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Psychology Cognitive Psychology


From Brains to Social Sciences and Professions (Treatise on Mind and Society)

by (author) Paul Thagard

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2019
Cognitive Psychology
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2021
    List Price

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How do minds make societies, and how do societies change? Paul Thagard systematically connects neural and psychological explanations of mind with major social sciences (social psychology, sociology, politics, economics, anthropology, and history) and professions (medicine, law, education, engineering, and business). Social change emerges from interacting social and mental mechanisms.

Many economists and political scientists assume that individuals make rational choices, despite the abundance of evidence that people frequently succumb to thinking errors such as motivated inference. Much of sociology and anthropology is taken over with postmodernist assumptions that everything is constructed on the basis of social relations such as power, with no inkling that these relations are mediated by how people think about each other.

Mind-Society displays the interdependence of the cognitive and social sciences by describing the interconnections among mental and social mechanisms, which interact to generate social changes ranging from marriage patterns to wars. Validation comes from detailed studies of important social changes, from norms about romantic relationships to economic practices, political institutions, religious customs, and international relations.

This book belongs to a trio that includes Brain-Mind: From Neurons to Consciousness and Creativity and Natural Philosophy: From Social Brains to Knowledge, Reality, Morality, and Beauty. They can be read independently, but together they make up a Treatise on Mind and Society that provides a unified and comprehensive treatment of the cognitive sciences, social sciences, professions, and humanities.

About the author

Paul Thagard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of The Cognitive Science of Science (MIT Press, 2012) and many other books.

Paul Thagard's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Mind-Society by Paul Thagard is an intriguing book-broadly scoped, erudite, and framed by a unique perspective. It addresses both cognitive-emotional processes and social phenomena, moves fluidly between them, and weaves them together. It is the kind of book that I wish I could have written."

--Ron Sun, Professor of Cognitive Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

"In this book, Thagard offers a tour de force that traverses the expanse from the level of molecules and neurons, through mental processing, to societal forces of stability and change. He then applies this multi-level framework to explain earthly domains such as economics, religion and warfare, and to examine a variety of professions such as medicine, education and law. Mind-Society is at once accessible, insightful, and instructive. This compelling text makes cognitive science feel exceptionally clear, spanning and relevant."

--Dan Simon, Professor of Law and Psychology, University of Southern California

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