory of mind.

Defining Theory of MindEditar

Theory of Mind is a ‘theory’ insofar as the “mind” is not "directly observable."[2]. The presumption that others have a mind is termed a "theory of mind" because each human can only prove the existence of his or her own mind through introspection, and one has no direct access to others' minds. It is typically assumed that others have minds by analogy with one's own, and based on the reciprocal nature of social interaction, as observed in joint attention[3],the functional use of language[4],and understanding of others' emotions and actions[5]. Having a theory of mind allows one to attribute thoughts, desires, and intentions to others, to predict or explain their actions, and to posit their intentions. As originally defined, it enables one to understand that mental states can be the cause of—and thus be used to explain and predict—others’ behavior.[6] Being able to attribute mental states to others and understanding them as causes of behavior implies, in part, that one must be able to conceive of the mind as a “generator of representations”[7][8]. If a person does not have a complete theory of mind it may be a sign of cognitive or developmental impairment.

Theory of mind appears to be an innate potential ability in humans, but one requiring social and other experience over many years to bring to fruition. Different people may develop more, or less, effective theories of mind. Empathy is a related concept, meaning experientially recognizing and understanding the states of mind, including beliefs, desires and particularly emotions of others, often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes."

Research on theory of mind in a number of different populations (human and animal, adults and children, normally- and atypically-developing) has grown rapidly in the almost 30 years since Premack and Woodruff's paper "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?",[9] as have the theories of theory of mind. The emerging field of social neuroscience has also begun to address this debate, by imaging humans while performing tasks demanding the understanding of an intention, belief, or other mental state.

Philosophical rootsEditar

Contemporary discussions of ToM have their roots in philosophical debate—most broadly, from the time of Descartes’ "Second Meditation," which set the groundwork for considering the science of the mind. Most prominent recently are two contrasting approaches, in the philosophical literature, to theory of mind: theory-theory and simulation theory. The theory-theorist imagines a veritable theory—"folk psychology"—used to reason about others' minds. The theory is developed automatically and innately, though instantiated through social interactions.[10]

On the other hand, simulation theory suggests ToM is not, at its core, theoretical. Two kinds of simulationism have been proposed.[11] One version (Alvin Goldman's) emphasizes that one must recognize one's own mental states before ascribing mental states to others by simulation. The second version of simulation theory proposes that each person comes to know his or her own and others' minds through what Robert Gordon[12] names a logical "ascent routine" which answers questions about mental states by re-phrasing the question as a metaphysical one. For example, if Zoe asks Pam, "Do you think that dog wants to play with you?", Pam would ask herself, "Does that dog want to play with me?" to determine her own response. She could equally well ask that to answer the question of what Zoe might think. Both hold that people generally understand one another by simulating being in the other's shoes.

One of the differences between the two theories that have influenced psychological consideration of ToM is that theory-theory describes ToM as a detached theoretical process that is an innate feature, whereas simulation theory portrays ToM as a kind of knowledge that allows one to form predictions of someone's mental states by putting oneself in the other person's shoes and simulating them. These theories continue to inform the definitions of theory of mind at the heart of scientific ToM investigation.

Theory of mind developmentEditar

The study of which animals are capable of attributing knowledge and mental states to others, as well as when in human ontogeny and phylogeny this ability developed, has identified a number of precursory behaviors to a theory of mind. Understanding attention, understanding of others' intentions, and imitative experience with other people are hallmarks of a theory of mind which may be observed early in the development of what will later become a full-fledged theory. In studies with non-human animals and pre-verbal humans, in particular, researchers look to these behaviors preferentially in making inferences about mind.

Baron-Cohen identified the infant's understanding of attention in others, a social skill found by 7 to 9 months of age, as a "critical precursor" to the development of theory of mind[13]. Understanding attention involves understanding that seeing can be directed selectively as attention, that the looker assesses the seen object as "of interest," and that seeing can induce beliefs. Attention can be directed and shared by the act of pointing, a joint attention behavior which requires taking into account another person's mental state, particularly whether the person notices an object or finds it of interest. Baron-Cohen speculates that the inclination to spontaneously reference an object in the world as of interest ("proto-declarative pointing") and to likewise appreciate the directed attention and interests of another may be the underlying motive behind all human communication[14].

Understanding of others' intentions is another critical precursor to understanding other minds because intentionality, or "aboutness", is a fundamental feature of mental states and events. The "intentional stance" has been defined by Dennett[15] as an understanding that others' actions are goal-directed and arise from particular beliefs or desires. Both 2- and 3-year-old children could discriminate when an experimenter intentionally vs. accidentally marked a box as baited with stickers[16]. Even earlier in ontogeny, Meltzoff found that 18 month-old infants could perform target manipulations that adult experimenters attempted and failed, suggesting the infants could represent the object-manipulating behavior of adults as involving goals and intentions [17]. While attribution of intention (the box-marking) and knowledge (false-belief tasks) is investigated in young humans and nonhuman animals to detect precursors to a theory of mind, Gagliardi et al. have pointed out that even adult humans do not always act in a way consistent with an attributional perspective[18]. In the experiment, adult human subjects came to make choices about baited containers when guided by confederates who could not see (and therefore, not know) which container had been baited.

Recent research in developmental psychology suggests that the infant's ability to imitate others lies at the origins of both a theory of mind and other social-cognitive achievements like perspective-taking and empathy[19]. According to Meltzoff, the infant's innate understanding that others are "like me" allows it to recognize the equivalence between the physical and mental states apparent in others and those felt by the self. For example, the infant uses his own experiences orienting his head/eyes toward an object of interest to understand the movements of others who turn toward an object, that is, that they will generally attend to objects of interest or significance. Some researchers in comparative disciplines have hesitated to put a too-ponderous weight on imitation as a critical precursor to advanced human social-cognitive skills like mentalizing and empathizing, especially if true imitation is no longer employed by adults. A test of imitation by Horowitz[20] found that adult subjects imitated an experimenter demonstrating a novel task far less closely than children subjects did. Horowitz points out that the precise psychological state underlying imitation is unclear and cannot, by itself, be used to draw conclusions about the mental states of humans.

Empirical investigationEditar

Whether children younger than 3 or 4 years old may have a theory of mind is a topic of debate among researchers. It is a challenging question, due to the difficulty of assessing what pre-linguistic children understand about others and the world. Tasks used in research into the development of ToM must take into account the umwelt—(the German word Umwelt means "environment" or "surrounding world")—of the pre-verbal child.

False-belief taskEditar

One of the most important milestones in theory of mind development is gaining the ability to attribute false belief: that is, to recognize that others can have beliefs about the world that are wrong. To do this, it is suggested, one must understand how knowledge is formed, that people’s beliefs are based on their knowledge, that mental states can differ from reality, and that people’s behavior can be predicted by their mental states. Numerous versions of the false-belief task have been developed, based on the initial task done by Wimmer and Perner (1983).[21]

In the most common version of the false-belief task (often called the ‘Sally-Anne’ task), children are told or shown a story involving two characters. For example, in one version, the child is shown two dolls, Sally and Anne, playing with a marble. The dolls put away the marble in a box, and then Sally leaves. Anne takes the marble out and plays with it again, and after she is done, puts it away in a different box. Sally returns and the child is then asked where Sally will look for the marble. The child passes the task if she answers that Sally will look in the first box where she put the marble; the child fails the task if she answers that Sally will look in the second box, where the child knows the marble is hidden, even though Sally cannot know, since she did not see it hidden there. In order to pass the task, the child must be able to understand that another’s mental representation of the situation is different from their own, and the child must be able to predict behavior based on that understanding. The results of research using false-belief tasks have been fairly consistent: most normally-developing children are unable to pass the tasks until around the age of three or four.

Appearance-reality taskEditar

Other tasks have been developed to try to solve the problems inherent in the false-belief task. In the "appearance-reality", or "Smarties" task, experimenters ask children what they believe to be the contents of a box that looks as though it holds a candy called "Smarties." After the child guesses (usually) "Smarties," each is shown that the box in fact contained pencils. The experimenter then re-closes the box and asks the child what she thinks another person, who has not been shown the true contents of the box, will think is inside. The child passes the task if she responds that another person will think that there are "Smarties" in the box, but fails the task if she responds that another person will think that the box contains pencils. Gopnik & Astington (1988) found that children pass this test at age four or five years.

Other tasksEditar

The "false-photograph" task[22][23] is another task that serves as a measure of theory of mind development. In this task, children must reason about what is represented in a photograph that differs from the current state of affairs. Within the false-photograph task, there is either a location or identity change.[24] In the location-change task, the child is told a story about a character that puts an object in one location (e.g., chocolate in a green cupboard) and takes a Polaroid photograph of the scene. While the photograph is developing, the object is moved to a different location (e.g., to a blue cupboard). The child is then asked two control questions, “When we first took the picture, where was the object? Where is the object now?” The subject is also asked a false-photograph question, “Where is the object in the picture?” The child passes the task if she correctly identifies the location of the object in the picture and the actual location of the object at the time of the question.

In order to make tasks more accessible for young children, non-human animals, and autistic individuals, theory of mind research has begun employing non-verbal paradigms. One category of tasks uses a preferential looking paradigm, with looking time as the dependent variable. For instance, Woodward found that 9-month-old infants preferred to look at behaviors performed by a human hand than those made by an inanimate hand-like object. Other paradigms look at rates of imitative behavior, the ability to replicate and complete unfinished goal-directed acts[25], and observations of rates of pretend play[26]


The theory of mind (ToM) impairment describes a difficulty someone would have with perspective taking. This is also sometimes referred to as mind-blindness. This means that individuals with a ToM impairment would have a hard time seeing things from any other perspective than their own.[27] Individuals who experience a theory of mind deficit have difficulty determining the intentions of others, lack understanding of how their behavior affects others, and have a difficult time with social reciprocity.[28] In 1985 Simon Baron-Cohen, Alan M. Leslie and Uta Frith published research which suggested that children with autism do not employ a theory of mind,[29] and suggested that children with autism have particular difficulties with tasks requiring the child to understand another person's beliefs. These difficulties persist when children are matched for verbal skills (Happe, 1995, Child Development) and have been taken as a key feature of autism.

Many individuals classified as having autism have severe difficulty assigning mental states to others, and they seem to lack theory of mind capabilities.[30] Researchers who study the relationship between autism and theory of mind attempt to explain the connection in a variety of ways. One account assumes that theory of mind plays a role in the attribution of mental states to others and in childhood pretend play.[31] According to Leslie,[31] theory of mind is the capacity to mentally represent thoughts, beliefs, and desires, regardless of whether or not the circumstances involved are real. This might explain why individuals with autism show extreme deficits in both theory of mind and pretend play. However, Hobson proposes a social-affective justification,[32] which suggests that a person with autism deficits in theory of mind result from a distortion in understanding and responding to emotions. He suggests that typically developing human beings, unlike individuals with autism, are born with a set of skills (such as social referencing ability) which will later enable them to comprehend and react to other people’s feelings. Other scholars emphasize that autism involves a specific developmental delay, so that children with the impairment vary in their deficiencies, because they experience difficulty in different stages of growth. Very early setbacks can alter proper advancement of joint-attention behaviors, which may lead to a failure to form a full theory of mind.[33]

It has been speculated[34] that ToM exists on a continuum as opposed to the traditional view of a concrete presence or absence. While some research has suggested that some autistic populations are unable to attribute mental states to others[35], recent evidence points to the possibility of coping mechanisms that facilitate a spectrum of mindful behavior[36]. In addition to autism, ToM deficits have also been seen in schizophrenics.

Brain mechanismsEditar

In normally developing humansEditar

Research on theory of mind in autism led to the view that mentalizing abilities are subserved by dedicated mechanisms that can (in some cases) be impaired while general cognitive function remains largely intact. Neuroimaging research has supported this view, demonstrating specific brain regions consistently engaged during theory of mind tasks. Early PET research on theory of mind, using verbal and pictorial story comprehension tasks, identified a set of regions including the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and area around posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), and sometimes precuneus and amygdala/temporopolar cortex (reviewed in [37]). Subsequently, research on the neural basis of theory of mind has diversified, with separate lines of research focused on the understanding of beliefs, intentions, and more complex properties of minds such as psychological traits.

Studies from Rebecca Saxe's lab at MIT, using a false belief versus false photograph task contrast aimed to isolate the mentalizing component of the false belief task, have very consistently found activation in mPFC, precuneus, and temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), right-lateralized.[38][39] In particular, it has been proposed that the right TPJ (rTPJ) is selectively involved in representing the beliefs of others.[40] However, this hypothesis remains controversial, because the same rTPJ region has been consistently activated during spatial reorienting of visual attention[41][42]; Jean Decety from the University of Chicago and Jason Mitchell from Harvard have thus proposed that the rTPJ subserves a more general function involved in both false belief understanding and attentional reorienting, rather than a mechanism specialized for social cognition.

Functional imaging has also been used to study the detection of mental state information in Heider-Simmel-esque animations of moving geometric shapes, which typical humans automatically perceive as social interactions laden with intention and emotion. Three studies found remarkably similar patterns of activation during the perception of such animations versus a random or deterministic motion control: mPFC, pSTS, fusiform face area (FFA), and amygdala were selectively engaged during the ToM condition.[43][44][45] Another study presented subjects with an animation of two dots moving with a parameterized degree of intentionality (quantifying the extent to which the dots chased each other), and found that pSTS activation correlated with this parameter.[46]

A separate body of research has implicated the posterior superior temporal sulcus in the perception of intentionality in human action; this area is also involved in perceiving biological motion, including body, eye, mouth, and point-light display motion (reviewed in [47]). One study found increased pSTS activation while watching a human lift his hand versus having his hand pushed up by a piston (intentional versus unintentional action).[48] Several studies have found increased pSTS activation when subjects perceive a human action that is incongruent with the action expected from the actor’s context and inferred intention: for instance, a human performing a reach-to-grasp motion on empty space next to an object, versus grasping the object[49]; a human shifting eye gaze toward empty space next to a checkerboard target versus shifting gaze toward the target[50]; a human turning on a light with his knee, versus turning on a light with his knee while carrying a pile of books[51]; and a walking human pausing as he passes behind a bookshelf, versus walking at a constant speed.[52] In these studies, actions in the "congruent" case have a straightforward goal, and are easy to explain in terms of the actor’s intention; the incongruent actions, on the other hand, require further explanation (why would someone twist empty space next to a gear?), and apparently demand more processing in the STS. Note that this region is distinct from the temporo-parietal area activated during false belief tasks.[52] Also note that pSTS activation in most of the above studies was largely right-lateralized, following the general trend in neuroimaging studies of social cognition and perception: also right-lateralized are the TPJ activation during false belief tasks, the STS response to biological motion, and the FFA response to faces.

Neuropsychological evidence has provided support for neuroimaging results on the neural basis of theory of mind. A study with patients suffering from a lesion of the temporoparietal junction of the brain (between the temporal lobe and parietal lobe) reported that they have difficulty with some theory of mind tasks.[53] This shows that theory of mind abilities are associated with specific parts of the human brain. However, the fact that the medial prefrontal cortex and temporoparietal junction are necessary for theory of mind tasks does not imply that these regions are specific to that function.[41][54] TPJ and mPFC may subserve more general functions necessary for ToM.

Research by Vittorio Gallese, Luciano Fadiga and Giacomo Rizzolatti (reviewed in [55]) has shown that some sensorimotor neurons, which are referred to as mirror neurons, first discovered in the premotor cortex of rhesus monkeys, may be involved in action understanding. Single-electrode recording revealed that these neurons fired when a monkey performed an action and when the monkey viewed another agent carrying out the same task. Similarly, fMRI studies with human participants have shown brain regions (assumed to contain mirror neurons) are active when one person sees another person's goal directed action.[56] These data have lead some authors to suggest that mirror neurons may provide the basis for theory of mind in the brain, and to support simulation theory of mind reading (see above) [57]

However, there is also evidence against the link between mirror neurons and theory of mind. First, macaque monkeys have mirror neurons but do not seem to have a 'human-like' capacity to understand theory of mind and belief. Second, fMRI studies of theory of mind typically report activation in the mPFC, temporal poles and TPJ or STS,[58] but these brain areas are not part of the mirror neuron system. Some investigators, like developmental psychologist Andrew Meltzoff and neuroscientist Jean Decety, believe that mirror neurons merely facilitate learning through imitation and may provide a precursor to the development of ToM.[59][60]

In autismEditar

Several neuroimaging studies have looked at the neural basis theory of mind impairment in subjects with Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism (HFA). The first PET study of theory of mind in autism (also the first neuroimaging study using a task-induced activation paradigm in autism) employed a story comprehension task,[61], replicating a prior study in normal individuals.[62] This study found displaced and diminished mPFC activation in subjects with autism. However, because the study used only six subjects with autism, and because the spatial resolution of PET imaging is relatively poor, these results should be considered preliminary.

A subsequent fMRI study scanned normally developing adults and adults with HFA while performing a "reading the mind in the eyes" task—viewing a photo of a human’s eyes and choosing which of two adjectives better describes the person’s mental state, versus a gender discrimination control.[63] The authors found activity in orbitofrontal cortex, STS, and amygdala in normal subjects, and found no amygdala activation and abnormal STS activation in subjects with autism.

A more recent PET study looked brain activity in individuals with HFA and Asperger’s while viewing Heider-Simmel animations (see above) versus a random motion control.[64] In contrast to normally developing subjects, those with autism showed no STS or FFA activation, and significantly less mPFC and amygdala activation. Activity in extrastriate regions V3 and LO was identical across the two groups, suggesting intact lower-level visual processing in the subjects with autism. The study also reported reduced significantly less functional connectivity between STS and V3 in the autism group. Note, however, that decreased temporal correlation between activity in STS and V3 would be expected simply from the lack of an evoked response in STS to intent-laden animations in subjects with autism; a more informative analysis would be to compute functional connectivity after regressing out evoked responses from all time series.

A subsequent study, using the incongruent/congruent gaze shift paradigm described above, found that in high-functioning adults with autism, STS activation was undifferentiated while watching a human shift gaze toward a target and toward adjacent empty space.[65] The lack of additional STS processing in the incongruent state may suggest that these subjects fail to form an expectation of what the actor should do given contextual information, or that information about the violation of this expectation doesn’t reach STS; both explanations involve an impairment in the ability to link eye gaze shifts with intentional explanations. This study also found a significant anticorrelation between STS activation in the incongruent-congruent contrast and social subscale score on the Autism Diagnostic Interview—Revised, but not scores on the other subscales.

Non-human theory of mindEditar

As the title of Premack and Woodruff's 1978 article "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?" indicates, it is also important to ask if other animals besides humans have a genetic endowment and social environment that allows them to acquire a theory of mind in the same way that human children do. This is a contentious issue because of the problem of inferring from animal behavior the existence of thinking, of the existence of a concept of self or self-awareness, or of particular thoughts. One difficulty with non-human studies of ToM is the lack of sufficient numbers of naturalistic observation, giving insight into what the evolutionary pressures might be on a species' development of theory of mind.

Non-human research still has a major place in this field, however, and is especially useful in illuminating which nonverbal behaviors signify components of theory of mind, and in pointing to possible stepping points in the evolution of what many claim to be a uniquely human aspect of social cognition. While it is difficult to study human-like theory of mind and mental states in species which we do not yet describe as "minded" at all, and about whose potential mental states we have an incomplete understanding, researchers can focus on simpler components of more complex capabilities. For example, many researchers focus on animals' understanding of intention, gaze, perspective, or knowledge (or rather, what another being has seen). Call and Tomasello's study[66] that looked at understanding of intention in orangutans, chimpanzees and children showed that all three species understood the difference between accidental and intentional acts. Part of the difficulty in this line of research is that observed phenomena can often be explained as simple stimulus-response learning, as it is in the nature of any theorizers of mind to have to extrapolate internal mental states from observable behavior. Recently, most non-human theory of mind research has focused on monkeys and great apes, who are of most interest in the study of the evolution of human social cognition. Other studies relevant to attributions theory of mind have been conducted using plovers [67] and dogs [68], and have shown preliminary evidence of understanding attention—one precursor of theory of mind—in others.

There has been some controversy over the interpretation of evidence purporting to show theory of mind ability—or inability—in animals. Two examples serve as demonstration: first, Povinelli et al. (1990)[69] presented chimpanzees with the choice of two experimenters from which to request food: one who had seen where food was hidden, and one who, by virtue of one of a variety of mechanisms (having a bucket or bag over his head; a blindfold over his eyes; or being turned away from the baiting) does not know, and can only guess. They found that the animals failed in most cases to differentially request food from the "knower." By contrast, Hare, Call, and Tomasello (2001)[70] found that subordinate chimpanzees were able to use the knowledge state of dominant rival chimpanzees to determine which container of hidden food they approached.

See alsoEditar

References and notesEditar

  1. Premack, D. G. & Woodruff, G. (1978). Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1, 515-526.
  2. Premack, D. G. & Woodruff, G. (1978). Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1, 515-526.
  3. Baron-Cohen, S. (1991).Precursors to a theory of mind: Understanding attention in others. In A. Whiten (Ed.), Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development and simulation of everyday mindreading (pp. 233-251). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  4. Bruner, J. S. (1981).Intention in the structure of action and interaction. In L. P. Lipsitt & C. K. Rovee-Collier (Eds.), Advances in infancy research. Vol. 1 (pp. 41-56). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.
  5. Gordon, R. M. (1996).'Radical' simulationism. In P. Carruthers & P. K. Smith, Eds. Theories of theories of mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  6. Premack, D. G. & Woodruff, G. (1978). Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1, 515-526.
  7. Courtin, C. (2000) The impact of sign language on the cognitive development of deaf children: The case of theories of mind. Cognition, 77,25-31.
  8. Courtin, C., & Melot, A.-M. (2005) Metacognitive development of deaf children: Lessons from the appearance-reality and false belief tasks. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 5, 266-276.
  9. Premack, D. G. and Woodruff, G. (1978). Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1, 515-526.
  10. Carruthers, P. (1996). Simulation and self-knowledge: a defence of the theory-theory. In P. Carruthers & P.K. Smith, Eds. Theories of theories of mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  11. Gordon, R.M. (1996). 'Radical' simulationism. In P. Carruthers & P.K. Smith, Eds. Theories of theories of mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  12. Gordon, R.M. (1996). 'Radical' simulationism. In P. Carruthers & P.K. Smith, Eds. Theories of theories of mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  13. Baron-Cohen, S. (1991). Precursors to a theory of mind: Understanding attention in others. In A. Whiten (Ed.), Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development and simulation of everyday mindreading (pp. 233-251). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  14. Baron-Cohen, S. (1991). Precursors to a theory of mind: Understanding attention in others. In A. Whiten (Ed.), Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development and simulation of everyday mindreading (pp. 233-251). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  15. Dennett, D. C. (1987). Reprint of Intentional systems in cognitive ethology: The Panglossian paradigm defended (to p. 260). The Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 6, 343-390.
  16. Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (1998). Distinguishing intentional from accidental actions in orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), and human children (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 112, 192-206.
  17. Meltzoff, A. (1995). Understanding the intentions of others: Re-enactment of intended acts by 18-month-old children. Developmental Psychology, 31, 838-850.
  18. Gagliardi, J. L., et al. (1995). Seeing and knowing: Knowledge attribution versus stimulus control in adult humans (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 109, 107-114.
  19. Meltzoff, A. N. (2002). Imitation as a mechanism of social cognition: Origins of empathy, theory of mind, and the representation of action. In U. Goswami (Ed.), Handbook of childhood cognitive development (pp. 6-25). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  20. Horowitz, A. (2003). Do humans ape? or Do apes human? Imitation and intention in humans and other animals. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 17, 325-336.
  21. Wimmer, H., & Perner, J. (1983). Beliefs about beliefs: Representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children's understanding of deception. Cognition, 13, 103-128.
  22. Zaitchik, D. (1990). When representations conflict with reality: the preschooler’s problem with false beliefs and “false” photographs. Cognition, 35, 41-68.
  23. Leslie, A., & Thaiss, L. (1992). Domain specificity in conceptual development. Cognition, 43, 225-51.
  24. Sabbagh, M.A., & Moses L.J. (2006). Executive functioning and preschoolers’ understanding of false beliefs, false photographs, and false signs. Child Development, 77(4), 1034-1049.
  25. Meltzoff, A. (1995). Understanding the intentions of others: Re-enactment of intended acts by 18-month-old children. Developmental Psychology, 31, 838-850.
  26. Leslie, A. M. (1991). Theory of mind impairment in autism. In A. Whiten (Ed.), Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development and simulation of everyday mindreading (pp. 63-77). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  27. Moore, S. (2002). Asperger Syndrome and the Elementary School Experience. [S.l.]: Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company 
  28. Baker, J. (2003). Social Skills Training: for children and adolescents with Asperger Syndrome and Social-Communication Problems. [S.l.]: Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company 
  29. Baron-Cohen S, Leslie AM, Frith U (1985). «Does the autistic child have a 'theory of mind'?» (PDF). Cognition. 21 (1): 37–46. PMID 2934210. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(85)90022-8. Consultado em 16 de fevereiro de 2008 
  30. Baron-Cohen, S. (1991). Precursors to a theory of mind: Understanding attention in others. In A. Whiten, Ed., Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development, and simulation of everyday mindreading (233-251). Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.
  31. a b Leslie, A. M. (1991). Theory of mind impairment in autism. In A. Whiten, Ed., Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development, and simulation of everyday mindreading. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.
  32. Hobson, R.P. (1995). Autism and the development of mind. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Ltd.
  33. Baron-Cohen, S. (1991). Precursors to a theory of mind: Understanding attention in others. In A. Whiten, Ed., Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development, and simulation of everyday mindreading (233-251). Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.
  34. Leslie, A. M. (1991). Theory of mind impairment in autism. In A. Whiten (Ed.), Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development and simulation of everyday mindreading (pp. 63-77). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  35. Baron-Cohen, S. (1991). Precursors to a theory of mind: Understanding attention in others. In A. Whiten (Ed.), Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development and simulation of everyday mindreading (pp. 233-251). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  36. Dapretto, M., et al. (2006). Understanding emotions in others: mirror neuron dysfunction in children with autism spectrum disorders. Nature Neuroscience, 9, 28-30
  37. Gallagher and Frith, (2003) "Functional imaging of 'theory of mind'," Trends in Cognitive Sciences Vol. 7, No. 2, 77-83
  38. Saxe and Kanwisher (2003), "People thinking about thinking people: The role of the temporo-parietal junction in 'theory of mind'," NeuroImage 19, 1835-1842
  39. Saxe et al. (2006), "Reading minds versus following rules: Dissociating theory of mind and executive control in the brain," Social Neuroscience 1 (3-4), 284-298
  40. Saxe and Powell (2006), "It's the Thought That Counts: Specific Brain Regions for One Component of Theory of Mind," Psychological Science Vol. 17, No. 8, 692-699
  41. a b Decety and Lamm (2007), "The Role of the Right Temporoparietal Junction in Social Interaction: How Low-Level Computational Processes Contribute to Meta-Cognition," Neuroscientist Vol. 13, No. 6, 580-593
  42. Mitchell (2008), "Activity in Right Temporo-Parietal Junction is Not Selective for Theory-of-Mind," Cerebral Cortex
  43. Castelli et al. (2002), "Movement and Mind: A Functional Imaging Study of Perception and Interpretation of Complex Intentional Movement Patterns," NeuroImage
  44. Martin and Weisberg (2003), "Neural Foundations For Understanding Social And Mechanical Concepts," Cognitive Neuropsychology 20(3-6), 575-587
  45. Schultz et al. (2003), "The role of the fusiform face area in social cognition: Implications for the pathobiology of autism," Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 358(1430), 415–427
  46. Schultz et al. (2005), "Activation in Posterior Superior Temporal Sulcus Parallels Parameter Inducing the Percept of Animacy," Neuron Vol. 45, 625-635
  47. Allison et al. (2000), "Social perception from visual cues: role of the STS region," Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4:7, 267-278
  48. Morris et al. (2008), "Perceived causality influences brain activity evoked by biological motion," Social Neuroscience 3(1), 16-25
  49. Pelphrey et al. (2004), "Grasping the Intentions of Others: The Perceived Intentionality of an Action Influences Activity in the Superior Temporal Sulcus during Social Perception," Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 16:10, 1706-1716
  50. Mosconi et al. (2005), "Taking an 'intentional stance' on eye-gaze shifts: A functional neuroimaging study of social perception in children," NeuroImage 27, 247-252
  51. Brass et al. (2007), "Investigating Action Understanding: Inferential Processes versus Action Simulation," Current Biology 17, 2117-2121
  52. a b Saxe et al. (2004), "A region of right posterior superior temporal sulcus response to observed intentional actions," Neuropsychologia 42, 1435-1446
  53. Samson, D., Apperly, I.A., Chiavarino, C., & Humphreys, G.W. (2004). Left temporoparietal junction is necessary for representing someone else's belief. Nature Neuroscience,7(5):499-500.
  54. Stone, V.E., & Gerrans, P. (2006). What's domain-specific about theory of mind. Social Neuroscience, 1 (3-4), 309-319.
  55. Rizzolatti, G., & Craighero, L. (2004). The mirror-neuron system. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 27, 169-192.
  56. Iacoboni, M., Molnar-Szakacs, I., Gallese, V., Buccino, G., Mazziotta, J.C. (2005). Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system. PLoS Biology, 3(3), 529-535.
  57. Gallese, V., & Goldman, A. (1998). Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind-reading. Trends in Cognitive Science, 2(12), 493-501.
  58. Frith U, Frith CD (2003). «Development and neurophysiology of mentalizing» (PDF). Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 358 (1431): 459–73. PMC 1693139 . PMID 12689373. doi:10.1098/rstb.2002.1218 
  59. Meltzoff, A.N., & Decety, J. (2003). What imitation tells us about social cognition: A rapprochement between developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, 358, 491-500.
  60. Sommerville, J. A., & Decety, J. (2006). Weaving the fabric of social interaction: Articulating developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience in the domain of motor cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 13, 179-200.
  61. Happe et al. (1996), "'Theory of mind' in the brain. Evidence from a PET scan study of Asperger syndrome," NeuroReport 8: 197-201
  62. Fletcher et al. (1995), "Other minds in the brain: a functional imaging study of ‘theory of mind’ in story comprehension," Cognition 57, 109-128
  63. Baron-Cohen et al. (1999), "Social intelligence in the normal and autistic brain: an fMRI study," European Journal of Neuroscience 11: 1891-1898
  64. Castelli et al. (2002), "Autism, Asperger syndrome and brain mechanisms for the attribution of mental states to animated shapes," Brain 125: 1839-1849
  65. Pelphrey et al. (2005), "Neural basis of eye gaze processing deficits in autism," Brain 128: 1038-1048
  66. Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (1998). Distinguishing intentional from accidental actions in orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), and human children (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 112, 192-206.
  67. Ristau, C. (1991). Aspects of the cognitive ethology of an injury-feigning bird, the piping plovers. In C. A. Ristau (Ed.), Cognitive ethology: The minds of other animals. Essays in honor of Donald R. Griffin (pp. 91-126). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  68. Horowitz, A. (2009). Attention to attention in domestic dog (Canis familiaris) dyadic play. Animal Cognition, 12, 107-118.
  69. Povinelli, D.J., Nelson, K.E., & Boysen, S.T. (1990). Inferences about guessing and knowing by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 104, 203-210.
  70. Hare, B., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2001). Do chimpanzees know what conspecifics know and do not know? Animal Behavior, 61, 139-151.
  • Excerpts taken from: Davis, E. (2007) Mental Verbs in Nicaraguan Sign Language and the Role of Language in Theory of Mind. Undergraduate senior thesis, Barnard College, Columbia University.

External linksEditar

O Wikilivros tem um livro chamado Consciousness

Philosophy of MindEditar

A phrenological mapping[1] of the brain. Phrenology was among the first attempts to correlate mental functions with specific parts of the brain.

Philosophy of mind is a branch of modern analytic philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body.[2]

Dualism and monism are the two major schools of thought that attempt to resolve the mind-body problem. Dualism can be traced back to Plato,[3] Aristotle[4][5][6] and the Sankhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy,[7] but it was most precisely formulated by René Descartes in the 17th century.[8] Substance Dualists argue that the mind is an independently existing substance, whereas Property Dualists maintain that the mind is a group of independent properties that emerge from and cannot be reduced to the brain, but that it is not a distinct substance.[9]

Monism is the position that mind and body are not ontologically distinct kinds of entities. This view was first advocated in Western Philosophy by Parmenides in the 5th century BC and was later espoused by the 17th century rationalist Baruch Spinoza.[10] Physicalists argue that only the entities postulated by physical theory exist, and that the mind will eventually be explained in terms of these entities as physical theory continues to evolve. Idealists maintain that the mind is all that exists and that the external world is either mental itself, or an illusion created by the mind. Neutral monists adhere to the position that there is some other, neutral substance, and that both matter and mind are properties of this unknown substance. The most common monisms in the 20th and 21st centuries have all been variations of physicalism; these positions include behaviorism, the type identity theory, anomalous monism and functionalism.[11]

Most modern philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive or non-reductive physicalist position, maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body.[11] These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, especially in the fields of sociobiology, computer science, evolutionary psychology and the various neurosciences.[12][13][14][15] Other philosophers, however, adopt a non-physicalist position which challenges the notion that the mind is a purely physical construct. Reductive physicalists assert that all mental states and properties will eventually be explained by scientific accounts of physiological processes and states.[16][17][18] Non-reductive physicalists argue that although the brain is all there is to the mind, the predicates and vocabulary used in mental descriptions and explanations are indispensable, and cannot be reduced to the language and lower-level explanations of physical science.[19][20] Continued neuroscientific progress has helped to clarify some of these issues. However, they are far from having been resolved, and modern philosophers of mind continue to ask how the subjective qualities and the intentionality (aboutness) of mental states and properties can be explained in naturalistic terms.[21][22]

The mind-body problemEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Mind-body dichotomy

The mind-body problem concerns the explanation of the relationship that exists between minds, or mental processes, and bodily states or processes.[2] The main aim of philosophers working in this area is to determine the nature of the mind and mental states/processes, and how--or even if--minds are affected by and can affect the body.

Our perceptual experiences depend on stimuli which arrive at our various sensory organs from the external world and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states, ultimately causing us to feel a sensation, which may be pleasant or unpleasant. Someone's desire for a slice of pizza, for example, will tend to cause that person to move his or her body in a specific manner and in a specific direction to obtain what he or she wants. The question, then, is how it can be possible for conscious experiences to arise out of a lump of gray matter endowed with nothing but electrochemical properties.[11] A related problem is to explain how someone's propositional attitudes (e.g. beliefs and desires) can cause that individual's neurons to fire and his muscles to contract in exactly the correct manner. These comprise some of the puzzles that have confronted epistemologists and philosophers of mind from at least the time of René Descartes.[8]

Dualist solutions to the mind-body problemEditar

Dualism is a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter. It begins with the claim that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical.[9] One of the earliest known formulations of mind-body dualism was expressed in the eastern Sankhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy (c. 650 BCE), which divided the world into purusha (mind/spirit) and prakrti (material substance).[7] Specifically, the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali presents an analytical approach to the nature of the mind.

In Western Philosophy, the earliest discussions of dualist ideas are in the writings of Plato and Aristotle. Each of these maintained, but for different reasons, that humans' "intelligence" (a faculty of the mind or soul) could not be identified with, or explained in terms of, their physical body.[3][4] However, the best-known version of dualism is due to René Descartes (1641), and holds that the mind is a non-extended, non-physical substance.[8] Descartes was the first to clearly identify the mind with consciousness and self-awareness, and to distinguish this from the brain, which was the seat of intelligence. He was therefore the first to formulate the mind-body problem in the form in which it still exists today.[8]

Arguments for dualismEditar

The most frequently used argument in favour of dualism is that it appeals to the common-sense intuition that conscious experience is distinct from inanimate matter. If asked what the mind is, the average person would usually respond by identifying it with their self, their personality, their soul, or some other such entity. They would almost certainly deny that the mind simply is the brain, or vice-versa, finding the idea that there is just one ontological entity at play to be too mechanistic, or simply unintelligible.[9] The majority of modern philosophers of mind think that these intuitions, like many others, are probably misleading and that we should use our critical faculties, along with empirical evidence from the sciences, to examine these assumptions to determine whether there is any real basis to them.[9]

Another important argument in favor of dualism is the idea that the mental and the physical seem to have quite different, and perhaps irreconcilable, properties.[23] Mental events have a certain subjective quality to them, whereas physical events do not. So, for example, one can reasonably ask what a burnt finger feels like, or what a blue sky looks like, or what nice music sounds like to a person. But it is meaningless, or at least odd, to ask what a surge in the uptake of glutamate in the dorsolateral portion of the hippocampus feels like.

The Argument from Reason holds that if, as monism, all of our thoughts are the effect of a physical cause, then we have no reason for assuming that they are also the consequent of a reasonable ground. Knowledge, however, is apprehended by reasoning from ground to consequent. Therefore, if monism, there would be no way of knowing it—or anything else not the direct result of a physical cause—and we could not even suppose it, except by a fluke.

Philosophers of mind call the subjective aspects of mental events 'qualia' or 'raw feels'.[23] There is something that it is like to feel pain, to see a familiar shade of blue, and so on. There are qualia involved in these mental events that seem particularly difficult to reduce to anything physical.[24]

If consciousness (the mind) can exist independently of physical reality (the brain), one must explain how physical memories are created concerning consciousness. Dualism must therefore explain how consciousness affects physical reality. One possible explanation is that of a miracle, proposed by Arnold Geulincx and Nicholas Malebranche, where all mind-body interactions require the direct intervention of God. Another possible explanation has been proposed by C. S. Lewis. Although at the time Lewis wrote Miracles [25], Quantum Mechanics (and physical indeterminism) was only in the initial stages of acceptance, he stated the logical possibility that if the physical world was proved to be indeterministic this would provide an entry (interaction) point into the traditionally viewed closed system, where a scientifically described physically probable/improbable event could be philosophically described as an action of a non physical entity on physical reality.

The zombie argument is based on a thought experiment proposed by David Chalmers. The basic idea is that one can imagine, and therefore conceive the existence of, one's body without any conscious states being associated with it. Chalmers' argument is that it seems very plausible that such a being could exist because all that is needed is that all and only the things that the physical sciences describe about a zombie must be true of it. Since none of the concepts involved in these sciences make reference to consciousness or other mental phenomena, and any physical entity can be by definition described scientifically via physics, the move from conceivability to possibility is not such a large one.[26] Others such as Dennett have argued that the notion of a philosophical zombie is an incoherent [27], or unlikely [28], concept. It has been argued under physicalism, that one must either believe that anyone including oneself might be a zombie, or that no one can be a zombie - following from the assertion that one's own conviction about being (or not being) a zombie is a product of the physical world and is therefore no different from anyone else's. This argument has been expressed by Dennett who argues that "Zimboes thinkZ they are conscious, thinkZ they have qualia, thinkZ they suffer pains - they are just 'wrong' (according to this lamentable tradition), in ways that neither they nor we could ever discover!" [29]

Interactionist dualismEditar

Portrait of René Descartes by Frans Hals (1648)

Interactionist dualism, or simply interactionism, is the particular form of dualism first espoused by Descartes in the Meditations.[8] In the 20th century, its major defenders have been Karl Popper and John Carew Eccles.[30] It is the view that mental states, such as beliefs and desires, causally interact with physical states.[9]

Descartes' famous argument for this position can be summarized as follows: Seth has a clear and distinct idea of his mind as a thinking thing which has no spatial extension (i.e., it cannot be measured in terms of length, weight, height, and so on). He also has a clear and distinct idea of his body as something that is spatially extended, subject to quantification and not able to think. It follows that mind and body are not identical because they have radically different properties.[8]

At the same time, however, it is clear that Seth's mental states (desires, beliefs, etc.) have causal effects on his body and vice-versa: A child touches a hot stove (physical event) which causes pain (mental event) and makes her yell (physical event), this in turn provokes a sense of fear and protectiveness in the caregiver (mental event), and so on.

Descartes' argument crucially depends on the premise that what Seth believes to be "clear and distinct" ideas in his mind are necessarily true. Many contemporary philosophers doubt this.[31][32][33] For example, Joseph Agassi suggests that several scientific discoveries made since the early 20th century have undermined the idea of privileged access to one's own ideas. Freud has shown that a psychologically-trained observer can understand a person's unconscious motivations better than the person himself does. Duhem has shown that a philosopher of science can know a person's methods of discovery better than that person herself does, while Malinowski has shown that an anthropologist can know a person's customs and habits better than the person whose customs and habits they are. He also asserts that modern psychological experiments that cause people to see things that are not there provide grounds for rejecting Descartes' argument, because scientists can describe a person's perceptions better than the person herself can.[34][35]

Other forms of dualismEditar

Four varieties of dualism. The arrows indicate the direction of the causal interactions. Occasionalism is not shown.
Portrait of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz by Bernhard Christoph Francke (circa 1700)
  1. Psychophysical parallelism, or simply parallelism, is the view that mind and body, while having distinct ontological statuses, do not causally influence one another. Instead, they run along parallel paths (mind events causally interact with mind events and brain events causally interact with brain events) and only seem to influence each other.[36] This view was most prominently defended by Gottfried Leibniz. Although Leibniz was an ontological monist who believed that only one type of substance, the monad, exists in the universe, and that everything is reducible to it, he nonetheless maintained that there was an important distinction between "the mental" and "the physical" in terms of causation. He held that God had arranged things in advance so that minds and bodies would be in harmony with each other. This is known as the doctrine of pre-established harmony.[37]
  2. Occasionalism is the view espoused by Nicholas Malebranche which asserts that all supposedly causal relations between physical events, or between physical and mental events, are not really causal at all. While body and mind are different substances, causes (whether mental or physical) are related to their effects by an act of God's intervention on each specific occasion.[38]
  3. Property dualism asserts that when matter is organized in the appropriate way (i.e. in the way that living human bodies are organized), mental properties emerge. Hence, it is a sub-branch of emergent materialism.[9] These emergent properties have an independent ontological status and cannot be reduced to, or explained in terms of, the physical substrate from which they emerge. This position is espoused by David Chalmers and has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, [39] but was already suggested in the 19th century by William James.
    1. Epiphenomenalism is a doctrine first formulated by Thomas Henry Huxley.[40] It consists in the view that mental phenomena are causally ineffectual. Physical events can cause other physical events and physical events can cause mental events, but mental events cannot cause anything, since they are just causally inert by-products (i.e. epiphenomena) of the physical world.[36] This view has been defended most strongly in recent times by Frank Jackson.[41]
    2. Non-reductive Physicalism is the view that although mental properties form a separate ontological class to physical properties, all mental states are casually reducible to physical states.

Monist solutions to the mind-body problemEditar

In contrast to dualism, monism states that there are no fundamental divisions. Today, the most common forms of monism in Western philosophy are physicalist.[11] Physicalistic monism asserts that the only existing substance is physical, in some sense of that term to be clarified by our best science.[42] However, a variety of formulations (see below) are possible. Another form of monism, idealism, states that the only existing substance is mental. Although pure idealism, such as that of George Berkeley, is uncommon in contemporary Western philosophy, a more sophisticated variant called panpsychism, according to which mental experience and properties may be at the foundation of physical experience and properties, has been espoused by some philosophers such as William Seager.[39]

Phenomenalism is the theory that representations (or sense data) of external objects are all that exist. Such a view was briefly adopted by Bertrand Russell and many of the logical positivists during the early 20th century.[43] A third possibility is to accept the existence of a basic substance which is neither physical nor mental. The mental and physical would then both be properties of this neutral substance. Such a position was adopted by Baruch Spinoza[10] and was popularized by Ernst Mach[44] in the 19th century. This neutral monism, as it is called, resembles property dualism.

Physicalistic monismsEditar


 Ver artigo principal: Behaviorism

Behaviorism dominated philosophy of mind for much of the 20th century, especially the first half.[11] In psychology, behaviorism developed as a reaction to the inadequacies of introspectionism.[42] Introspective reports on one's own interior mental life are not subject to careful examination for accuracy and cannot be used to form predictive generalizations. Without generalizability and the possibility of third-person examination, the behaviorists argued, psychology cannot be scientific.[42] The way out, therefore, was to eliminate the idea of an interior mental life (and hence an ontologically independent mind) altogether and focus instead on the description of observable behavior.[45]

Parallel to these developments in psychology, a philosophical behaviorism (sometimes called logical behaviorism) was developed.[42] This is characterized by a strong verificationism, which generally considers unverifiable statements about interior mental life senseless. For the behaviorist, mental states are not interior states on which one can make introspective reports. They are just descriptions of behavior or dispositions to behave in certain ways, made by third parties to explain and predict others' behavior.[46]

Philosophical behaviorism, notably held by Wittgenstein, has fallen out of favor since the latter half of the 20th century, coinciding with the rise of cognitivism.[2] Cognitivists reject behaviorism due to several perceived problems. For example, behaviorism could be said to be counter-intuitive when it maintains that someone is talking about behavior in the event that a person is experiencing a painful headache.

Identity theoryEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Type physicalism

Type physicalism (or type-identity theory) was developed by John Smart[18] and Ullin Place[47] as a direct reaction to the failure of behaviorism. These philosophers reasoned that, if mental states are something material, but not behavioral, then mental states are probably identical to internal states of the brain. In very simplified terms: a mental state M is nothing other than brain state B. The mental state "desire for a cup of coffee" would thus be nothing more than the "firing of certain neurons in certain brain regions".[18]

The classic Identity theory and Anomalous Monism in contrast. For the Identity theory, every token instantiation of a single mental type corresponds (as indicated by the arrows) to a physical token of a single physical type. For anomalous monism, the token-token correspondences can fall outside of the type-type correspondences. The result is token identity.

Despite its initial plausibility, the identity theory faces a strong challenge in the form of the thesis of multiple realizability, first formulated by Hilary Putnam.[20] It is obvious that not only humans, but many different species of animal can, for example, experience pain. However, it seems highly unlikely that all of these diverse organisms with the same pain experience are in the same identical brain state. And if the latter is the case, then pain cannot be identical to a specific brain state. The identity theory is thus empirically unfounded.[20]

On the other hand, even granted all above, it does not follow that identity theories of all types must be abandoned. According to token identity theories, the fact that a certain brain state is connected with only one mental state of a person does not have to mean that there is an absolute correlation between types of mental states and types of brain state. The type-token distinction can be illustrated by a simple example: the word "green" contains four types of letters (g, r, e, n) with two tokens (occurrences) of the letter e along with one each of the others. The idea of token identity is that only particular occurrences of mental events are identical with particular occurrences or tokenings of physical events.[48] Anomalous monism (see below) and most other non-reductive physicalisms are token-identity theories.[49] Despite these problems, there is a renewed interest in the type identity theory today, primarily due to the influence of Jaegwon Kim.[18]


 Ver artigo principal: Functionalism (philosophy of mind)

Functionalism was formulated by Hilary Putnam and Jerry Fodor as a reaction to the inadequacies of the identity theory.[20] Putnam and Fodor saw mental states in terms of an empirical computational theory of the mind.[50] At about the same time or slightly after, D.M. Armstrong and David Kellogg Lewis formulated a version of functionalism which analyzed the mental concepts of folk psychology in terms of functional roles.[51] Finally, Wittgenstein's idea of meaning as use led to a version of functionalism as a theory of meaning, further developed by Wilfrid Sellars and Gilbert Harman. Another one, psychofunctionalism, is an approach adopted by naturalistic Philosophy of Mind associated with Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn.

What all these different varieties of functionalism share in common is the thesis that mental states are characterized by their causal relations with other mental states and with sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. That is, functionalism abstracts away from the details of the physical implementation of a mental state by characterizing it in terms of non-mental functional properties. For example, a kidney is characterized scientifically by its functional role in filtering blood and maintaining certain chemical balances. From this point of view, it does not really matter whether the kidney be made up of organic tissue, plastic nanotubes or silicon chips: it is the role that it plays and its relations to other organs that define it as a kidney.[50]

Nonreductive physicalismEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Anomalous Monism

Many philosophers hold firmly to two essential convictions with regard to mind-body relations: 1) Physicalism is true and mental states must be physical states, but 2) All reductionist proposals are unsatisfactory: mental states cannot be reduced to behavior, brain states or functional states.[42] Hence, the question arises whether there can still be a non-reductive physicalism. Donald Davidson's anomalous monism[19] is an attempt to formulate such a physicalism.

A basic idea which all non-reductive physicalists share in common is the thesis of supervenience: mental states supervene on physical states, but are not reducible to them. "Supervenience" therefore describes a functional dependence: there can be no change in the mental without some change in the physical.[52]


 Ver artigo principal: Emergentism

Emergentism is a form of "nonreductive physicalism" that involves a layered view of nature, with the layers arranged in terms of increasing complexity and each corresponding to its own special science. Some philosophers hold that emergent properties causally interact with more fundamental levels, while others maintain that higher-order properties simply supervene over lower levels without direct causal interaction. The latter group therefore holds a stricter definition of emergentism, which can be rigorously stated as follows: a property P of composite object O is emergent if it is metaphysically possible for another object to lack property P even if that object is composed of parts with intrinsic properties identical to those in O and has those parts in an identical configuration.

Sometimes emergentists use the example of water having a new property when Hydrogen H and Oxygen O combine to form H2O (water). In this example there "emerges" a new property of a transparent liquid that would not have been predicted by understanding hydrogen and oxygen as a gas. This is analogous to physical properties of the brain giving rise to a mental state. Emergentists try to solve the notorious mind-body gap this way. One problem for emergentism is the idea of "causal closure" in the world that does not allow for a mind-to-body causation.[53]

Eliminative materialismEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Eliminative materialism

If one is a materialist but believes that not all aspects of our common sense psychology will find reduction to a mature cognitive-neuroscience, and that a non-reductive materialism is mistaken, then one can adopt a final, more radical position: eliminative materialism.

There are several varieties of eliminative materialism, but all maintain that our common-sense "folk psychology" badly misrepresents the nature of some aspect of cognition. Eliminativists regard folk psychology as a falsifiable theory, and one likely to be falsified by future cognitive-neuroscientific research. Should better theories of the mental come along they argue, we might need to discard certain basic common-sense mental notions that we have always taken for granted, such as belief, consciousness, emotion, qualia, or propositional attitudes.

Eliminativists such as Patricia and Paul Churchland argue that while folk psychology treats cognition as fundamentally sentence-like, the non-linguistic vector/matrix model of neural network theory or connectionism will prove to be a much more accurate account of how the brain works.[16]

The Churchlands often invoke the fate of other, erroneous popular theories and ontologies which have arisen in the course of history.[16][17] For example, Ptolemaic astronomy served to explain and roughly predict the motions of the planets for centuries, but eventually this model of the solar system was eliminated in favor of the Copernican model. The Churchlands believe the same eliminative fate awaits the "sentence-cruncher" model of the mind in which thought and behavior are the result of manipulating sentence-like states called "propositional attitudes."

Linguistic criticism of the mind-body problemEditar

Each attempt to answer the mind-body problem encounters substantial problems. Some philosophers argue that this is because there is an underlying conceptual confusion.[54] These philosophers, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein and his followers in the tradition of linguistic criticism, therefore reject the problem as illusory.[55] They argue that it is an error to ask how mental and biological states fit together. Rather it should simply be accepted that human experience can be described in different ways - for instance, in a mental and in a biological vocabulary. Illusory problems arise if one tries to describe the one in terms of the other's vocabulary or if the mental vocabulary is used in the wrong contexts.[55] This is the case, for instance, if one searches for mental states of the brain. The brain is simply the wrong context for the use of mental vocabulary - the search for mental states of the brain is therefore a category error or a sort of fallacy of reasoning.[55]

Today, such a position is often adopted by interpreters of Wittgenstein such as Peter Hacker.[54] However, Hilary Putnam, the originator of functionalism, has also adopted the position that the mind-body problem is an illusory problem which should be dissolved according to the manner of Wittgenstein.[56]

Naturalism and its problemsEditar

The thesis of physicalism is that the mind is part of the material (or physical) world. Such a position faces the problem that the mind has certain properties that no other material thing seems to possess. Physicalism must therefore explain how it is possible that these properties can nonetheless emerge from a material thing. The project of providing such an explanation is often referred to as the "naturalization of the mental."[42] Some of the crucial problems that this project attempts to resolve include the existence of qualia and the nature of intentionality.[42]


 Ver artigo principal: Qualia

Many mental states have the property of being experienced subjectively in different ways by different individuals.[24] For example, it is characteristic of the mental state of pain that it hurts. Moreover, your sensation of pain may not be identical to mine, since we have no way of measuring how much something hurts nor of describing exactly how it feels to hurt. Philosophers and scientists ask where these experiences come from. Nothing indicates that a neural or functional state can be accompanied by such a pain experience. Often the point is formulated as follows: the existence of cerebral events, in and of themselves, cannot explain why they are accompanied by these corresponding qualitative experiences. The puzzle of why many cerebral processes occur with an accompanying experiential aspect in consciousness seems impossible to explain.[23]

Yet it also seems to many that science will eventually have to explain such experiences.[42] This follows from the logic of reductive explanations. If I try to explain a phenomenon reductively (e.g., water), I also have to explain why the phenomenon has all of the properties that it has (e.g., fluidity, transparency).[42] In the case of mental states, this means that there needs to be an explanation of why they have the property of being experienced in a certain way.

The problem of explaining the introspective, first-person aspects of mental states, and consciousness in general, in terms of third-person quantitative neuroscience is called the explanatory gap.[57] There are several different views of the nature of this gap among contemporary philosophers of mind. David Chalmers and the early Frank Jackson interpret the gap as ontological in nature; that is, they maintain that qualia can never be explained by science because physicalism is false. There are two separate categories involved and one cannot be reduced to the other.[58] An alternative view is taken by philosophers such as Thomas Nagel and Colin McGinn. According to them, the gap is epistemological in nature. For Nagel, science is not yet able to explain subjective experience because it has not yet arrived at the level or kind of knowledge that is required. We are not even able to formulate the problem coherently.[24] For McGinn, on other hand, the problem is one of permanent and inherent biological limitations. We are not able to resolve the explanatory gap because the realm of subjective experiences is cognitively closed to us in the same manner that quantum physics is cognitively closed to elephants.[59] Other philosophers liquidate the gap as purely a semantic problem.


 Ver artigo principal: Intentionality
John Searle - one of the most influential philosophers of mind, proponent of biological naturalism (Berkeley 2002)

Intentionality is the capacity of mental states to be directed towards (about) or be in relation with something in the external world.[22] This property of mental states entails that they have contents and semantic referents and can therefore be assigned truth values. When one tries to reduce these states to natural processes there arises a problem: natural processes are not true or false, they simply happen.[60] It would not make any sense to say that a natural process is true or false. But mental ideas or judgments are true or false, so how then can mental states (ideas or judgments) be natural processes? The possibility of assigning semantic value to ideas must mean that such ideas are about facts. Thus, for example, the idea that Herodotus was a historian refers to Herodotus and to the fact that he was an historian. If the fact is true, then the idea is true; otherwise, it is false. But where does this relation come from? In the brain, there are only electrochemical processes and these seem not to have anything to do with Herodotus.[21]

Philosophy of mind and scienceEditar

Humans are corporeal beings and, as such, they are subject to examination and description by the natural sciences. Since mental processes are intimately related to bodily processes, the descriptions that the natural sciences furnish of human beings play an important role in the philosophy of mind.[2] There are many scientific disciplines that study processes related to the mental. The list of such sciences includes: biology, computer science, cognitive science, cybernetics, linguistics, medicine, pharmacology, and psychology.[61]


 Ver artigo principal: Neurobiology

The theoretical background of biology, as is the case with modern natural sciences in general, is fundamentally materialistic. The objects of study are, in the first place, physical processes, which are considered to be the foundations of mental activity and behavior.[62] The increasing success of biology in the explanation of mental phenomena can be seen by the absence of any empirical refutation of its fundamental presupposition: "there can be no change in the mental states of a person without a change in brain states."[61]

Within the field of neurobiology, there are many subdisciplines which are concerned with the relations between mental and physical states and processes:[62] Sensory neurophysiology investigates the relation between the processes of perception and stimulation.[63] Cognitive neuroscience studies the correlations between mental processes and neural processes.[63] Neuropsychology describes the dependence of mental faculties on specific anatomical regions of the brain.[63] Lastly, evolutionary biology studies the origins and development of the human nervous system and, in as much as this is the basis of the mind, also describes the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development of mental phenomena beginning from their most primitive stages.[61]

Since the 1980s, sophisticated neuroimaging procedures, such as fMRI (above), have furnished increasing knowledge about the workings of the human brain, shedding light on ancient philosophical problems.

The methodological breakthroughs of the neurosciences, in particular the introduction of high-tech neuroimaging procedures, has propelled scientists toward the elaboration of increasingly ambitious research programs: one of the main goals is to describe and comprehend the neural processes which correspond to mental functions (see: neural correlate).[62] Several groups are inspired by these advances. New approaches to this question are being pursued by Steven Ericsson-Zenith at the Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering, where they propose a new mechanics for devices called 'machines that experience', designed to implement sentience and the fundament mechanisms of motility and recognition. Jeff Hawkins has established the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Berkeley, where they explore biomimicry for recognition algorithms.

Computer scienceEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Computer science

Computer science concerns itself with the automatic processing of information (or at least with physical systems of symbols to which information is assigned) by means of such things as computers.[64] From the beginning, computer programmers have been able to develop programs which permit computers to carry out tasks for which organic beings need a mind. A simple example is multiplication. But it is clear that computers do not use a mind to multiply. Could they, someday, come to have what we call a mind? This question has been propelled into the forefront of much philosophical debate because of investigations in the field of artificial intelligence.

Within AI, it is common to distinguish between a modest research program and a more ambitious one: this distinction was coined by John Searle in terms of a weak AI and strong AI. The exclusive objective of "weak AI", according to Searle, is the successful simulation of mental states, with no attempt to make computers become conscious or aware, etc. The objective of strong AI, on the contrary, is a computer with consciousness similar to that of human beings.[65] The program of strong AI goes back to one of the pioneers of computation Alan Turing. As an answer to the question "Can computers think?", he formulated the famous Turing test.[66] Turing believed that a computer could be said to "think" when, if placed in a room by itself next to another room which contained a human being and with the same questions being asked of both the computer and the human being by a third party human being, the computer's responses turned out to be indistinguishable from those of the human. Essentially, Turing's view of machine intelligence followed the behaviourist model of the mind - intelligence is as intelligence does. The Turing test has received many criticisms, among which the most famous is probably the Chinese room thought experiment formulated by Searle.[65]

The question about the possible sensitivity (qualia) of computers or robots still remains open. Some computer scientists believe that the specialty of AI can still make new contributions to the resolution of the "mind body problem". They suggest that based on the reciprocal influences between software and hardware that takes place in all computers, it is possible that someday theories can be discovered that help us to understand the reciprocal influences between the human mind and the brain (wetware).[67]


 Ver artigo principal: Psychology

Psychology is the science that investigates mental states directly. It uses generally empirical methods to investigate concrete mental states like joy, fear or obsessions. Psychology investigates the laws that bind these mental states to each other or with inputs and outputs to the human organism.[68]

An example of this is the psychology of perception. Scientists working in this field have discovered general principles of the perception of forms. A law of the psychology of forms says that objects that move in the same direction are perceived as related to each other.[61] This law describes a relation between visual input and mental perceptual states. However, it does not suggest anything about the nature of perceptual states. The laws discovered by psychology are compatible with all the answers to the mind-body problem already described.

Philosophy of mind in the continental traditionEditar

Most of the discussion in this article has focused on one style or tradition of philosophy in modern Western culture, usually called analytic philosophy (sometimes described as Anglo-American philosophy).[69] Many other schools of thought exist, however, which are sometimes subsumed under the broad label of continental philosophy.[69] In any case, though topics and methods here are numerous, in relation to the philosophy of mind the various schools that fall under this label (phenomenology, existentialism, etc.) can globally be seen to differ from the analytic school in that they focus less on language and logical analysis alone but also take in other forms of understanding human existence and experience. With reference specifically to the discussion of the mind, this tends to translate into attempts to grasp the concepts of thought and perceptual experience in some sense that does not merely involve the analysis of linguistic forms.[69]

In Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind, Hegel discusses three distinct types of mind: the subjective mind, the mind of an individual; the objective mind, the mind of society and of the State; and the Absolute mind, a unity of all concepts. See also Hegel's Philosophy of Mind from his Encyclopedia.[70]

In modern times, the two main schools that have developed in response or opposition to this Hegelian tradition are phenomenology and existentialism. Phenomenology, founded by Edmund Husserl, focuses on the contents of the human mind (see noema) and how phenomenological processes shape our experiences.[71] Existentialism, a school of thought founded upon the work of Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, focuses on the content of experiences and how the mind deals with such experiences.

An important, though not very well known, example of a philosopher of mind and cognitive scientist who tries to synthesize ideas from both traditions is Ron McClamrock. Borrowing from Herbert Simon and also influenced by the ideas of existential phenomenologists such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger, McClamrock suggests that humans' condition of being-in-the-world ("Dasein", "In-der-welt-sein") makes it impossible for them to understand themselves by abstracting away from it and examining it as if it were a detached experimental object of which they themselves are not an integral part.[72]

Philosophy of mind in the eastern traditionEditar

Eastern traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism do not hold to the dualistic mind/body model but do assert that the mind and body are separate entities. Buddhism in particular does not hold to the notion of a soul, or atman. Some forms of Buddhism assert that a very subtle level of mind leaves the body at the time of death and goes to a new life. According to Buddhist scholar Dharmakirti, the definition of mind is that which is clarity and cognizes. In this definition, 'clarity' refers to the nature of mind, and 'cognizes' to the function of mind. Mind is clarity because it always lacks form and because it possesses the actual power to perceive objects. Mind cognizes because its function is to know or perceive objects. In Ornament of the Seven Sets, Buddhist scholar Khedrubje says that thought, awareness, mind and cognizer are synonyms. Buddha explained that although mind lacks form, it can nevertheless be related to form. Thus, our mind is related to our body and is "located" at different places throughout the body. This is to be understood in the context of how the five sense consciousnesses and the mental consciousness are generated. There are many different types of mind -- sense awarenesses, mental awarenesses, gross minds, subtle minds, and very subtle minds -- and they are all formless (lacking shape, color, sound, smell, taste or tactile properties) and they all function to cognize or know. There is no such thing as a mind without an object known by that mind. Even though none of these minds is form, they can be related to form.[73]

Consequences of philosophy of mindEditar

There are countless subjects that are affected by the ideas developed in the philosophy of mind. Clear examples of this are the nature of death and its definitive character, the nature of emotion, of perception and of memory. Questions about what a person is and what his or her identity consists of also have much to do with the philosophy of mind. There are two subjects that, in connection with the philosophy of the mind, have aroused special attention: free will and the self.[2]

Free willEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Free will

In the context of philosophy of mind, the problem of free will takes on renewed intensity. This is certainly the case, at least, for materialistic determinists.[2] According to this position, natural laws completely determine the course of the material world. Mental states, and therefore the will as well, would be material states, which means human behavior and decisions would be completely determined by natural laws. Some take this reasoning a step further: people cannot determine by themselves what they want and what they do. Consequently, they are not free.[74]

This argumentation is rejected, on the one hand, by the compatibilists. Those who adopt this position suggest that the question "Are we free?" can only be answered once we have determined what the term "free" means. The opposite of "free" is not "caused" but "compelled" or "coerced". It is not appropriate to identify freedom with indetermination. A free act is one where the agent could have done otherwise if it had chosen otherwise. In this sense a person can be free even though determinism is true.[74] The most important compatibilist in the history of the philosophy was David Hume.[75] More recently, this position is defended, for example, by Daniel Dennett,[76] and, from a dual-aspect perspective, by Max Velmans.[77]

On the other hand, there are also many incompatibilists who reject the argument because they believe that the will is free in a stronger sense called libertarianism.[74] These philosophers affirm the course of the world is either a) not completely determined by natural laws and deterministic natural law is broken by dualistic sentient beings, or b) determined by indeterministic natural law only, or c) determined by indeterministic natural law in line with the will of a non physical agency. Under Libertarianism, the will does not have to be deterministic and, therefore, it is potentially free. Critics of the second proposition (b) accuse the incompatibilists of using an incoherent concept of freedom. They argue as follows: if our will is not determined by anything, then we desire what we desire by pure chance. And if what we desire is purely accidental, we are not free. So if our will is not determined by anything, we are not free.[74]

The selfEditar

 Ver artigo principal: Self (philosophy)

The philosophy of mind also has important consequences for the concept of self. If by "self" or "I" one refers to an essential, immutable nucleus of the person, most modern philosophers of mind will affirm that no such thing exists.[78] The idea of a self as an immutable essential nucleus derives from the idea of an immaterial soul. Such an idea is unacceptable to most contemporary philosophers, due to their physicalistic orientations, and due to a general acceptance among philosophers of the scepticism of the concept of 'self' by David Hume, who could never catch himself doing, thinking or feeling anything.[79] However, in the light of empirical results from developmental psychology, developmental biology and neuroscience, the idea of an essential inconstant, material nucleus - an integrated representational system distributed over changing patterns of synaptic connections - seems reasonable.[80] The view of the self as an illusion is widely accepted by many philosophers, such as Daniel Dennett and Thomas Metzinger.

See alsoEditar

Notes and referencesEditar

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  47. Place, Ullin (1956). «Is Consciousness a Brain Process?». British Journal of Psychology 
  48. Smart, J.J.C, "Identity Theory", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2002 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
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  50. a b Block, Ned. "What is functionalism" in Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, 2 vols. Vol 1. (Cambridge: Harvard, 1980).
  51. Armstrong, D., 1968, A Materialist Theory of the Mind, Routledge.
  52. Stanton, W.L. (1983) "Supervenience and Psychological Law in Anomalous Monism", Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 64: 72-9
  53. Jaegwon Kim, Philosophy of Mind, Westview Press; 2 edition (July 8, 2005) ISBN 0813342694
  54. a b Hacker, Peter (2003). Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. [S.l.]: Blackwel Pub. ISBN 1-4051-0838-X 
  55. a b c Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1954). Philosophical Investigations. New York: Macmillan 
  56. Putnam, Hilary (2000). The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body, and World. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10286-0 
  57. Joseph Levine, Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap, in: Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 64, no. 4, October, 1983, 354–361
  58. Jackson, F. (1986) "What Mary didn't Know", Journal of Philosophy, 83, 5, pp. 291–295.
  59. McGinn, C. "Can the Mind-Body Problem Be Solved", Mind, New Series, Volume 98, Issue 391, pp. 349–366. a(online)
  60. Fodor, Jerry (1993). Psychosemantics. The problem of meaning in the philosophy of mind. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-06106-6 
  61. a b c d Pinker, S. (1997) How the Mind Works. tr. It: Come Funziona la Mente. Milan:Mondadori, 2000. ISBN 88-04-49908-7
  62. a b c Bear, M. F. et al. Eds. (1995). Neuroscience: Exploring The Brain. Baltimore, Maryland, Williams and Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-3944-6
  63. a b c Pinel, J.P.J (1997). Psychobiology. [S.l.]: Prentice Hall. ISBN 88-15-07174-1 
  64. Sipser, M. (1998). Introduction to the Theory of Computation. Boston, Mass.: PWS Publishing Co. ISBN 0-534-94728-X 
  65. a b Searle, John (1980). «Minds, Brains and Programs». The Behavioral and Brain Sciences (3): 417–424 
  66. Predefinição:Turing 1950
  67. Russell, S. and Norvig, R. (1995). Artificial Intelligence:A Modern Approach. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc. ISBN 0-13-103805-2 
  68. «Encyclopedia of Psychology» 
  69. a b c Dummett, M. (2001). Origini della Filosofia Analitica. [S.l.]: Einaudi. ISBN 88-06-15286-6 
  70. Hegel, G.W.F. Phenomenology of Spirit. [S.l.: s.n.] , translated by A.V. Miller with analysis of the text and foreword by J. N. Findlay (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977) ISBN 0-19-824597-1 .
  71. Husserl, Edmund. Logische Untersuchungen. [S.l.: s.n.]  trans.: Giovanni Piana. Milan: EST. ISBN 88-428-0949-7
  72. McClamrock, Ron (1995). Existential Cognition: Computational Minds in the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 
  73. Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind, Tharpa Publications (2nd. ed., 1997) ISBN 978-0-948006-78-4
  74. a b c d «Philosopher Ted Honderich's Determinism web resource» 
  75. Russell, Paul, Freedom and Moral Sentiment: Hume's Way of Naturalizing Responsibility Oxford University Press: New York & Oxford, 1995.
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  79. Searle, John (Jan 2005). Mind: A Brief Introduction. [S.l.]: Oxford University Press Inc, USA. ISBN 0-19-515733-8  Verifique data em: |ano= (ajuda)
  80. LeDoux, Joseph (2002). The Synaptic Self. New York: Viking Penguin. ISBN 88-7078-795-8 

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Collective unconscious, sometimes known as collective subconscious, is a term of analytical psychology, coined by Carl Jung. It is a part of the unconscious mind, shared by a society, a people, or all humanity, that is the product of ancestral experience and contains such concepts as science, religion, and morality. While Freud did not distinguish between an "individual psychology" and a "collective psychology", Jung distinguished the collective unconscious from the personal subconscious particular to each human being. The collective unconscious is also known as "a reservoir of the experiences of our species."[1]

In the "Definitions" chapter of Jung's seminal work Psychological Types, under the definition of "collective" Jung references representations collectives, a term coined by Levy-Bruhl in his 1910 book How Natives Think. Jung says this is what he describes as the collective unconscious. Freud, on the other hand, did not accept the idea of a collective unconscious.

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  • Jung, Carl. The Development of Personality.
  • Jung, Carl. (1970). "Psychic conflicts in a child.", Collected Works of C. G. Jung, 17. Princeton University Press. 235 p. (p. 1-35).
  • Whitmont, Edward C. (1969). The Symbolic Quest. Princeton University Press.
  • Gallo, Ernest. "Synchronicity and the Archetypes," Skeptical Inquirer, 18 (4). Summer 1994.
  • Zelitchenko, Alexander. (2006) Svet Zhizni (Light of Life)

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  1. Jensen, Peter S., Mrazek, David, Knapp, Penelope K., Steinberg, Laurence, Pfeffer, Cynthia, Schowalter, John, & Shapiro, Theodore. (Dec 1997) Evolution and revolution in child psychiatry: ADHD as a disorder of adaptation. (attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 36. p. 1672. (10). July 14 2007.

Anamnesis (em grego clássico: ἀνάμνησις = "recollection, reminiscence" (literally "loss of forgetfulness") is a term used in medicine, philosophy, psychoanalysis and religion.


In philosophy, Plato uses the term anamnesis in the epistemological and psychological theory that he develops in his dialogues Meno and Phaedo, and alludes to in his Phaedrus.


In Meno, Plato's character (and old teacher) Socrates is challenged by Meno with what has become known as the sophistic paradox, or the paradox of knowledge:

Meno: And how are you going to search for [the nature of virtue] when you don't know at all what it is, Socrates? Which of all the things you don't know will you set up as target for your search? And even if you actually come across it, how will you know that it is that thing which you don't know?[1]

In other words, if you don't know any of the attributes, properties, and/or other descriptive markers of any kind that help signify what something is (physical or otherwise), you won't recognize it, even if you actually come across it. And, as consequence, if the converse is true, and you do know the attributes, properties and/or other descriptive markers of this thing, then you shouldn't need to seek it out at all. The result of this line of thinking is that, in either instance, there is no point trying to gain that "something"; in the case of Plato's aforementioned work, there is no point in seeking knowledge.

Socrates' response is to develop his theory of anamnesis. He suggests that the soul is immortal, and repeatedly incarnated; knowledge is actually in the soul from eternity (86b), but each time the soul is incarnated its knowledge is forgotten in the shock of birth. What one perceives to be learning, then, is actually the recovery of what one has forgotten. (Once it has been brought back it is true belief, to be turned into genuine knowledge by understanding.) And thus Socrates (and Plato) sees himself, not as a teacher, but as a midwife, aiding with the birth of knowledge that was already there in the student.

The theory is illustrated by Socrates asking a slave boy questions about geometry. At first the boy gives the wrong answer; when this is pointed out to him, he is puzzled, but by asking questions Socrates is able to help him to reach the true answer. This is intended to show that, as the boy wasn't told the answer, he could only have reached the truth by recollecting what he had already known but forgotten.


In Phaedo, Plato develops his theory of anamnesis, in part by combining it with his theory of Forms. First, he elaborates how anamnesis can be achieved: whereas in Meno nothing more than Socrates' method of questioning is offered, in Phaedo Plato presents a way of living that would enable one to overcome the misleading nature of the body through katharsis (Greek: καθαρσις; “cleansing” (from guilt or defilement), “purification”). The body and its senses are the source of error; knowledge can only be regained through the use of our reason, contemplating things with the soul (noesis) (see 66 b–d).

Secondly, he makes clear that genuine knowledge, as opposed to mere true belief (doxa), is distinguished by its content. One can only know eternal truths, for they are the only truths that can have been in the soul from eternity. Though it can be very useful to have a true belief about, say, the best way to get from London to Oxford, such a belief does not qualify as knowledge; how could the human soul have known for all eternity a fact about places that have existed for less than 2,000 years?


For the later interpreters of Plato, anamnesis was less an epistemic assertion than an ontological one. Plotinus himself did not posit recollection in the strict sense of the term, because all knowledge of universally important ideas (logos) came from a source outside of time (Dyad or the divine nous), and was accessible, by means of contemplation, to the soul as part of noesis. They were more objects of experience, of inner knowledge or insight, than of recollection. Despite this, in Neoplatonism, the theory of anamnesis became part of the mythology of the descent of the soul.

Porphyry's short work De Antro Nympharum (ostensibly a commentary on the brief passage in Odyssey 13) elucidated this notion, as did Macrobius's much longer Commentary on the Dream of Scipio. The idea of psychic memory was used by Neoplatonists to demonstrate the celestial and immaterial origins of the soul, and to explain how memories of the world-soul could be recalled by everyday human beings. As such, psychic recollection was intrinsically connected to the Platonic conception of the soul itself. Since the contents of individual "material" or physical memories were trivial, only the universal recollection of Forms, or divine objects, drew one closer to the immortal source of being.

Anamnesis is the closest that human minds can come to experiencing the freedom of the soul prior to its being encumbered by matter. The process of incarnation is described in Neoplatonism as a shock that causes the soul to forget its experiences (and often its divine origins as well).


"Anamnesis" is used in Christianity in reference to the Eucharist. This has its origin in Jesus' words at the Last Supper, "Do this in memory of me" (em grego clássico: "τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν", (Luke Predefinição:Bibleverse-nb, 1 Corinthians Predefinição:Bibleverse-nb) and can refer either to the memorial character of the Eucharist itself[2] or to the part of the service where the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus are remembered.[3]

For example, in the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, the anamnesis begins with the words:

Remembering, therefore, this command of the Saviour [i.e., to eat and drink in remembrance of him] and all that came to pass for our sake, the cross, the tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand of the Father and the second, glorious coming...[4]

This phrase precedes the epiklesis, when the priest asks God to send the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, other services besides the Divine Liturgy will have an anamnesis, such as the Great Sanctification of Waters at Theophany.

In most western Christian traditions, on the other hand, the anamnesis comes after the epiklesis.[5]

An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church says of the anamnesis: "This memorial prayer of remembrance recalls for the worshipping community past events in their tradition of faith that are formative for their identity and self-understanding" and makes particular mention of its place in "the various eucharistic prayers".[6]

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  • Plato Phaedo, 1911: edited with introduction and notes by John Burnet (Oxford: Clarendon Press)
  • Jane M. Day 1994 Plato's Meno in Focus (London: Routledge) — contains an introduction and full translation by Day, together with papers on Meno by various philosophers
  • Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum [edd], An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians (New York, Church Publishing Incorporated)
  • Jacob Klein, A Commentary on Plato's Meno (Chicago, 1989), pp. 103–173.
  • Norman Gulley, Plato's Theory of Knowledge (London, 1962) pp. 1–47.

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