Vincent Descombes

7pm | Thursday 23 January 2003
Institut Français, 17 Queensberry Place, South Kensington, SW7

Vincent Descombes
, Director of studies, EHESS, Paris

Tim Crane
, University College London

The Book Forum
The Book Forum continue its series of meetings which aim to present recent philosophy books for discussion by a wider public.

The Mind’s Provisions – A Critique of Cognitivism (Trans. By Stephen Adam Schwartz, Princeton University Press, 2001) This book brings together an astonishingly large body of philosophical and anthropological thought from both the ‘continental’ and the ‘anglo-saxon’ traditions in a general critique of all philosophies that view the mind the strictly causal terms and suppose that it is the brain – rather than the person – that thinks.

In place of cognitivism, Descombes offers an anthropologically based theory of mind that emphasises the mind’s collective nature. Drawing on Wittgenstein, he maintains that mental acts are properly attributed to the person, not the brain, and that states of mind, far from being detached from the world, require a historical and cultural context for their very intelligibility.