Where are pain and pleasure experienced: in the mind, the brain, or both? What communicative value do pain and pleasure have? These are the questions that Thomas Szasz attempts to answer in his book, Pain and Pleasure: A Study of Bodily Feelings.
Existentialism (as I see it) is the idea that we can explain human behavior according to reasons (choices), not causes. To this end, I have been interested to read how existentialism is used as a practical tool to help people understand themselves and their lives. I picked up the book, Existential Perspectives On Coaching, edited by Emmy van Deurzen, to see if I could gain insight into how coaches use the existential approach to help people with problems in living.
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In his book, The Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality and Neuroscience, Thomas Szasz explains his concept of the mind. Szasz’s writes: “My aim of this book is to present a systematic exploration and exposition of the thesis that minding is the ability to pay attention and adapt to one’s environment by using language to communicate with others and oneself”.1
Can the mind be reduced to mere physio-chemical properties? Are experiences, thoughts, and feelings simply the product of chemical reactions in our brain? Atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel, rejects such a view of the mind. In his book Mind and Cosmos, Nagel points out that belief in the material reductionist view of the mind is almost certainly false.