Summary and Info
A tendentious book exhibiting questionable scholarship. Any work purporting to discuss the philosophical issues raised by the so-called mind-body problem should take account of current work in brain research and cognitive studies. Shusterman cites Lakoff, Johnson, Dennet, and Damasio among others, but gives little evidence that he has seriously engaged with their ideas. His citations are all pre-1999, a serious lacuna in a field developing as fast as cognitive science.
Similarly, Shusterman's extensive but eventually dismissive discussion of John Dewey and F.M. Alexander quotes admittedly problematic passages from Alexander's earliest book (1918), but largely ignores both Alexander's later work and further developments arising from his discoveries. He cites Frank Pierce Jones's book Body Awareness in Action, but ignores the research it describes. He dismisses the fact that Dewey's support of Alexander was derived mostly from Dewey's direct experience of his teaching, not from his writings. Shusterman mentions that he has taken a few Alexander lessons himself. Speaking as an Alexander teacher of forty years' experience I can state with some authority that this book suggests that he has fundamentally misunderstood what Alexander discovered.
I am not qualified to evaluate Shusterman's ideas about the four other philosophers whom he discusses, but if the problems I describe above are typical, it would be better to turn elsewhere for insights in this field.
William Conable, Professor Emeritus
The Ohio State University
More About the Author
Richard Shusterman is an American pragmatist philosopher. Known for his contributions to philosophical aesthetics and the emerging field of somaesthetics, currently he is the Dorothy F.
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