Death of the Soul: From Descartes to Th: From Descartes to the Computer

William Barrett, Author Anchor Books $16.95 (173p) ISBN 978-0-385-15965-4
Ever since Descartes saw nature as a vast, interlocking machine and science banished the soul, philosophers have been uncomfortable with this materialistic outlook. Barrett (Irrational Man here looks at the way in which various thinkers have attempted to put the human soul or self in the forefront of their visions of reality. He discusses Leibniz's energized universe of monads, or individual souls, Hegel's blueprint for self-realization as part of the unfolding of the ""world spirit'' and the existentialists' belief that anxiety and death are personal problems each of us must wrestle with. Unconvinced by modern descriptions of the mind as a computer, Barrett debunks Alan Turing's claim that a future computer could write first-rate poetry; he also refutes behaviorism and Wittgenstein. This short book engages the reader in an open-ended dialogue with major Western thinkers on the central questions of the soul, death and consciousness. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
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